Chelsea are considering a £30m bid for Barcelona defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets, according to the Mirror. The club's scout, Scott McLachlan, was reportedly in attendance for a Spanish league game last week. The 24-year-old Spanish international, a World Cup and double European Championship winner with his national team, is believed to be considering a move out of La Liga. However, the Catalan club will not allow him to leave mid-season, meaning any deal for his services will have to wait until summer.
The Mirror previously also linked Busquets with a move to Manchester City and the Premier League champions' manager, Roberto Mancini, is believed to retain an interest in the Spaniard; particularly since the club has made no progress, so far, in signing Italian international Daniele De Rossi from Serie A club Roma.
A move for Busquets, whether by City or Chelsea, may also be seen as the precursor to attracting former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. The hugely successful former Barcelona midfielder, who led the Nou Camp club to multiple league and Champions League titles before resigning in the summer (citing stress as a reason), has been linked with appointments at several top European clubs, now that his self-imposed year-long sabbatical is coming to a close.
Reports have linked him with moves to Manchester United (to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson), City, Chelsea (who are reportedly ready to offer £20m per year), Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Serie A club AC Milan.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Sandro Rossell has been less than impressed with continuing rumours over his star players and hit out at rival clubs, insisting the club's motto - Més que un club ("More than a club") - was not just words on a flag.
"Busquets is the last try from City and in the past we have had the same situation for Messi, Valdes, Xavi and Puyol. But they have all stayed and this is the power and force of Barca. Some clubs have asked about Messi, but Leo personally has refused to negotiate," the president declared.
Benitez Records First League Win
Finally, Chelsea players gave Abramovich and their fans some good news and beleaguered interim manager Rafael Benitez a probable stay of execution, by cruising to a win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. And under pressure £50m Spanish striker Fernando Torres was the hero, with two first half goals and an assist for compatriot Juan Mata in the second. Torres, 28, has now scored four goals in two games for the Blues, which means he has doubled his tally for the season.
The win edges Chelsea closer to the top two - Manchester City and Manchester United, who face off in the 164th Manchester derby on Sunday afternoon (read a full IBTimes UK preview here).