Chelsea transfer focus - Blues' pursuit of Hulk twists and turns
Following the loss of Didier Drogba to Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer at the end of last season, Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo is keen to bring a new centre-forward to rival Fernando Torres and potentially Daniel Sturridge for the central striker role. One of these targets has long been Porto and Brazil striker Hulk, but that dream has been crushed by the 25-year-old himself.
Hulk will be in London this summer for the Olympic Games, being named as one of the three over age players permitted in the Brazil squad. Many had predicted that the Brazilian would enter negotiations with Chelsea executives whilst in the English capital and quotes from Hulk himself seemed to suggest that a deal could have been done.
Last month, the Porto striker said: “Chelsea are the current European champions and would please any player and I’m no exception. I’d be happy if the transfer happened. I leave everything in the hands of Porto. I am under contract and I have been happy at Porto for four years, where I have achieved everything,” the Daily Mail reported.
Hulk continued by saying that he would have the club in his heart no matter what happened this summer, or any other summer, but his mind seems to have changed, judging by his latest set of quotes. Hulk has insisted there have been no talks with anyone at Chelsea and even if there was, he would not have been involved because his agent takes control.
The Daily Mail quoted Hulk as saying: “I have done nothing with Chelsea or any other club. I have four more years on my contract with Porto and I’m focusing on the national team. I haven’t talked to anyone. As everyone knows, I don’t follow negotiations closely as that will make me lose my focus. I let my agent deal with that stuff.”
Hulk’s stance was supported last month by Porto president Pinto da Costa, who has claimed the club have received no offers for their prized possession. The former Tokyo Verdy forward is under contract at the Estadio do Dragao until 2014 and da Costa seems intent on keeping it that way.
Speaking to Portuguese radio station Antena 1 and quoted by the Daily Mirror, the president said: “At this point, there have not been any offers made to Porto, or anyone related to Porto, with regard to Hulk. That is the truth, despite what the papers say about Chelsea or PSG. Those stories are simply rumours. If you believe what they say, Hulk has already left us.”
Di Matteo could be worried about finding a replacement for Drogba, but Hulk may necessarily not be the best option. At Porto, he is deployed wide on the right and Chelsea have an abundance of wingers to choose from. Di Matteo would look to play the Brazilian as a central striker and may be better suited to changing his options, such as Atletico Madrid’s Colombian Radamel Falcao, who, according to the Daily Mail has also been linked with the Champions League winners.
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