Chelsea have agreed a £20m fee for Bayer Leverkusen winger Andre Schürrle, according to the Metro. The 22-year-old has been a long-time target for Roman Abramovich, who saw three separate bids for the player rejected last summer.
Schürrle is expected to sign a five-year deal worth £90,000 per week and become the Blues' first major signing of the summer. In addition, it is believed Belgian youngster Kevin de Bruyne, who was initially offered in a player/cash deal, will not be signing for the Germans. The Belgian midfielder is presently on loan to another Bundesliga side - Werder Bremen - and his Stamford Bridge future remains uncertain.
The expected signing of Schürrle could be the signal to start a large-scale revamp of the Chelsea first team, with a number of fringe players like Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun, Ross Turnbull and Paulo Ferreira likely to leave west London. Furthermore, veteran midfielder Frank Lampard, whose contract expires in the summer, is also expected to leave, despite rumours of a last-minute extension.
Meanwhile, the future of Spain striker Fernando Torres is unclear. The ex-Atletico Madrid and Liverpool forward has improved in recent games, with three goals in his last four appearances. However, a return of seven goals and four assists from 30 Premier League games is poor for a player who cost £50m. And with Senegal striker Demba Ba (a January signing) scoring four times in six FA Cup appearances pressing for a regular starting place, in addition to Schürrle's expected arrival, Torres' Chelsea days may be coming to an end.
Benitez on Fulham Game
Finally, interim Blues boss Rafael Benitez has insisted his players will be focussed on their midweek trip to Craven Cottage and will not dwell on the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City.
"We wanted to go to the final like we do in the Europa League, but we have to keep an eye on the Premier League. We now have one less competition, we lost against a good team, but we did well, and in the second half deserved to score another goal," the ex-Liverpool boss explained.
Chelsea are presently third in the league table and trail Arsenal by two points. However, the club does have two games in hand over the Gunners, an advantage that, if converted, will see them open a four-point lead over Arsene Wenger's side.