Chelsea to raise Schurrle offer: Roman to return to Bayer with improved 20m bid
21:57 GMT, 8 August 2012
Chelsea are preparing an improved bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s Andre Schurrle as Roman Abramovich continues his recruitment drive for young talent.
Abramovich’s summer spree has been all about youth, with Marko Marin, 23, Eden Hazard, 21, and Oscar, 20, arriving at Stamford Bridge.
The European champions are keen to add Marseille right back Cesar Azpilicueta, 22, and Wigan winger Victor Moses, 21, to a squad which has been rejuvenated over the last two years.
Schurrle, 21, also remains a priority target, even though Leverkusen have not heard from Chelsea since their opening offer of 16million.
Rising star: Andre Schurrle impressed in Euro 2012
The Germany striker is tall, strong, quick, industrious and versatile — able to play wide or central — and impressed against the Blues in last season’s Champions League.
Going back: Chelsea will increase their offer for Schurrle
He is open to a move to the Barclays Premier League but is under contract until 2016. Chelsea’s approach prompted Rudi Voller, Leverkusen’s sporting director, to state that Schurrle was not for sale.
'The matter is over and I have told Andre so,' said Voller but Abramovich – or more particularly, his billionaire fortune – can be very persuasive and he intends to test Leverkusen's resolve with an improved offer of close to 20m.
There is space within Roberto di Matteo's squad for new signings.
Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa, Nicolas Anelka and Alex departed
Chelsea in 2012 and – when added to Yuri Zhirkov, Deco, Joe Cole,
Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho and Juliano Belletti – who have also
departed in the last two years, the transformation is evident.
Hazard and Oscar are classified as under 21 for the purposes of the
Barclays Premier League and so will not occupy a place in Di Matteo's
official 25-man squad to be submitted at the end of the month.
Moses and Schurrle, although both 21, turn 22 before the end of this year and thus would count within the 25-man squad.
One for the future: Victor Moses (second left)
If they can bolster the squad with these transfer targets, Chelsea would make an effort to move on some more of their experienced players such as Paulo Ferriera, Florent Malouda, Raul Meireles and Yossi Benayoun.
Despite the endurance of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, Di Matteo could yet start the season with one of the youngest squads in the Premier League.
The club also have a host of expensive young signings who will spend this season out on loan, including Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne and possibly Romelu Lukaku.
Benayoun, back after a season on loan at Arsenal, does not have a squad number. He wore No.10 before his year away but this has since been claimed by Juan Mata.
Back to the daily grind: Juan Mata (secnd right) and Daniel Sturridge (right) returned to Chelsea training after the Olympics
Mata, Oriol Romeu, Ryan Bertrand and Daniel Sturridge returned to training after playing in the Olympic Games.
Chelsea's final preparation game for the new campaign is the FA Community Shield against Manchester City on Sunday.
The game has been moved from its home at Wembley Stadium to Villa Park to accommodate the Olympics, which closes in London on the same day.
Chelsea have not sold all their tickets but Villa Park is only expected to be a few thousand short of it 42,000 capacity. The FA have given 800 seats to the armed forces as part of the Tickets for Troops initiative.