Chelsea are being linked with a move for Graziano Pelle after Southampton completed the £4m acquisition of striker Charlie Austin, eith Ronald Koeman admitting that contract talks with the Italian striker are on hold.
30-year-old Pelle has been linked with a return to Italy three years after his last club appearance in his homeland – which came for Parma – with both Juventus and Fiorentina linked with a move for the striker in recent days.
ESPN are reporting that Austin’s arrival at St Mary’s, which was announced on Saturday morning, could be a direct replacement for Pelle, while Shane Long has also been linked with an exit with Liverpool believed to be interested.
With Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink currently assessing his attacking options though, a move for Pelle could be in the pipeline. Diego Costa is enjoying a welcome return to form after a difficult first half of the season, but he is receiving little support from Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao with the pair currently out injured – the latter said by Hiddink to be a “very serious” injury.
Chelsea have also received a major boost in their hopes of signing France international Alexandre Lacazette after the Lyon striker admitted he will consider leaving the Ligue 1 club, but only in the summer.
Both Chelsea and Newcastle are interested in the 24-year-old, with the Magpies believed to have been rebuffed in their approach for him earlier this month. Having scored 27 goals in his 33 Ligue 1 appearances last season – a figure which saw him lead the way in the French top flight – he has continued to fire this campaign and has already found the back of the net nine times.
But with Lyon currently sixth in Ligue 1 and struggling to break into the Champions League qualifying positions, Lacazette has promised to do all he can this season to help his club move up the table, ruling out a January move in the process.
However, even though Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas stressed that the Premier League was not on Lacazette’s radar, the player himself has admitted that he is weighing up a move to England.
"Yes, I am thinking about it and the Premier League is very attractive for a player,” Lacazette told The Telegraph when asked about a move to England.
"But I know that to go there I have to do well this season. So I am very concentrated on doing well and maybe, after that, I will go there.
"I know that it is possible that I will move to the Premier League and Lyon are aware of that also. There is no formal agreement that I will go, but the president [Aulas] knows that it's a possibility that I will leave Lyon at the end of the season."
Current attacking midfielder Willian could also hand Chelsea a boost after he admitted he wants to extend his contract with the Blues. Speaking in an interview with The Sun, Willian said: "The club knows exactly how I feel. I am very happy here. It was always my dream to come here when I was playing in Ukraine the realisation of a dream. I want to stay.
"But at the same time my head is calm I am just going to see how things go. I’m happy.
"I tend to not get involved in that side of things too much. I leave it up to my agent to deal with it but the club knows exactly how I feel."
Finally, another form Chelsea manager could be heading back to Stamford Bridge after Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri was the latest to be linked with the job once Hiddink leaves at the end of the season.
Reports in Italy suggest Ranieri could be a shock contender to replace the Dutchman when he leaves the club in the summer, as Tuttosport report that the Italian’s success at Leicester this season has impressed his former boss, Roman Abramovich. Should Ranieri return, he would be the third manager in a row to make a Chelsea comeback, following Hiddink and Jose Mourinho.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies