Demba Ba was last night set to become the first of three Chelsea transfer window signings.
The Newcastle striker was locked in talks over a £7.5million switch to Stamford Bridge.
And Rafa Benitez’s spending won’t stop there, with a £10m move being lined up for Metalist Kharkiv’s midfielder Taison followed by Corinthians' Paulinho.
Chelsea are prepared to activate the buy-out clause in Ba’s contract to make him their first signing of the January window.
They have moved for Ba because £48m-rated top target Radomel Falcao says is staying at Atletico Madrid at least until the summer.
The Blues see Ba as support for Fernando Torres and feel the Senegalese striker, who has scored 13 goals in 20 league appearances, represents great value.
He will cost £4.5million less than the £12million they are receiving from Liverpool for Daniel Sturridge and they will offer Ba £70,000-a-week.
Chelsea interim boss Rafa Benitez was tight-lipped on Ba last night, saying: “We do not talk about our business in public.
“He’s a player who plays for another team and I don’t like to talk about other players.”