Chelsea's past Serie A striker recruits as Gonzalo Higuain nears move from Milan

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Chelsea appear to be close to sealing a transfer for AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain.

According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, the Blues have “agreed terms” with the player.

Higuain joined Milan on a season-long loan from Juventus in July with an option to make the deal permanent, but he has struggled to settle at San Siro, scoring eight goals in all competitions.

Here, we look the other strikers Chelsea have recruited from Serie A in the past.

Adrian Mutu

His is a story of what might’ve been. Following an excellent season with Parma during which he scored 20 times in 36 appearances, Adrian Mutu signed for Chelsea in August 2003 for £15.8 million. After scoring four times in his first three games, his performances took a nosedive.

He endured a difficult relationship with new manager Jose Mourinho the following season and in September 2004 was banned from football for seven months after testing positive for drugs. Mutu subsequently joined Juventus in January 2005.

Adrian Mutu.

Adrian Mutu.

Andriy Shevchenko

Having arrived at Chelsea as one of the most celebrated goalscorers in Europe, Andriy Shevchenko left four years later a washed up mega-money flop. After the relentless pursuit of Roman Abramovich, the Ukranian was finally signed form AC Milan in May 2006 for £30.8 million, an English record then.

He scored on debut in the Community Shield defeat to Liverpool but struggled thereafter, bagging just four in 30 Premier League appearances that season, quickly becoming a target for opposing fans. Shevchenko was a shadow of his former self and is remembered as one of English football’s most high-profile flops.

Andriy Shevchenko.

Andriy Shevchenko.

Hernan Crespo

He only briefly graced the English game but Hernan Crespo nevertheless left his mark on Chelsea, scoring 25 goals in 73 appearances. The Argentine signed from Inter Milan in the summer of 2003 and scored 10 league goals in 19 games but was loaned to AC Milan in the following season after Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba’s arrivals.

He returned to England and played a supporting role in Chelsea’s 2004/05 Premier League triumph, highlighting their immense strength in depth before leaving to rejoin Inter.

Hernan Crespo.

Hernan Crespo.

Gianfranco Zola

Panache, belief and pure magic. That’s what Gianfranco Zola brought to Chelsea when he was signed from Parma in 1996. Under Glenn Hoddle and then Ruud Gullit, Chelsea were transformed into a competitive force in the mid 90s, particularly in cup competitions but Zola took them to another level.

He led the Blues to six trophies in his time at Stamford Bridge, scoring some sensational goals along the way.

Gianfranco Zola.

Gianfranco Zola.

Gianluca Vialli

After his deal with Juventus expired in the summer of 1996, Gianluca Vialli moved to Chelsea on a free transfer in what would be an eventful spell. The Italian was quickly involved in a feud with managed Gullit, resulting in his regular omission but he remained a consistent performer whenever he was called upon.

Despite some sensational performances during the 1997/98 season, Vialli was still unable to nail down a regular starting berth but Gullit’s sacking that term saw him appointed as player-manager. He went on to win the Cup Winners’ Cup and the League Cup that year.

Gianluca Vialli.

Gianluca Vialli.

George Weah

In his prime, George Weah was one of the best strikers in the world and while he was certainly past it when he arrived at Chelsea on loan from AC Milan in January 2000, he immediately became a cult hero at the Bridge.

He scored the winner against rivals Tottenham on debut and bagged crucial goals in Chelsea’s run to the FA Cup success. Weah ended his stint in west London with five goals in 15 appearances.

George Weah.

George Weah.

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Transfer predictor: Perisic to Man United unlikely but Higuain's Chelsea link gets 7

Matt Jones 9/01/2019
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The transfer window is well and truly open.

With the rumours growing in pace and volume during this ‘silly season’, it can be difficult and painstaking to separate the stories of some legitimacy from the rest of the white noise.

Fortunately, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do it for you. Below, you’ll find some of the latest transfer news churned out of the rumour mill broken down and analysed for your benefit along with our calculated predictions.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN

Eriksen (1)

Real Madrid want the Spurs schemer but they will likely have to stump up a world record fee, says Spanish outlet AS.

