Chelsea latest: Neymar, Benzema and consistent streaks

All the latest news and views from Stamford Bridge.

One of the hottest young stars in world soccer, Neymar, a 21-year-old from Barcelona via Sao Paulo in Brazil, could arguably solve Chelsea's striking woes single-handedly.

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At Camp Nou, currently, he is more of a provider than a goal-scorer as he has returned three goals and six assists in 11 appearances in all competitions but his strike rate at previous employers Santos (136 goals in 225 apps with 65 assists) as well as the national team (26 goals in 42 apps with 18 assists) is all demonstrative of his predatory prowess.

Surely his presence in the Chelsea line-up, at the expense of any of Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres or the unfancied Demba Ba would be a considerable step-up but surely the contemplation alone should be reserved for Football Manager enthusiasts on Android. Or should it?

The supremely-talented forward, a Confederations Cup winner and silver medalist in the London 2012 Olympic Games, was in discussions with Chelsea over a switch whilst he was still clubbing it in his homeland. Barca president Sandro Rosell has explained why he was only ever going to choose to play at the Camp Nou.

'The key was that the player wanted to come to Barcelona,' he told Spanish radio Cadena Ser. 'It was not about knowing how to negotiate; he wanted to be here next to [Lionel] Messi and the rest of the team. Everything was based on that despite offers he had from Manchester City, Chelsea, Bayern and Real Madrid.'

Stamford Bridge remained a hot topic throughout the radio show and Rosell discussed his fondness for Blues ball-beater Thibaut Courtois: 'He is a keeper who I like a lot. He is very good.'

The contract of current number one at Barcelona, Victor Valdes, is due to expire at the end of the season and, while there has been no indication from the player that an extension will be honoured, the club's top brass are hopeful they can convince him to stay. If they can't… Courtois may be an option.

Staying in Spain but moving across to rivals Real Madrid and Chelsea see themselves paired up with Karim Benzema in the news. The France international may well represent a suitable and viable option in the January transfer market as there have been further developments on his fall-out.

Benzema has been scrutinised for his apparent low work-rate, something he vehemently contests. He is quoted by The Express to have said: 'I'm a frontman. Of course I'm the first defender but I won't do the job of a full back or a midfield. It's not a question of attitude. You talk about attitude when a player does not want to play football. But I walk on to the pitch, I want to play football.

'For example, when I play for France... I run almost ten kilometres per game. It's unfair because I do run.'

And finally, defender Branislav Ivanovic has called on the club to achieve some long overdue consistency once the team's individuals return from their respective international duties. He is quoted by Four Four Two to have said: 'The team and our performances can improve, we can do better and I think we'll do it after this international break.'

image: © jikatu

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