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Chelsea make midfield recruit top target as Luiz set for PSG sale

Chelsea, 2/1 second-favourites with Coral to win the Premier League next season, want to sign a midfielder to replace the departing David Luiz, who is on the verge of joining PSG in a reported £40m deal.

Although a centre back by trade, Brazil international Luiz was used in a deep-lying midfield role by Blues boss Jose Mourinho, who prefers Gary Cahill and club captain John Terry as his pair in the heart of defence, and predecessor Rafa Benitez.

Three midfielders are linked with a summer switch to Stamford Bridge in the weekend press; they are Atletico Madrid playmaker Koke (22), Tottenham’s box-to-box star Paulinho (25), and Juventus and former Manchester United youngster Paul Pogba (21).

No matter what the outcome of the Champions League final in Lisbon between Madrid rivals Atletico and Real, the futures of Diego Simeone’s standout performers are all in doubt. Chelsea have also been strongly linked with Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa, who is a doubt for this final club contest of the campaign with a hamstring problem.

Mourinho may thus swoop for both Costa and Koke – a proven source of ammunition for the Atletico attacker, who laid on 13 assists as Simeone’s side won La Liga for the first time since 1996.

Spurs star Paulinho, meanwhile, is set to feature in the Brazil engine room as they host the World Cup next month. Phil Scolari’s Samba Boys are the 3/1 tournament favourites to take a sixth global crown.

Paulinho scored eight goals in all competitions for Tottenham as they finished in the top six yet again, but have to make do with Europa League football once more next term. Coral brought punters news of Mourinho’s interest in this player earlier in May.

France international Pogba supplemented the goals of Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, as Juventus stormed to a third successive Serie A title with a record points haul.

Each candidate would fit into the deep-lying berth next to Blues January signing Nemanja Matic nicely, but Mourinho is unlikely to get a clear run on any of the trio should they be available.