The Chelsea manager made some off-the-record remarks to French television station Canal Plus last week and they were broadcast to his consternation yesterday. In them, Mourinho said: “The problem with Chelsea is I lack a scorer. I have Samuel Eto’o, but he is 32 years old. Maybe 35, who knows?”
Mourinho, who was unaware he was being filmed when he made the remarks, then dropped a heavy hint that he would be making a summer move for Monaco striker Falcao, who is a player Chelsea have monitored for some years.
In the interview, Mourinho went on to say: “I need a striker and Radamel Falcao needs a club. A player like him cannot play in front of 3,000 people. Monaco is a club you end your career with.”
The Chelsea manager is angry that he now has to stage a damage limitation exercise with his three current main strikers – Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba – to reassure them of their importance to him, knowing full well that he has to rely on them as they enter the run-in for the Premier League title.
Paris St Germain forward Edinson Cavani is another player that Chelsea have been interested in for some time, but Mourinho insisted that there was no chance of Belgium star Eden Hazard being used in any possible deal for the Uruguayan.
I need a striker and Radamel Falcao needs a club
Mourinho said: “Eden is our boy. We want him to stay for 10 years. We want to build the team around him. He is a player with the style of football we want to have in our team.”
PSG have been eyeing playmaker Hazard for some time and made an unsuccessful offer for the midfielder last summer.
Thierry Henry, meanwhile, wants former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba to join him for one last farewell fling to his career at the New York Red Bulls.
The Galatasaray and former Chelsea legend – prolific during his time at Stamford Bridge – will be a free agent at the end of this season with the 35 year old set to move on from the Turkish club.
And now Drogba is at the centre of a tug of war between two of the Major Soccer League’s biggest clubs, Henry’s Red Bulls and the Seattle Sounders.
Drogba, who faces Chelsea – the club where he signed off by striking the penalty that won the Champions League in 2012 – tomorrow night in Istanbul, also has the chance to return to Stamford Bridge in a coaching role working with Chelsea’s strikers.
But the offer of a lucrative move to the USA to share a pitch with Henry in New York will be hard to resist.
Henry also wants to bring his former Arsenal team-mate, left-back Ashley Cole, who is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of this campaign, to New York – but it is the signing of striker Drogba which would really excite Major League Soccer crowds.
Drogba is still close to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who wants to bring him back to Stamford Bridge in a coaching role, but that is likely to mean a massive drop in salary for the striker. In the USA though, he could keep most of the £100,000-a-week salary that he earns at Galatasary.
Seattle also want Drogba but Express Sport understands that New York are further ahead in the chase.
Drogba has scored 18 goals in 48 games for Galatasaray since joining them after a short and unhappy spell at Shanghai Shenhua 13 months ago.
Chelsea will today give late tests to Brazilian trio Ramires, David Luiz and Oscar, as well as Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel before Mourinho names his team for tomorrow’s last-16 clash.
All four travelled to Istanbul yesterday but Ramires has been struggling with a knee problem and Luiz with a groin injury.
Oscar was withdrawn in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Everton with a muscular problem. Mikel has a similar injury but is expected to play, with Nemanja Matic ineligible having already appeared in the Champions League this season for former club Benifca.
Luiz, if fit, is expected to start in midfield and Ramires too is expected to start, having been on the bench for the win over Everton.
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