Bayer Leverkusen star Hakan Calhanoglu is reportedly "close" to agreeing a move to Stamford Bridge amid speculation he could be brought in as an Oscar replacement. Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain have jumped to the head of the queue in the race for Thiago Maia.
The Sun’s Jamie Gordon cited reports in Turkey, which have said Calhanoglu, valued at around £17 million, has requested to leave the BayArena, and the Blues are reported to be one of the outfits circling.
The attacking midfielder has been frequently linked with the Leverkusen exit since moving to the club from Hamburg in 2014, while Oscar’s playing time has suffered under manager Antonio Conte of late.
Calhanoglu is an important figure at Leverkusen.
Despite failing to feature in four of Chelsea’s last six Premier League games, however, Oscar remains an important part of the Chelsea puzzle, according to Conte, per the London Evening Standard’s Simon Johnson.
The Italian said: "Oscar’s future is Chelsea, full stop. For me Oscar is an important player in the squad. For me he stays at Chelsea. It’s important this message arrives for all. Oscar will stay with is because I consider him an important player for Chelsea."
Those comments appear to suggest no replacement will be needed, although Calhanoglu has continued to display his talent, as shown by BT Sport’s European Football Show:
It’s that time! @JamesHorncastle, @LaurensJulien and @honigstein have selected three European corkers! ⚽️🔥 #BTEFS https://t.co/8BCfydxbmq
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) November 6, 2016
The Turkey international has scored eight times in 26 appearances for his country and has racked up three goals in 13 outings at club level this season, not to mention contributing his usual handful of assists along the way.
Chelsea would also be getting their hands on one of Europe’s most accomplished free-kick figures if they did lure Calhanoglu to west London:
Hakan Calhanoglu: The free-kick master 🎯💯
How @hakanc10 dominates set pieces at @bayer04fussball 👌. pic.twitter.com/Ew8nnMpCw5
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) October 4, 2016
Meanwhile, PSG are understood to have taken the lead in the hunt for Santos anchor Thiago, and it’s been reported the French giants are prepared to stump up €20 million (£17.1 million) for his signature this January.
Lorenzo Bettoni of Italian outlet Calciomercato sourced reports in France, which suggested PSG now lead the hunt for the midfielder after the Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano said in September that Chelsea would be in for a winter move:
And Chelsea will insist for Thiago Maia (Santos) on January. Not easy but he is a target. #CFC #transfers
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 6, 2016
PSG also have an ace in their hole in that Thiago has already commented positively on a French move, per Bettoni: “I know many people there. Marquinhos is one of them and he always has nice words for the club and its organisation, I’d be happy to move to PSG one day.”
The 19-year-old impressed for Brazil’s under-23 side during their Rio 2016 Olympics campaign, and Conte will have to move quickly if he’s to convince Thiago he’s better-suited to west London than France’s capital.