European champions Chelsea have already signed Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard, German midfielder Marko Marin and Brazilian midfielder Oscar, as part of owner Roman Abramovich's summer shake-up. The Blues are now targeting a striker to replace Ivorian international Didier Drogba, who left the club on a free transfer earlier in the summer. They have been linked to a number of names, including FC Porto's Brazilian forward Hulk, Real Madrid's Argentinean striker Gonzalo Higuain and now Bayer Leverkusen's German international Andre Schürrle.
An earlier IBTimes UK report quoted the Bundesliga club's chief executive, Wolfgang Holzhauser, as confirming he had received a formal bid of £16m (€20m) for his player's services from Chelsea but that was rejected. The Daily Mail now reports the Stamford Bridge club are set to return with an improved bid of £20m for the 21 year old forward, who represented his country at the 2012 European Championships.
The problem now is that while Schürrle is happy to move to England, his club are understandably reluctant to let so promising a youngster leave, particularly since he is contracted till 2016. Both Holzhauser and the club's general manager, former German international Rudi Voller, have been quoted as saying they were not prepared to sell.
"There is no alternative to the decision of not selling Andre Schürrle. Those adequate players that are available are too expensive and therefore we would be forced to sign a weaker player overpriced. The matter is over with and I have also told Andre so," Voller explained.
Raul Meireles on the Move?
Meanwhile, Chelsea are reportedly also negotiating the outbound transfer of Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles to Italian club Napoli. The 29 year old central midfielder transferred to Stamford Bridge after a surprising deadline-day move from rivals Liverpool in August last year and has enjoyed a reasonably good time with the club.
However, given the arrivals of Hazard, Marin and Oscar, and the presence of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel in the first team, regular football may be hard to come by for the former Boavista and Porto man.
The Daily Mail reports Napoli are in talks with Chelsea and a fee of £8m has been suggested.