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Why Chelsea eyes will be on Brazil and Croatia’s midfield scrap

| 12.06.2014

As if there wasn’t already enough riding on Brazil’s World Cup opener against Croatia, the Sao Paulo clash could also go a long way to determining the makeup of Chelsea’s midfield next season.

Having cajoled Cesc Fabregas into signing a five-year-deal, the Blues are thought to be in the hunt for one or two more big-game middle-of-the-park maestros, while one of their Selecao stars may be following compatriot David Luiz out of the Stamford Bridge door.

Ramires is unlikely to be on from the off when the Canarinho attempt to justify 1/3 win odds against Niko Kovac’s men, with Spurs summer 2013 signing Paulinho preferred by boss Luiz Felipe Scolari alongside Wolfsburg anchorman Luiz Gustavo.

If reports are to be believed, an identical gazumping could be on the cards in west London once the samba jamboree is over, as mid-season whispers regarding a potential Jose Mourinho swoop for the former Corinthians man increased in volume as the Premier League campaign closed.

Paulinho endured a difficult first term in England as Spurs’ season fell apart quicker than even the most optimistic Arsenal fan would predict, but he did manage six Premier League goals and two assists in his 30 appearances.

The fact that Scolari still trusts the 25-year-old after an underwhelming 12 months speaks volumes for his ability, but Paulinho’s future may rest on how he performs opposite another reported Chelsea midfield target who – incidentally – made his name at White Hart Lane.

Ramires has been mentioned as a potential makeweight in a Mourinho move for Luka Modric, who the Portuguese nabbed off the Lilywhites for £30m in 2012 when in charge at Real Madrid.

Quite why Modric would want to leave the 2013/14 Champions League winners is hard to imagine, but Los Blancos are known admirers of Chelsea’s Duracell-bunny Brazilian and with his old boss at the Stamford Bridge helm, it would be no great surprise to see the Croatian in a Blues shirt come September.

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Alex Fortune