It was widely speculated that Bayer Leverkusen representatives were recently in London to negotiate with Chelsea over long term Blues' target Andre Schurrle. The German international has been on Chelsea’s radar, but getting the deal in place has to yet proven difficult with Leverkusen somewhat reluctant sellers. It appears now however that a deal is broadly in place. Although a note of caution is necessary as many 'in principle' agreements in football fail to last the test of time.
The reluctance to sell largely stems from a concern that losing Schurrle would prove too detrimental to Leverkusen’s aspirations both with regards to the Bundesliga and Champions League qualification. The conjecture is however around the sort of deal that has been thrashed out. One train of thought is that Chelsea were thought to be offering a sum in the region of £15million, plus the loan of Belgian wide man Kevin de Bruyne for a season to allow the club breathing space on how to reinvest the incoming money to the best effect. This had however been rejected, and now a higher fee, somewhere around the £20million has now been agreed. Other reports had it the other way around.
This approach said that the hold up in the deal was because Leverkusen actually wanted the de Bruyne loan deal, but the Belgian was reluctant. With the prospect of a potential £15million bid on the table from Borussia Dortmund, the player, currently impressing on loan at Werder Bremen, was attracted by the permanent deal on off to join the Champions’ League semi-finalists. Although the young de Bruyne very much appears to be a star in the making – and I, for one, would like to see him in the Premier League wearing a Chelsea shirt – doubling the £7million outlay for the player may well be a tempting option for Chelsea – financial far play, and all that.
Whichever way the deal is cut, the possibility of Schurrle arriving at Stamford Bridge appears to be increasing. Rudi Voller, Leverkusen’s director of Football has freely confirmed that negotiations have taken place with Chelsea. Additionally, one of the player’s representatives that apparently accompanied the Leverkusen contingent to the recent discussions has some history with Chelsea. Dr Michael Becker was also involved in the transfer of Michael Ballack to the club in 2006.
Should the 22year-old Schurrle decamp to west London, it will doubtless put pressure on the existing squad members. Able to function as either a wide man or a striker, the move may mean the end of a short Stamford Bridge stay for fellow German Marko Marin. It may also mean that the return of Romelu Luakaku to his parent club may be delayed for another season, as his education is continued with a further loan period. The prospect of young Lucas Piazon returning from loan to claim a first team squad place will also be diminished, and this, of course, is to say nothing of any further squad strengthening that the Blues’ hierarchy may have in mind.
As the season draws to a close, each story we hear will probably be a bit less outrageous as serious negotiations begin. It may well be that Schurrle to Chelsea will be one of the first to be confirmed.