While new Chelsea manager Andre-Villas Boas settles in to his job at Stamford Bridge the rumour mill is already in full flow. The Blues have been linked with Modric, Lukaku and Neymar but some of the new manager’s former charges may be the first to arrive.
Villas-Boas has been tipped to raid his old club Porto in a Mourinho-esque raid. The players in question are the talented duo Joao Moutinho and Falcao although the fee has raised eyebrows. Between them, Moutinho and Falcao have a staggering €70 million buy out clause, but is that something that will put off Roman Abramovich?
Both players have been integral to Villas-Boas’ Porto storming to the treble in an unbeaten season. They also won the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League in the club’s most successful season since a certain Special One reigned.
Porto however, will not let their stars go without a fight, they have worked hard to seek assurances from Chelsea that they would not return for players but that seems to have been ignored. But this loss of key players is not new to Porto, when Mourinho moved to London he took Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Maniche. Deco, Nuno Valente and Pedro Mendes also left the club. This time Porto are keen to get top dollar for their prized assets, insisting that any club pays the mega buy-out clauses already installed in the players’ contracts.
Moutinho joined the Villas-Boas revolution for a Portuguese record transfer fee; €11million prized him away from Portuguese rival Sporting Lisbon in a sensational deal. It was money well spent though; Moutinho was the best midfielder in Portugal and drove Porto’s talented team forward. Moutinho could have already been a Premier League player, but a deal with Everton was aborted in 2008-09. The fee was reportedly around £5million now he may cost Chelsea more than £30million.
Originally dubbed the new Deco, Moutinho has emerged as a much more complete player. He has good passing ability, a clever mind but teams it with a energetic style often surging box-to-box for 90 minutes. Moutinho also leads by example and possesses a fierce shot. If Chelsea do take the plunge and sign Moutinho they will be purchasing a young but experienced international midfielder. At just 24 he already has 33 caps for Portugal with 1 goal to his name.
Radamel Falcao’s form has been even more eye-catching since he joined Porto from River Plate in 2009. He smashed home 25 goals in just 28 league games in his first season in Portugal, totaling 34 in all competitions.
Last season his form was even more sensational, he plundered 17 goals in 14 games in the Europa League, breaking Jurgen Klinsmann’s previous record of 15. Although he was outscored in the league by the impressive Hulk he still struck 16 times in just 22 games.
Falcao not only scored in bulk, he scored important goals including the winner in the Europa League final and four in the semi-final first leg against Villarreal. His form on the International stage has not been as impressive, just seven goals in 28 games for Columbia is not the return of a striker of his undoubted ability.
‘El Tigre’ gets his chance to shine for his national team at the Copa America this summer. The tournament may well decide where the 25-year-old’s future lies.