Transfer news

Mourinho linked with move for Mangala

June 5, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Chelsea target Eliaquim Mangala has told L'Equipe he is "happy at Porto" but admitted he is flattered by interest from Jose Mourinho.

Eliaquim Mangala made 23 appearances for France's Under-21 side
GettyImagesEliaquim Mangala made 23 appearances for France's Under-21 side

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Mourinho is looking to strengthen his squad with another raid on his former club Porto with Mangala, 22, reportedly high on his list of priorities. The powerful centre-back was a cornerstone of Porto's domestic success last season, and was recently promoted from France's Under-21 squad to the senior ranks to join Les Bleus on their South American tour.

"If [the Chelsea interest] is true, it makes me happy. People don't pay enough attention to the Portuguese league even though Porto is a big club," Mangala, who L'Equipe reported is also being followed closely by Manchester City and Bayern Munich, said. "There are a lot of interesting European clubs, there's a lot of talk, but I'm happy at Porto and I don't worry myself with those things."

Should Mangala make his senior international debut against Uruguay in Wednesday's friendly, Porto's reported £30 million asking price would be pushed still higher. Though born near Paris, Mangala could have played for Belgium, where his family moved when he was five, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where his family hails.

"I was contacted by Belgium, and by the Democratic Republic of Congo, but I've always refused. I wanted to play for France," said Mangala, who signed for Porto from Standard Liege two years ago.

Mangala's meteoric rise in the last 12 months mirrors that of his former Under-21 centre-back partner Raphael Varane. It is the Real Madrid defender's right knee injury that has increased Mangala's chances of starting alongside Laurent Koscielny in Montevideo, and perhaps leapfrogging Varane, who only made his senior international debut himself last season, in Didier Deschamps' thinking.

"There's no logical progression in football," Mangala said. "One day you're there, the next you're gone. I'm aware of that."