According to reports emerging from the Italian press and then published in the Express and TalkSport, Chelsea are considering a swap deal for AC Milan sensation El Shaarawy, with Fernando Torres going the other way.
The Milan forward had scored 16 goals in Serie A last season, often emerging as the only sparking light in an otherwise disappointing campaign for AC Milan.
The reports also claim that Chelsea will go for the 20-year old Italian if their interest in Napoli’s Edinson Cavani fails to materialize. Furthermore, Torres, who’d scored 22 goals last season after an abysmal season and a half at Stamford Bridge, isn’t a part of Mourinho’s plans and will be used as a makeweight in the deal. Milan’s financial woes are well known, as they’d sold two of their biggest players Thiago Silva and Zlatan Imrahimovic to PSG last summer, so a bid equivalent to £30m (including Torres) should force their hand to sell their brightest prospect.
THT Verdict: Unlikely. El Shaarawy operated on the flanks for Milan last season; he started out on the left and then moved to the right to accommodate Robinho on the left. He is also capable enough to play behind the front man in a 4-2-3-1 setup. Here lies the first problem with this rumor; the third band is that last place Chelsea need a player for, with Andre Schurrle brought in to supplement the likes of Hazard, Oscar, Mata, De Bruyne, and Moses. Chelsea are looking for an out-and-out centre-forward, so irrespective of howsoever good the Italian may be, he isn’t an alternative to Cavani. What makes this rumor all the more laughable is the fact that it’s mentioned that Milan will sell their player because of their financial woes and accept Torres in return; the Spaniard is on astronomically high wages and has thus far shown no inclination to take a play cut in order to facilitate a move, which is the main problem why Chelsea haven’t been able to right the wrong they did in January, 2011. So whatever Milan make from the sale will have to be used to pay Torres’ weekly wages. Moreover, El Shaarawy has enormous potential and his value will only rise from here on, so even if Milan may have to cash in on him, they will choose to wait. If it’s not Cavani for Chelsea, then the Italian is certainly not a plausible alternative.
Manchester United to increase their bid for Leighton Baines to £16m
Dailystar is reporting that David Moyes will increase his offer for Everton left-back Baines from £12m to £16m, in the hope that his former club will part ways with their star player.
Manchester United have earlier had a £12m bid rejected, but Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright is keen to hold on to the player, or sell close to £20m, if he must. The report also claims at the Everton hierarchy isn’t too pleased to see their former manager pursue one of their key players.
THT Verdict: Likely. Manchester United are in the market for a left-back and in all likelihood, they will get their man for close to £18m, but Moyes will have to think whether the player is worth the money, when other left-backs such as Fabio Coentrao also on the market. The presence of Moyes will not help Man United’s cause in this case. Longer this saga lasts, Everton will see this as an attempt to destabilize the team by their former man. Patrice Evra is clearly not the player he once was and United need reinforcement in the left-back department, but they must also not pay through their nose to their primary target.