Why it will happen: Quite simply, Real are a mess. Shorn of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Perez thought the Spanish giants could get by. They are floundering and need at least one stellar name to revive their fortunes, and Eriksen fits the bill.

Why it won’t happen: The fee. Real will have to meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s valuation of the 26-year-old, which is a tidy €250 million (£224.8m). Also, Madrid’s main target is Eden Hazard, so any pursuit rests on that saga concluding.

Prediction: Los Blancos are desperate and it’s not like they’ve been afraid to break the bank before. Eriksen would be a stellar addition, but Hazard is their main target so the Spurs man will likely only arrive if they fail to bring in the Belgian.

Rating 5/10

 

GONZALO HIGUAIN

Gonzalo Higuain

Chelsea are reportedly close to a deal to bring the Argentine striker to the club for the rest of the season, say a number of outlets, including the Daily Mail.

Why it will happen: It hasn’t happened for the 31-year-old at the San Siro this season (on loan from Juventus), but a second loan move to England might just provide the tonic both he and Chelsea need. Maurizio Sarri needs a striker and doesn’t trust the two that he has.

Why it won’t happen: Equally, failing to get the best out of either Alvaro Morata and not playing Olivier Giroud – the latter has hardly had a sniff under Sarri – is puzzling. Higuain is unlikely to arrive if one of them doesn’t leave.

Prediction: Higuain has stagnated in Serie A this season, scoring just eight goals in 20 games. He hasn’t failed to break the 20 barrier since 2012/13, but with Hazard the supplier, he would surely start firing at Stamford Bridge.

Rating 7/10

IVAN PERISIC

perisic

United could finally land the Croatian as Inter Milan look to raise money to fund a move for compatriot Luka Modric, according to Tuttosport via Calciomercato.

Why it will happen: A long-standing target of United’s under former boss Jose Mourinho, but Ed Woodward was always reluctant to fork out what would have been a premium price for a player approaching 30. With Inter chasing Modric and willing to drop their price, that could tempt United.

Why it won’t happen: Despite Inter more keen to sell now, they are still in the driving seat with the 29-year-old having only signed a new deal at the San Siro last summer. Perisic, who is 30 next month, is also in poor form this season, with just three goals in 22 games for the Nerazzurri.

Prediction: It seems if a deal is ever going to happen, it will be this summer. But Perisic was coveted by Mourinho. Whoever is put in permanent charge of United in the summer might want to go in a different direction.

Rating 5/10

YANNICK CARRASCO

FBL-EUR-C1-REALMADRID-ATLETICO

The Gunners have reportedly moved above Inter in the race to sign the Belgian wideman, according to the Daily Mail.

Why it will happen: Emery is keen to bolster his side this month and will likely need to do so in order to push for a top-four finish. He has exhausted a lot of wide options, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured, Mesut Ozil out of form and Alex Iwobi inconsistent.

Why it won’t happen: With a limited transfer budget this month, it is believed Carrasco (on £170,000-a-week wages in China) would have to take a pay cut. Arsenal have an eye on Barcelona misfit Denis Suarez also, so their interest could be fleeting.

Prediction: His shock move from Atletico Madrid to the backwaters of China caused shockwaves a year ago, and he has struggled to adapt. Yet his European pedigree is not in doubt, evidenced by 23 goals in 124 matches for Los Rojiblancos between 2015 and 2018.

Rating 7/10

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Pep Guardiola believes Machester City did everything they could to keep Brahim Diaz

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Brahim Diaz

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Brahim Diaz’s departure for Real Madrid is a sign of good work being done by the club.

City had attempted to persuade the 19-year-old Spaniard to extend his contract with the club he joined aged 14, but admitted defeat this week and sold him to Madrid in a deal which could rise to £22million.

Asked if he was disappointed to lose Diaz, Guardiola said: “No. I said many times, we did with Brahim the same we did with Phil (Foden) and Jadon (Sancho), we did absolutely everything but in the end the only one who decides to stay is Phil so that’s all.

“We wish him all the best. Of course, going to Real Madrid is not a bad step and hopefully he can get the minutes he didn’t get in the last period for many reasons. Nice guy.

“On the other side, again, congratulations for our academy, they are working so well and in the end this is what happens, important teams in Europe want to sign our players because it’s working really well.”

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