Saturday 25 November 2017

Wolfsburg closing in on the £18m signing of Chelsea's Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne has been linked with a move to Wolfsburg
Kevin De Bruyne has been linked with a move to Wolfsburg

Matt Law

Wolfsburg have confirmed they are on hte verge of signing Chelsea's Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne.

The German club had been quoted £25m by Chelsea for De Bruyne, but the two clubs have remained in negotiations and are close to striking an £18million deal.

De Bruyne is understood to have already agreed to move to Wolfsburg and is now just waiting for the transfer to be finalised.

Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs said: “We can’t announce a deal yet, be we are not in a desperate mood. We would not talk to Chelsea if we had totally opposing views.”

De Bruyne, who spent last season on loan at Werder Bremen, had been advised to seek regular football ahead of the World Cup by Belgium boss Marc Wilmots after struggling for first-team opportunities under manager Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho revealed prior to Saturday's match at Hull, when Chelsea could go top of the Premier League for a few hours at least, that Kevin De Bruyne is nearing a departure with two clubs close to agreeing a fee for the Belgium forward.

There have been "zero bids" for Chelsea's other players, despite rumours of moves for the likes of Spain playmaker Juan Mata, Mourinho insisted.

The self-proclaimed Special One was adamant Eden Hazard will not be leaving Chelsea, amid rumours of interest from Paris St Germain.

The Belgium forward, who joined in the summer of 2012 from Lille, has been Chelsea's best player this season.

If Chelsea were prepared to sell - and Mourinho stressed they are not - a world record fee would be required.

Mourinho said: "I am not worried because if his value was around £40million when Chelsea bought him, if two years later he is twice or three times better than he was when we bought him, I think his value in the market is a crazy value.

"On top of that, he's not a player Chelsea are interested in selling anyway.

"Between our tag of 'not to sell', plus the crazy amount that he can be valued at in this moment, I think there's no chance that Eden is going to leave."

Chelsea have been linked with numerous players during this month's transfer window, despite Mourinho's insistence a deal would be done only in exceptional circumstances and if the timing was right.

Asked if he is interested in Porto striker Jackson Martinez and Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin on Friday, Mourinho responded "no".

Mourinho is hoping to develop his current squad and create a group to rival the one which performed so well for him during his first spell in charge from 2004 to 2007.

Chelsea played Hull in Mourinho's first competitive game of his return on August 18 and played some scintillating football in a 20-minute first-half spell.

Since then Hull have pulled off some good results, particularly at the KC Stadium, where Liverpool lost in early December and Fulham were beaten 6-0 in the most recent home match.

Mourinho was cautiously optimistic ahead of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, with second-placed Manchester City and leaders Arsenal not in action until Sunday and Monday, respectively.

"A very difficult match to win there," said Mourinho, who is again without midfielder Frank Lampard (calf) and right-back Branislav Ivanovic (knee).

"We have a chance to win. If we win we will be for a few hours top of the league, but I keep saying the most important thing for us is to secure a position in the top four, which is very difficult for everyone.

"As important as that is to improve the team, to improve the players, keep playing well, improving in details and prepare the team for another period of success like Chelsea had between 2004 and 2012."

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