Chelsea want Brazilian striker to lead Champions League push

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Nicolas Anelka is off and – though the club claim otherwise – the newspapers are insistent that Fernando Torres could go too, so there is every chance that Chelsea will try to sign a forward in the winter transfer window.

And the Sunday Mirror are reporting that the player that Andre Villas-Boas wants to buy above all others is the gem of South American football, Santos striker Neymar, who is also being tracked by European giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The 19-year-old failed to influence proceedings as he would have liked in the Club World Cup Final as his side lost 4-0 to 11/8 Champions League favourites Barcelona, but has enjoyed a superb 2011 and a move to Europe is viewed as inevitable.

Whether he will make that switch in January is unclear, especially as it is believed that Santos could demand as much as £45 million, however the Blues showed with Torres that they have no fear with regards to spending big in mid-season.

Their Premier League title hopes suffered another blow on Saturday, just five days after inflicting a first defeat of the campaign on table-topping Manchester City, as a Petr Cech mistake saw them held 1-1 at Wigan.

Many suspect though that owner Roman Abramovich’s main ambition, having already experienced domestic success three times, is to win the Champions League, and considerable January investment is thought a possibility on account of that.

Chelsea, who will face Manchester City’s conquerors Napoli in the round-of-16, are 14/1 to lift the trophy for the first time, and the Mirror anticipate a bid for Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote in addition to Neymar to help meet that target.

Other names mentioned as potential new arrivals at Stamford Bridge include Lyon left back Aly Cissokho and surprise Ligue 1 pacesetters Montpellier’s centre back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

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