Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is likely to rotate his squad for this afternoon’s game against Swansea City with Sunday’s clash with Liverpool in mind.
Ashley Cole could be recalled at left-back, while Michael Essien is available after serving a one-match suspension.
The Blues are currently in fourth place, and sit two points behind leaders Liverpool, who themselves face third place Manchester City this evening while second place Arsenal travel to West Ham United.
Anything other than three points for Chelsea may could see the slip out of the top four with Everton hot on their heels.
Meanwhile, Mourinho is lining up a £48m move for Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, according to the Mirror.
The pair worked together for three years at Real Madrid before both moved on to pastures new in the summer.
The Argentina international has been in fine form since joining Rafael Benitez’s side, scoring thirteen goals in twenty-one appearances in all competitions.
However, the Serie A side are reportedly willing to do business as it would secure them a quick profit of around £13.5m.
Only Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored more goals than the 26 year old during qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals, and will be keen to continue impressing with the tournament in Brazil fast approaching.
Tags: Arsenal, Ashley Cole, Everton, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Liverpool, Luis Suarez, Manchester, Michael Essien, Napoli, Swansea City
Fernando Torres will miss this evening’s Champions League clash against Schalke with a leg injury.
The Spain international, who scored twice in the 3-0 win over the Bundesliga side in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge last month, is also set to miss Saturday’s game with West Bromwich Albion.
Ryan Bertrand is also unavailable; along with long term absentee Marco Van Ginkel.
Three points for Jose Mourinho’s men will see them tighten their grip on top spot, with third place Basel hosting Steaua Beucharest in Group E’s other game.
Meanwhile, Napoli have joined Chelsea in the race to secure the services of Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic, TalkSport understands.
Former Blues’ interim manager Rafael Benitez, who took the reins at the Serie A club in the summer, is keen to bolster his midfield options in January with moves for Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva also mooted.
Matic made three appearances for Chelsea before being used as a makeweight in the deal that brought David Luiz to Stamford Bridge in 2011.
Elsewhere, Mark Schwarzer has announced his retirement from international football.
The veteran goalkeeper is Australia’s most capped player having made 109 appearances since his debut – World Cup qualifier against Canada in 1993.
Reports in Spain are suggesting that Thibaut Courtois is keen to join Barcelona next summer, the Metro understands.
The Belgium international is currently enjoying a third season on loan with Atletico Madird, having been sent to the Spanish capital shortly after arriving at Stamford Bridge from Genk in 2011.
Barcelona are on the lookout for a new number one, with Victor Valdes set to quit the Nou Camp when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has been stronlgly linked with a return to the club where he started his career once his loan spell with Napoli is over, though Courtois, at his age, would arguably be a sounder investment.
During his time in La Liga, the 21 year old has become one of the most sought after goalkeepers in European football.
He has turned out for Atleti 110 times in just over two years, and has lifted the Copa Del Rey, Europa League and Super Cup in that period.
His contract with Chelsea runs until 2016, though reports suggest that he is keen to push through a move to the Catalan club, with Petr Cech seemingly the clubs first choice goalkeeper for the foreseeable future.
Chelsea have been alerted to the news that Robert Lewandowski could be interested in securing a move to a club other than Bayern Munich when his contract expires next summer.
The Poland international looked set to move to the European Champions at the end of last season, but decided to see his contract out at the Westfalenstadion.
A host of other European clubs had registered an interest in the player, though it seemed he was only interested in moving to Dortmund’s great league rivals.
However, according to reports in the Express, the striker’s agent has revealed that he has had contact with Napoli.
The Serie A side, who are currently managed by former Blues interim manager Rafael Benitez, parted company with star striker Edinson Cavani in July, and would see Lewandowski as an ideal replacement, though they have also brought in Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon.
Jose Mourinho brought in Samuel Eto’o towards the end of the recent transfer window after failing to secure a deal for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, and would welcome the chance to further strengthen his attacking options.
Lewandowski has scored four goals in five Bundesliga appearances so far this season, including a brace in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Hamburg.
Barcelona are considering a bid for Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech as they look for a replacement for the outgoing Victor Valdes, according to the Daily Star.
