Chelsea ready to challenge City for Brazilian midfield ace.
Chelsea scouts will run the rule over Corinthians star Paulinho on Wednesday – to try to decide if he can be the answer to their midfield crisis.
Interim manager Rafa Benitez had already been given the green light to recruit a striker and central-midfield controller when the January window opens.
But their need for extra bodies in the key midfield battleground increased this week when Oriol Romeu was ruled out for six months with a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained in Saturday’s win at Sunderland.
John Obi Mikel is set to miss most of January on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Nigeria, which would leave only Frank Lampard and Ramires as experienced central midfield players.
Technical director Michael Emenalo will lead the scouting party watching the Paulinho, already a target for Manchester City and Inter Milan, against Egyption side Al-Ahly in the Club World Cup’s first semi-final.
SOURCE: Daily Mirror
Chelsea could be set to add to their burgeoning Brazilian contingent, with Blues scouts ready to run the rule over Corinthians midfielder Paulinho – also a Manchester City target.
The West Londoners already have Samba Boys David Luiz, Oscar, Lucas Piazon and Ramires on their books, with young right-back Wallace set to join from Fluminense in January.
Paulinho’s coach Tite insisted on Tuesday that the energetic midfielder was focussed on Corinthians, who could face Chelsea in the Club World Cup Final next week.
But the 24-year-old would surely jump at the chance to increase his national team prospects (and pay packet) with a move to the one of the Premier League giants.
Chelsea are certainly in need of midfield cover, with young Spaniard Oriel Romeu out for the season and Jon Obi Mikel set to miss January at the African Nations Cup.
But if it is defensive cover from midfield that Chelsea are seeking, then Paulinho may not be their man. His record of 7 goals in 23 appearances so far this term suggests the Brazilian is no Claude Makelele.
City, meanwhile, have a longer standing interested in the Selecao star but boss Roberto Mancini may prove more interested in pursuing his compatriot Daniele De Rossi, with Roma reportedly ready to listen to mega-bids for the 29-year-old Italian.
Download the free fanatix app now for iPhone: Sport news, social features and more!
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr: