Chelsea latest: Including Monterrey preview and transfer “surprises”

Stamford Bridge Outside

A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.

Rafa Benitez has vowed to pick a strong side for Chelsea’s Club World Cup semi final clash with Mexican side Monterrey tomorrow morning. If Chelsea win they will play the final on Sunday, but Benitez said he could not think about players resting players for that match as Chelsea have to ensure they get through the semi against the CONCACAF champions first. The match kicks off at 10:30 GMT on Thursday.

Monterrey are hoping to make history tomorrow by beating Chelsea, who their manager Victor Manuel Vecetich described as the number one side in the world. Mexican football has already enjoyed a fantastic year, with their U23 side winning the Olympics in London.

The winners of the game tomorrow will play Corinthians in the final, after the Brazilian side beat Al Ahly 1-0 in their semi final clash earlier today. Paolo Guerrero scored the only goal in the 29th minute, with Corinthians largely on the back foot for the rest of the game.

Gary Cahill has said that it is now “sunk in” what a big tournament the Club World Cup is, and that the Brazilians in Chelsea’s squad have demonstrated to the other players how significant a win would be. The defender has also said that he believes Rafa Benitez is making them a better team after a tricky start:

"It was hard for him to get all his points across at first because he was playing games every couple of days, but now the lads are fully aware of what strategy he's come up with and what's expected of them.”

The Chelsea manager has hinted that Chelsea will be active in the transfer market in January, will the Blues likely to at least need a replacement for Oriol Romeu, who has been ruled out for six months after an operation. When asked about potential activity, Benitez said:

“The club is working and always looking for good players, so we'll see if there are any surprises."

One player they may look at is Corinthians’s Paulinho, who might line-up against Chelsea in the Club World Cup final on Sunday. David Luiz has reportedly encouraged his side to try and sign the Brazilian midfielder, who is believed to have a buy out clause of around €20 million.

One player it looks like Chelsea won’t be able to sign in January is Porto’s James Rodriguez, with the Portuguese club’s chairman Pinto da Costa ruling out any departures:

“I will not let anyone leave. If the FC Porto is a title shot and is in the knockout round of the Champions League, why would I sell a player?”

images: © Crystian Cruz, © Tom Cuppens

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