Chelsea prepared to pay £26.8m for Juan Cuadrado

Chelsea are prepared to meet the £26.8m release clause in Juan Cuadrado’s contract with Fiorentina but will only progress with a deal for the Colombian once they have received an acceptable offer for André Schürrle.

The Bundesliga clubs Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund have expressed an interest in the Germany international, but neither has indicated they would be willing to match Chelsea’s valuation for the World Cup winner. The London club are seeking at least £25m for a forward who joined for £18m from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2013 and has started only five Premier League games to date this term, with negotiations on-going between all parties.

Wolfsburg officials travelled to London last week to open discussions on a potential deal with the player’s agent arriving in the capital over the weekend. The player’s representative and his father, Joachim, have attempted to persuade Chelsea to lower their asking price – or at least rejig the payment schedule – in a bid to smooth a move back to Germany before the deadline. Schürrle, who is apparently nursing a slight back injury, has not been involved in the team’s domestic cup games with Bradford City and Liverpool and will be absent again against Manchester City, but remains optimistic a deal can be struck to depart before Monday.

Chelsea had been in no great rush to sell either Schürrle or Mohamed Salah in mid-season but, once it became clear the fringe players were seeking greater first-team involvement elsewhere, they quickly identified potential targets as replacements. The Shakhtar Donetsk winger Douglas Costa was sounded out, though the priority was Cuadrado, a player who had excelled at the summer’s World Cup finals and has enjoyed a prolonged spell in Italy with Udinese, Lecce (on loan) and Fiorentina. Reports in Italy on Thursday suggested talks had been continuing with the Viola and the player’s agent, Alessandro Lucci, with the Premier League side aware of Cuadrado’s wage demands should the clause be triggered.
“He has the characteristics suited to English football because he’s fantastic in positive transitions and with Mourinho it could be perfect,” said the Fiorentina coach, Vincenzo Montella. “I think Chelsea have probably been in talks with his agent, but I don’t know. His €35m (£26.8m) release clause has to be paid if he is to leave.”
Salah’s future appears uncertain after Roma’s interest in securing the Egypt international rather waned, though there remains scope for a deal to be revived over the weekend for a player who has endured a disappointing year in England.

Credit: Dominic Fifield/Guardian Sport