Chelsea set to lose Hulk in major blow

Zenit St Petersburg offer to pay £40m for the Brazil striker

Chelsea's hopes of landing Brazil star Hulk has suffered a major blow after Zenit St Petersburg offered to pay £40 million for the striker, according to The Sun.

The Blues have long been linked with a move for the striker, particularly last season when Andre Villas-Boas tried to make Hulk follow him to Stamford Bridge.

Porto striker Hulk valued at £35 million has been the missing link for Blues supremo Roman Abramovich who sees him as the ideal replacement for Didier Drogba.

Villas-Boas's dismissal scuppered the plans before Christmas but the Blues' new boss Roberto di Matteo remains keen on pursuing the sale.

Chelsea's hopes appeared to take a hit when Ligue 1 side PSG made contact with Hulk's agent and indicated they would be willing to pay up to £43 million, some £13m more than the Blues had opened the bidding at.

But with Hulk having revealed he would welcome a move to England over France, Chelsea were waiting to pounce on the player who is representing Brazil at the Olympic football tournament.

However, they refused to budge beyond their £30m valuation of Hulk - real name Givanildo Vieira de Souza - and withdrew from negotiations in the hope that Hulk and his agent would force the Portuguese champions to come back to the table at a more realistic price.

But the involvement of Zenit, who have also offered to throw in Portugal central defender Bruno Alves as part of the deal, blows Chelsea's hopes of a change of heart by Porto out of the water.
Ironically, Zenit are owned by Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom, who were recently announced as a sponsor of Chelsea.

While Hulk appears keen to leave Porto, his agent Teodoro Fonseca has hinted that the Premier League is not the be-all and end-all for his client.

Fonseca said of the 26-year-old: "Sometimes we want a player to continue, but the conditions do not allow it to happen.

"Who would not play in the Premier League, for Chelsea or one of the other big clubs?

"But sometimes clubs have to give up a right, a player or a person in order to keep the whole structure.

"People come and go and the clubs continue."

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