By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Chelsea are preparing a £100million summer recruitment drive as they attempt to provide Jose Mourinho with a squad that can dominate European as well as English football.
The Londoners are prioritising reinforcements at goalkeeper, central midfield, attacking midfield and centre-forward after crashing out of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Chelsea are well equipped to fund a major transfer splurge after getting their financial house in good order in recent years. They have just announced a new shirt sponsorship deal worth £35million-a-year that comes into effect next season, and have sold a number of fringe players for premium fees including Juan Mata, David Luiz and Kevin de Bruyne.
Mourinho’s team have regularly scouted Juventus midfield kingpin Paul Pogba over the last two years but know it will take a club-record fee of over £50million to prise the former Manchester United man away from the Serie A leaders.
The Stamford Bridge club are also monitoring the situation of Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, who will be available on a free transfer this summer.
Chelsea are looking at beefing up their attacking options after recognising that they have fallen short in this area in key matches in the second half of the season.
The club’s recruitment staff are eyeing up a mobile front man who can take some of the goalscoring burden off Diego Costa, with 21-year-old Argentine Paulo Dybala, who has been such a success for Palermo this season with 12 Serie A goals, among their targets. There is also surprise interest in Manchester United’s on-loan striker Radamel Falcao.
Doubts have long since lingered among the Stamford Bridge backroom staff about Oscar’s ability to impose himself on marquee matches and the Brazilian could be offloaded for a premium fee and replaced by an attacking midfielder who is considered better equipped for the Premier League.
With Petr Cech expected to leave in the summer, the Londoners will sign another goalkeeper to provide quality back-up to Thibaut Courtois. They want an experienced ‘keeper who is proven in the Premier League, with QPR’s Robert Green among those on the radar.