AVB: Room for Hulk at Chelsea
Andre Villas-Boas has admitted Porto star Hulk would be an ideal signing for Chelsea.
Chelsea will almost certainly have space in their forward line next season, with both Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou currently looking set to leave when their contracts expire. Florent Malouda has a further year to run on his deal but has previously expressed a willingness to move on in search of more regular football.
Villas-Boas told Portuguese radio station TSF: "We have Kalou and Malouda, both of whom are nearing the end of their contracts, while Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge are the future. As such, there will surely be a place to fill and I see room for an explosive player on the wing, someone who is strong in one-on-one situations and Hulk fits that profile."
Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has claimed Hulk has an £85million release clause - something even billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is likely to baulk at.
Negotiating with Porto proved futile last summer when the Blues tried to sign wing-back Alvaro Pereira, with Pinto da Costa reportedly still smarting from Villas-Boas' decision to quit the Estadio do Dragao for Stamford Bridge.
If there had been a problem between them, they appear to have buried the hatchet, with Pinto da Costa having invited Villas-Boas to watch the Portuguese champions' Europa League defeat at Manchester City last week.
"I was very proud to be invited by Pinto da Costa to sit next to him," said Villas-Boas, who played down suggestions the move was an attempt to lure him back to Portugal.
"Returning to Porto will always be a huge source of pride, but right now I am completely motivated with my work at Chelsea."
An improved relationship between Villas-Boas and Pinto da Costa would certainly not hurt Chelsea in any future transfer negotiations. The Blues have been linked with midfielder Joao Moutinho as well as a renewed bid for Pereira.
Villas-Boas said: "They could surely play in the Premier League and at Chelsea."