Chelsea are set to raid Benfica once more, following up their January capture of David Luiz, the London club are set to bid for Portuguese international Fabio Coentrao. The 23-year-old, who has also been linked with Manchester United, is one of the most highly-rated full-backs on the continent.
Benfica are reported to be bracing themselves for summer offers for Coentrao but insist he will not be sold on the cheap. The club president Luis Filipe Vieira is understood to want at least £26m for the defender but reports in Portugal have predicted that Chelsea are considering a summer bid of around the £23m mark.
Despite joining Benfica in 2007, Coentrao spent 2008 and part of 2009 on loan elsewhere. It was not until late on in 2009 when the left back started to establish himself as a first team regular. During 2009/10 Coentrao won the domestic double and won the award for Portuguese breakthrough player of the year.
Coentrao, who can also play on the left side of midfield, was one of the better performers for Portugal in the 2010 World Cup. Despite a poor showing from the team as a whole, Coentrao was able to make an impression at the tournament and has been scouted by top European clubs ever since. He featured in all of Portugal’s games and has 12 caps in total.
With Ashley Cole a predominant figure at left back, it is thought Coentrao would operate further forward on the left hand side of midfield. At only 23, he would be suitable for Chelsea’s transfer policy in the summer, which is to rebuild the ageing squad. Several players are expected to make way for new signings including Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda.
Chelsea are not the only face competition from United for the Portuguese international but also current European Champions Inter Milan are rumoured to have made enquiries, and could be lining up an offer of their own.
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