Who should Blues fans be watching in Russia?
The World Cup is here, and while most fans will watch matches just to get involved, the tournament is also the perfect example to check out those players linked with signing for the club you support.
The Premier League might be supplying over 100 of the players who will feature in Russia, but if transfer rumours are to be believed, another load could be heading to England’s top flight after the tournament.
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talkSPORT.com take a look at who these players could be, with Chelsea’s transfer targets in focus here.
Scroll down to see seven players linked with the Blues who are set to star at the World Cup…
The CSKA Moscow star is seen as the one bright spot in a very dark time for Russian football. The midfielder has won 19 caps for his country and represented them at Euro 2016. He was part of Russia’s Under-17 side when they won the European Under-17 Championship back in 2013, and he appears to be living up to his potential. Chelsea have emerged, along with Arsenal, as holding an interest in the 22-year-old.
23-year-old midfielder Bruno Fernandes has also emerged as a Chelsea target in recent weeks, though they are sure to have a lot of rivals in the race to sign him. Fernandes is one of the players to have requested the termination of his contract with Sporting, meaning he could be available for free this summer. Capped six times by his country, Fernandes is an emerging talent with enough potential to become a star.
Fernandes’ compatriot Guedes is regarded as one of the brightest young stars in world football. Paris Saint-Germain splashed the cash on the winger in January 2017, but it was not until he joined Valencia on loan this season that the 21-year-old started to truly shine and reach an elite level. He scored five goals and created a further nine in LaLiga, and this World Cup could be Guedes’ chance to show off his talents on the biggest stage.
Lozano’s debut season in Europe was a resounding success, with the 22-year-old forward scoring 19 goals and assisting 11 in 34 matches for PSV Eindhoven. The youngster was bought from Pachuca last summer, and he was being linked with Europe’s biggest teams while still playing in his homeland. Chelsea are said to hold an interest in ‘Chucky’, and a move could be on the cards if he impressed at the World Cup.
Belgium’s 31-year-old forward Mertens is being mooted to move to Chelsea if Maurizio Sarri is named the club’s new manager. Sarri worked with Mertens at Napoli, and the boss reportedly wants his star play to link up with him at Stamford Bridge. Mertens is set to start the World Cup alongside Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, of Chelsea and Manchester United respectively, in the front three of Roberto Martinez’s 3-4-3 system.
Lewandowski has made it clear he wants to leave Bayern Munich this summer, and only a few clubs can afford to pay both his transfer fee, and then give him the wage packet he deserves. The Poland forward is generally regarded as the best goal scorer in world football, though he is generally more effective at club level due to the lesser quality of his team-mates on the international stage. A bad tournament will not kill the interest in Lewandowski from Chelsea, but it may lower his value somewhat in this summer’s transfer window.
Like Mertens, centre-back Koulibaly has been linked with Chelsea because of Maurizio Sarri’s rumoured appointment as the club’s new manager. The Senegal star was a key figure in Sarri’s great Napoli side, and he was actually linked with Chelsea when Antonio Conte was appointed the Blues’ head coach in the summer of 2016. Senegal have a good chance of progressing out of Group H if they are tight at the back, and Koulibaly will be vital in achieving this aim.
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