The European Champions continue to pursue FC Porto's Brazilian striker Hulk, as they look to rebuild for a new generation, following their maiden Champions League title triumph against German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich, in May. The player has long been linked with a move to Chelsea and Stamford Bridge and some reports suggest a £38mn deal has already been agreed upon between the two clubs. Hulk is under contract to Porto until 2016.
The player himself, now, has hinted at the move, by claiming the Portuguese club and its fans will always be in his heart, even after he leaves the Estadio do Dragao.
"If the time has come to leave Porto, the club and its fans will forever have a place in my heart. I can only thank them for all the affection they've shown me," Goal.com quoted Hulk as saying and adding, "I will always continue to work hard and keep my feet on the ground, regardless of whether I stay at Porto. I have won many titles in the past four years at Porto, and I think that I have a great relationship with everyone."
"If the time has come to move on, I'll do so with a good feeling. I have enjoyed a great time here. I'm sure that they will understand the motives behind my decision if I leave," the 25 year old added. Hulk scored 16 goals from 21 league starts for Porto last season as the club defended their league title.
Meanwhile, Belgium forward Dries Mertens has apologised to Gary Cahill after the English defender was ruled out of the summer's European Championships with a broken jaw that was the result of Mertens' push on the Chelsea central defender, during England's friendly against Belgium on Saturday. Cahill was shepherding the ball back to his goalkeeper when the Belgian shoved him in the back. The Chelsea defender collided with England and Manchester City keeper Joe Hart, resulting in a double fracture of his jaw.
"I sincerely apologise for the harm I've cost to Cahill. When in the heat of the moment, you often don't think about the consequences. My thoughts go out to him and I hope he recovers well," Mertens tweeted.
Cahill's absence is yet another blow to Roy Hodgson and his preparations for Euro 2012. The country is already without key midfielders Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Gareth Barry (Manchester City). Liverpool wing back Martin Kelly, who was on Hodgson's standby list, has joined up with the squad and will take Cahill's place at the tournament.