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Chelsea ready to play high-stakes brinkmanship in the Great Summer Striker Search

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Chelsea v Singha Thailand All-Star XI Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images

It is rather ironic that one of the few men in Hungary in July 1914 who did not readily support war against Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand — who would later go on to form a rather excellent band in Glasgow — was Prime Minister István Tisza, the man who would later single-handedly be blamed for World War I by several contemporary analysts and publications and would thus shape the policies of surrounding nations for decades to come. Reality was of course far more complicated than that, but the fact remains that Tisza eventually did (agree to) send the ultimatum that sent the world down the path of The Great War, changing his views alongside it to a much more hawkish tenor. It was a moment of high-stakes brinkmanship that backfired royally, to say the least, though was still later cited as basis for some of the USA’s policies during the Cold War, particularly the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The stakes are slightly lower in the case of Chelsea and the Great Summer 2017 Striker Search, but if the club’s apparent briefing to their usual suspects, including the Telegraph’s Matt Law, is any indication, we’re more than ready to engage in our own bit of brinkmanship to achieve our stated goals in the transfer market.

Chelsea are keeping their options open in their hunt for a striker to replace Diego Costa and will not be rushed into a deal by deadlines or leaks of rival interest in their targets.


Costa’s antics in Brazil will not force Chelsea into immediately slashing their asking price


...after refusing to match the fee United paid to agent Mino Raiola to sign Lukaku, Chelsea will not allow their transfer policy to be dictated to by other clubs.


Chelsea believe the initial panic that followed Conte’s decision to dump Costa and United’s signing of Lukaku has subsided, and that they still have time to patiently negotiate the right incoming deals.

-source: Telegraph

If Chelsea think the general “panic” has subsided just because we finally signed Tiemoué Bakayoko (and Antonio Rüdiger), they have gotten an entirely wrong read on the situation. Which does call into question their reading of the situation as it relates to the potential transfer targets linked with the club or just how much time they have to get things done.

Law’s report goes through them one-by-one and paints a rather idealistic picture that I’m not sure is all that easy to buy into. Chelsea are selling a position of strength here, but there’s little indication in the rumors and the general market activity to believe that we’re operating from anything of the sort.

The rundown:

  • Costa — holding strong at £40m after rejecting £26m from Atlético. (But why?)
  • Aubameyang — Chelsea believe BVB’s public deadline is just to “flush out interest”. (Well, duh. They don’t want to play these games all summer.)
  • Morata — AC Milan’s interest is fake news. (Ok, I can see that.)
  • Belotti — passing mention of en enquiry (i.e. nothing).
  • Alexis — hasn’t been “fully discounted” as a possibility (whatever that means, probably nothing).
  • Agüero — “would be interested if he were available” (but he isn’t, so nothing).
  • Benteke — seen as potential backup, “could yet bid” (i.e. nothing).
  • Alex Sandro — still “confident”; believe £60m and/or something involving Matić will get it done (not sure which sounds less likely, the £60m or the Matić swap).
  • Danilo — “keen to land” (better than nothing...).
  • Ryan Bertrand & Benjamin Mendy — this one’s from the Evening Standard actually, equally vague (“will still consider”) so let’s just lump them in here.


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