Chelsea agree £38m deal for Brazilian international Hulk from Porto
• £32m deal already in place for Eden Hazard
- The Guardian,
Chelsea have agreed a fee of £38m for the Porto striker Hulk and the deal is ready to be closed. The figure has been brokered by facilitators working on behalf on each club and, with the Brazil international’s personal terms not expected to be an obstacle, it merely remains for the directors on both sides to sign the relevant paperwork.
The Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, as ever, will reserve the right to renegotiate until the last minute yet there is a confidence, not least on Hulk’s part, that there will be no glitches, after what has been a lengthy process, and that he will get the move that he has craved, subject to a medical.
Porto have been happy to push the line about Hulk’s release clause being €100m and although the Guardian has now learned that the figure is €60m [£48m], the Portuguese club have been forced to accept less, not least because only Chelsea have been willing to make a competitive offer. The release clause was never going to be binding. Porto had wanted no less than £40m but Chelsea have haggled them down.
The fee, however, represents an eye-watering outlay and, on the back of the £32m deal that Chelsea have put into place for the Lille attacking midfielder Eden Hazard, it is a serious statement of intent from Abramovich, who still does not have a permanent manager.
Roberto Di Matteo, the Champions League-winning interim coach, remains in the dark about his future, with his Stamford Bridge contract set to expire at the end of June. Abramovich has a frosty relationship with Di Matteo and it is clear that he is exploring other options, with the former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola his ideal candidate. Guardiola says that he needs a break from the game.
Abramovich, with the help of his influential technical director, Michael Emenalo, is calling the shots and the Russian drove the capture of Hazard, a player who stands to inject greater fantasy into Chelsea’s game. Hulk is also considered a player to excite the crowd, a powerful and clinical presence, who can play as the centre-forward or off the right, where he is likely to feature for Chelsea.
Ron Gourlay, the club’s chief executive, made it clear last Wednesday that Fernando Torres would start next season as the team’s No9. Abramovich made it a personal mission to sign the Spain striker in January of last year from Liverpool for £50m and despite Torres’s poor goals return – he has 12 in 67 appearances for the club – the owner is determined to see him prosper. “Fernando Torres is the man that we will go forward with and Fernando Torres will score us the goals,” Gourlay said.
Torres’s principal competition last season came from Didier Drogba but the 34-year-old has left the club as a free agent and he is ready to sign a contract at Shanghai Shenhua that is worth €300,000 a week after tax, which would make him one of the highest paid players in world football. The current leader is the Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o, who takes home €423,000 a week after tax at Anzhi Makhachkala.
John Terry, the Chelsea captain, has been banned by Uefa for three European club matches over his red card against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final. Terry had to sit out Chelsea’s win in the final against Bayern Munich and will miss the Super Cup match against Europa League winners Atlético Madrid in August, plus Chelsea’s first Champions League group-stage match in September.
Chelsea’s moves for Hulk and Hazard are a big part of the plan to rejuvenate a squad that lagged 25 points off the Premier League title pace. Along with Drogba, José Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou have been released while the club are open to offers for Florent Malouda and Michael Essien, both of whom have one year to run on their contracts. Chelsea have also added the young wingers Marko Marin from Werder Bremen and Kevin de Bruyne from Genk, each for £7m fees.
Hulk, 25, has been in Chelsea’s sights all season. His record is outstanding – 57 goals in 91 games in the past two seasons – and there is the belief that he can improve at Stamford Bridge. Neither Hulk nor Hazard have allowed the uncertainty over the managerial position at Chelsea to deflect them. Together with the Spaniard Juan Mata, they stand to form a potent trio behind Torres.