Saturday 20 January 2018

Chelsea up Meireles bid as Reds reject £8m offer

Jason Burt and Rory Smith

Chelsea were last night planning to make an improved offer for Raul Meireles after Liverpool rejected their opening bid of £8m plus Yossi Benayoun for the Portuguese midfielder.

Meireles can leave Anfield, and has been available for sale at £11m, but it is understood that Liverpool would rather he went overseas than join a rival Premier League club, particularly Chelsea.

Indeed it is thought that Chelsea's renewed interest in Meireles has already led to an increase in the fee being demanded by Liverpool. But Chelsea are desperate to conclude the deal and will make a new cash bid.

Sources have indicated Liverpool do not want to re-sign Benayoun, who would like to return to the club he left last summer for £5m. The Israeli is almost certain to leave Chelsea and it remains more likely he will join Lille.

There has been tentative contact from Arsenal -- who have also inquired about Benayoun's Chelsea team-mate Alex -- but no bid has been made.

Chelsea's interest in Meireles does not yet mean that they have given up all hope of signing Luka Modric from Tottenham and they are weighing up making an improved offer of £40m. But Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has told Chelsea, once again, that Modric is not for sale at any price.

Chelsea and their negotiators have tried to persuade Roman Abramovich to give up on pursuing Modric but the Russian billionaire is still hoping he can conclude a deal, given the fact the 25-year-old midfielder is adamant he wants to leave.

There is understood to be a degree of friction at Spurs over Levy's unwillingness to negotiate. Redknapp has suggested that it might be in the club's best interests if Modric is sold -- a view backed by some players.

But Redknapp has made it clear he does not believe Spurs should sell on transfer deadline day and matters have become further complicated because Modric is now on international duty with Croatia.

Modric is distraught that his move to Chelsea does not appear set to come to fruition and Spurs will have the difficult task of rehabilitating the player back into their squad.

Meireles is unsure of his future at Liverpool and whether he fits into the plans of Kenny Dalglish, who has bought several midfielders this summer. Andre Villas-Boas only worked briefly with Meireles at Porto but there is a mutual admiration and the Blues boss would welcome him now -- especially if he failed to land Modric.

It is believed that Villas-Boas has decided against bidding for another midfielder, Porto's Joao Moutinho, who he had considered as an alternative to Modric. Moutinho has a £35.3m buy-out clause, which Chelsea will not match, and given the anger from Porto over Villas-Boas' attempts to sign Alvaro Pereira from his former club it seems unlikely that the two sides would reach a compromise. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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