The Mail Online understands that Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal that will see Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic return to Stamford Bridge, two-and-a-half years after he moved in the opposite direction.
The 25 year old was initially used as a makeweight in David Luiz’s transfer to Chelsea, and now looks set to return to West London with a medical expected on Tuesday.
During his first spell with the Blues, he made just three substitute appearances before spending a season on loan with Vitesse Arnhem – the Dutch club that currently has no fewer than five Chelsea players in their first team squad.
The Serbian international was part of the Benfica side that lost 2-1 to Chelsea in last season’s Europa League final, while he won the Portuguese League Cup the previous year.
Elsewhere, the club are set to partly finance their move for Matic with the funds they are due to receive from Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Mirror.
The Bundesliga side are set to complete ta £17m move for the Belgium international in the next few days.
De Bruyne has made just two starts for the Blues, having spent last season on loan with Werder Bremen.
Second half goals from Jon Obi Mikel and Oscar secured a 2-0 win for Chelsea in their FA Cup third round clash with Derby County at the iPro Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The Rams, who were statistically a match for their opponents in all areas bar the goals, kept the Blues at bay for the first half, before Mikel scored only his fourth Chelsea goal on his three hundredth appearance twenty minutes into the second half.
Oscar scored his eighth goal of the season just five minutes later to seal the victory, while eighteen year old Lewis Baker was introduced three minutes from time to make his professional debut.
Jose Mourinho’s men will now face Stoke City at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the competition later this month.
Meanwhile the Metro have reported that Kevin De Bruyne’s agent has been pictured at a Wolfsburg training session amid reports that the Belgium international is set to join the Bundesliga club.
The 22 year old has long been linked with a return to Germany having spent a successful season-long stint there with Werder Bermen before returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
The former Genk man has made just nine appearances under Jose Mourinho in all competitions.
Chelsea will welcome Ashley Cole back to their starting line-up for this evening’s Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest.
The England left-back has not played for the Blues since last month’s defeat to Newcastle United, with Cesar Azpilicueta taking his place.
Brazilian duo David Luiz and Oscar are both fit to play, so their only absentee in Marco Van Ginkel, who is out for the season.
Jose Mourinho’s men have already booked their place in the knockout stages of the competition, but need victory at Stamford Bridge this evening to guarantee top spot in Group E.
Elsewhere, the Express have reported that Barcelona are set to revive their interest in David Luiz.
The Catalan club are lining up a £30m bid for the 26 year old, who has made just five appearances in the Premier League this season.
The report also claims that Wolfsburg will move for Kevin De Bruyne, should Chelsea decide to sell the midfielder.
The 22 year old returned to West London following a season-long loan with Werder Bremen, only to make a handful of appearances in all competitions.
Dieter Hecking’s side are one of a number in the Bundesliga to register an interest In the Belgium international.
Chelsea will be hoping to return to winning ways as they take on West Ham United at Upton Park in tomorrow evening’s late kick off in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho’s men have dropped five points in their last two games, and needed a late penalty to salvage a point against West Bromwich Albion a fortnight ago.
Ashley Cole is a doubt with a rib injury, though Fernando Torres could return after sitting out of the clash with the Baggies with a muscle problem.
The Hammers ran out 3-1 winners in last season’s fixture, though the Blues made a mends with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge back in March.
Victory here could see Chelsea rise to second place in the division, depending on results elsewhere though defeat could see them slip to seventh.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have joined the race to sign out of favour Blues midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
The Belgium international has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after failing to make a real impression on the first team since returning from a year-long loan spell with Werder Bremen.
Atletico Madrid, who currently have Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in their ranks, have also been linked.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires has admitted that he is unaware of any interest in him from other clubs aside from what is written in the media, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazil international, who has not missed a minute in the Premier League for the Blues so far this season, is reportedly a target for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but has insisted that his sole focus is on succeeding at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have joined the race to sign Blues out of favour midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, the Mail Online understands.
The 22 year old has barely featured under Jose Mourinho, and has been linked with a host of Bundesliga clubs having impressed on loan with Werder Bremen last year.
Atletico, who are currently second in La Liga, three points behind Barcelona, already have a Chelsea player with them on loan in the shape of De Bruyne’s international teammate Thibaut Courtois.
Elsewhere, Davide Santon has insisted that he is happy at Newcastle United in the wake of speculation linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to the Metro.
The right-back, who is also reportedly a target for AC Milan, has featured in all but one of the Magpies Premier League games this season.
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Tagged AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Davide Santon, Kevin De Bruyne, Newcastle United, Ramires, Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois, Werder Bremen
Fernando Torres has admitted that he needs to do more to justify his price tag, Sky Sorts understands.
The Spain international has scored just 37 goals in 139 appearances since switching from Liverpool half-way through the 2010/11 campaign.
He was the clubs to scorer last term with 23 goals, though he has just scored twice this time around, and has failed to find the net in any of his five league appearances.
The 29 year old, who is currently side-lined with a knee injury, has admitted that his return in the 2012/13 campaign ‘should be the minimum’ before adding that he believes the criticism which he has received have been over the top.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have confirmed their interest in signing out of favour midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Metro.
The Belgium international has been somewhat cast aside by manager Jose Mourinho since turning in a poor performance against Swindon Town in the third round of the League Cup.
He impressed in a season-long spell in the Bundesliga last term, scoring ten goals in thirty-four appearances for Werder Bremen.
Last season’s Champions League runners up Borussia Dortmund were also linked with the 22 year old but this week withdrew their interest.
Ashley Cole is out of England’s World Cup Qualifier against Montenegro on Friday evening, Sky Sports understands.
The 32 year old was substituted during Sunday’s win over Norwich City, and scans yesterday showed the seriousness of the rib injury that he has sustained means he will remain at Stamford Bridge to undergo treatment.
Roy Hodgson’s men need to win both of the forthcoming games at Wembley to absolutely guarantee qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
They currently lead Group H with 16 points, one ahead of Ukraine and Montenegro.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a move for out of favour Blues midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Mirror.
The Belgium international faced criticism for his performance against League One Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup third round last month, and has since trained with the youth squad.
He enjoyed a season-long spell with Werder Bremen last year and has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga, but last season’s Champions League runners up have pulled out of the race to secure his services.
Elsewhere, Lucas Piazon is keen to impress parent club Chelsea during his loan spell with Vitesse ,and is keen to challenge for a first team place when he returns.
Chelsea will be without midfield Eden Hazard for this evening’s Champions League clash against Steaua Bucharest.
Fernando Torres is included in the squad despite facing a domestic ban after clashing with Jan Vertonghen in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, though Marco Van Ginkel is out for most of the season.
The club were defeated on their last visit to Steaua’s National Arena – losing 1-0 in the first leg of their Europa League last sixteen tie before running out 3-1 winners in the second leg en route to clinching the trophy.
Kevin De Bruyne has not made the trip to Romania after failing to impress manager Jose Mourinho.
The 22 year old has been forced to train with the Under 21 squad following his poor performance against Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup third round a week ago, according to the Mail Online.
The Belgium international is said to be unhappy with the treatment he has received having rejected the chance to move permanently to the Bundesliga during the summer.
He impressed on a season-long loan with Werder Bremen last term, but it was Borussia Dortmund who wanted to secure his services during the recently closed transfer window.
Most Blues fans will know little about Kevin De Bruyne, even though the midfielder signed for a hefty £7m in the recent January transfer window. The former Gent man has yet to make his debut for Chelsea and considering his inexperience, it has been decided to loan him out for a further campaign as he prepares to sign for Werder Bremen for the whole of next season. Continue reading