Partizan Belgrade have denied reports that Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal to sign Serbian youngster Lazar Markovic. According to the Daily Mail, the 18-year-old midfielder is poised to move to Stamford Bridge for an initial £8 million, with Partizan eager for a deal that would eventually see the fee rise to £14 million.
Reuters Rafael Benitez is likely being kept abreast of progress over transfers as he prepares his squad for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
Rafael Benitez is likely being kept abreast of progress over transfers as he prepares his squad for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
However, Partizan’s sporting director Ljubisa Tumbakovic, has revealed that he is unaware of such negotiations.
"I swear on my mother that I really do not know anything about this,” he said, according to the Press Association.
"On Saturday, I spoke with club president Dragan Djuric and he also told me that he knows nothing about Markovic's transfer to Chelsea.
"I don't know, he doesn't know. Maybe the journalists have better information than us in the club!"
Markovic has already established himself as a regular in the Serbia side and is also said to be interesting Arsenal and Inter Milan.
Markovic is not the only midfielder linked with a move to the Blues of late, with the Sunday People suggesting that Chelsea remain keen on an audacious move to bring Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets to the club next summer.
The story claims that Chelsea scout Scott McLachlan watched Busquets in action last week and the club are determined to land the 24-year-old in a £30 million move. There must be questions, though, over the Mail’s assertion that Busquets may leave the club at the end of the season.
Busquets has come through the youth ranks at the Camp Nou and remains an integral part of a side that show no signs of relinquishing their status as arguably the top side in Europe.
Chelsea are still being named as one of the clubs monitoring Theo Walcott’s contract situation at Arsenal. The winger’s current deal is set to expire in the summer and, according to the Daily Mail, there have been further delays in talks over an extension.
Walcott is said to be unwilling to accept Arsenal’s offer of £80,000 a week in wages, while also wanting assurances that he will deployed as a central striker. The 23-year-old can begin negotiating a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs in January, although the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City could also potentially tempt Arsenal with a cut-price offer to secure his services immediately.
There appears little doubt that Chelsea’s priority in the January transfer window will be to increase their striking options. While Radamel Falcao appears to remain top of the club’s wanted list, Metro have reported that they could instead turn to the Atletico Madrid man’s former club Porto and Colombia teammate Jackson Martinez.
The 26-year-old only arrived at Porto from Mexican side Chiapas in the summer but has already proved a big hit by scoring 10 goals in just nine Portuguese Liga matches and netting a further three times in the Champions League.
But, according to Metro, Porto would be willing to listen to offers of around £20 million for Martinez, with Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Fenerbahce and Paris Saint-Germain also interested.
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