Spain international Valdes is set to quit the Nou Camp when his contract expires at the end of this season, leaving new manager Gerardo Martino in need of a new number one.
Pepe Reina, who is currently at Napoli on loan from Liverpool, has been strongly linked with a move back to the Catalan club, while another name in the frame is Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgium international joined Chelsea from Genk in 2011, but has not played for the Blues as moved to Atletico Madrid on loan shortly after signing, and has been in the Spanish capital ever since.
However, now Cech, who has racked up well over four hundred appearances in nine years with the club, has been lined up by the Spanish champions, who have already enquired about the Czech Republic international’s availability.
It is understood that the 31 year old would be keen on taking on a new challenge, though manager Jose Mourinho will be keen to keep hold of the man who he still rates as one of the best goalkeepers in world football.
Jose Mourinho expects club legend Didier Drogba to one day return to the club possibly in a coaching capacity, ESPN understands.
The Blues boss brought the Ivory Coast international to Stamford Bridge back in 2004, with the striker going on to score 157 goals in 341 appearances, as well as the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Drogba now plies his trade with Galatasaray, having spent a short spell in China with Shanghai Shenhua.
The 35 year old has one year left on his contract in Turkey but Mourinho believes that Chelsea will always be his true home, and has tipped him to return before too long.
Meanwhile, the club are considering a move for Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, the Metro understands.
The Spanish giants are looking to raise funds as they prepare a fresh bid for Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale, and the Blues could take advantage by making a move for the Germany international.
Khedira is also likely to fall down the pecking order at the Bernabeu following the arrivals of Spanish duo Asier Illarramendi and Isco.
Finally, TalkSport have claimed that Napoli and Inter Milan have joined Benfica in the race to take Brazilian defender Wallace on loan.
Tags: Asier Illarramendi, Benfica, Didier Drogba, Galatasaray, Inter Milan, Isco, Napoli, Real Madrid, Sami Khedira, Shanghai Shenhua, Wallace
Napoli are considering a move for Chelsea striker Demba Ba, the Daily Star understands.
The Serie A runners up, managed by former Blues interim manager Rafael Benitez, are looking for bring in two new strikers having cashed in on Uruguay international Edinson Cavani, with their other top target thought to be Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain.
Ba has failed to reproduce the form he showed at previous club Newcastle United since moving to Stamford Bridge just six months ago, and could be allowed to move on as Jose Mourinho attempts to sign a new centre forward.
Aston Villa had reportedly been interested in signing the Senegal international, though with Christian Benteke having put pen to paper on a new deal at Villa Park, any potential move is now unlikely to happen.
Meanwhile, the Chelsea are hoping to end speculation over Juan Mata’s future by offering him a lucrative new contract, according to the Metro.
The two times Blues Player of the Season has been linked with both Barcelona and Manchester United this summer.
Elsewhere, the Daily Star have reported that the club have signed promising Chilean star Cristian Cuevas.
The 18 year old left back, who can also play on the left wing, recently featured in the Under 20’s World Cup and has signed a five year deal at Stamford Bridge.
Gonzalo Higuain will reject a move to the Premier League to stay with Real Madrid, the Metro understands.
Chelsea are reported to have entered the race to sign the striker, who has been a target for London rivals Arsenal since the end of last season.
Manager Jose Mourinho worked with the Argentina international for three years at the Bernabeu, and is said to be keen on being reunited with the 25 year old.
Serie A side Napoli are also keen on signing Higuain, though his agent Enzo Bronzetti believes that is also unlikely, claiming that Real boss Carlo Ancelotti will convince the player to stay in the Spanish capital.
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager David Moyes has reiterated that Wayne Rooney is not for sale amid continued speculation that the England international is set to move on, according to Sky Sports.
The 27 year old is reportedly ‘angry and confused’ at comments made by Moyes that suggest that he is merely a backup to Robin Van Persie.
Elsewhere, Brazilian full-back Wallace is set to be loaned out this season.
The 19 year old was signed by the Blues back in January, before being immediately loaned back to Fluminese before joining up with Jose Mourinho’s side for pre-season training.
Roma are said to be interested in the defender, which could benefit Chelsea in their pursuit of midfielder Daniele de Rossi.