LONDON: Chelsea still expect to confirm the second biggest signing of the winter transfer window today for Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado although the pounds 26.8?million deal remains -dependent on reaching final agreement to sell Andre Schurrle to Wolfsburg.
Chelsea are understood to have dropped their asking price for Schurrle to close to pounds 20?million and negotiations were at an advanced stage but still not complete yesterday.
"There is no agreement at the moment," the Wolfsburg sporting director, Klaus Allofs, said. "The clock is running out. Our options are
getting less hour by hour. It depends on money. We still would like to sign him."
Chelsea, though, were remaining confident of reaching agreement, with Mohamed Salah also poised to join Fiorentina on loan as part of the Cuadrado deal. Chelsea have agreed to pay Fiorentina an initial pounds 23.3?million that could rise to Cuadrado's pounds 26.8?million release clause.
Cuadrado has now passed a medical and, after Manchester City signed Wilfried Bony from Swansea City for pounds 28?million earlier last month, Chelsea are preparing to respond with their own squad upgrade.
The 26-year-old is ready to sign a 41/2-year deal and actually attended the match at Stamford Bridge against Manchester City on Saturday. He would then be available for the fixture against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Cuadrado will immediately be com-peting for Willian's place on the right of Jose Mourinho's usual 4-2-3-1 formation. "Everybody saw the World Cup, the way he performed - he's a special player," Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal captain, said.
"He can beat anyone at any time and he's a proper winger also - that's something you don't see often now, guys that want to go down the line and beat people and cross. That's what you want if you're a striker, so I think he will be - if he comes to Chelsea - a special player."
The two Manchester clubs, United and City, are not expected to make any new signings and are focusing on their targets for the summer.
Fenerbahce have expressed an interest in the City forward Edin Dzeko but Manuel Pellegrini, the manager at the Premier League champions, will not sanction the release of the Bosnia international at such a late stage in the window.
Southampton are confident of at least one new signing today after a loan deal for the Serbian attacking midfielder Filip Djuricic was agreed in principle with the German side Mainz 05.
The club have also bid around pounds 5?million for the Feyenoord midfielder Tonny Vilhena to replace Jack Cork, who has joined Swansea.
Vilhena played under Ronald Koeman, now the Southamp-ton manager, at Feyenoord and negotiations are continuing. The sense, as of last night, was that it was still 50-50 that Southampton would complete the deal today.
Garry Monk, the Swansea manager, also hopes to make two signings today. "I've identified targets I wanted," he said. "The board know what I'm looking for and who. If a deal can be done they will do it. I have confidence in the squad but it would just be nice to add an extra couple of bodies or a body to add to that quality."
Tony Pulis, the West Bromwich Albion head coach, is poised for a typically frantic final day of the window as he attempts to bring in at least two new signings.
Pulis wants the Liverpool forward Rickie Lambert and Neil Taylor, the Swansea left-back, and could offload the club's pounds 10?million record signing Brown Ideye. Ideye, the Nigeria international, is attracting serious interest from the Qatari club Al Gharafa but Albion will only sanction a permanent deal for the striker.
The Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, whose proposed move to West Ham United collapsed, is not believed to be an active target.
Pulis is hopeful of repeating his transfer business of 12 months ago, when he recruited four players on the final day of trading.
"I'm not spinning as many plates as I usually spin, but if the ones drop for us I'll be very pleased," Pulis said.
"We're batting away with every other team in the Premier League to try and improve. One or two might leave but I can't see a busload going.
"If the deal is good for the football club we'll speak to the players but it's their decision, we're not chucking them out the club.
"You line a few up and hope they drop for you. If they drop for us, it will give us a lift - if they don't we'll get on with what we've got."
Leicester City are to announce the signing of the Stoke City defender Robert Huth on loan for the remainder of the season.
Huth has been punished with a two-match ban by the Football Association for improper conduct on Twitter but his move to the King Power Stadium will still go through.