STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Andre Villas-Boas the Chelsea manager shakes the hand of Alex during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on August 14, 2011 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
It's difficult to figure out whether this is good news or bad news - I suppose that depends entirely on how much one dislikes selling to Premier League clubs - but it looks like the Alex to Queens Park Rangers deal is finally dead. Negotiations between Chelsea and QPR were advanced enough that Alex was given permission to open up talks with Mark Hughes's side, but his £60,000 per week wages with the Blues was simply too much for Rangers to be able to take on.
It might be considered bad news that the transfer of a defender that Chelsea absolutely have to get rid of for basically whatever price they can get has fallen through. Fear not, for there are alternatives. The Brazilian is being linked to Paris Saint-Germain, a team that definitely can afford to throw around that sort of money for a defender who's still very capable, despite his rustiness this season. We all know that Alex will be leaving this window (the Blues fielding five senior centre backs in their first team squad would be amazingly stupid, and nobody else is going anywhere), and there's no reason to think that we're going to fail to shift him just yet.
One interesting point this miniature saga (sagette?) brings up is the difficulty Chelsea will always have in shifting players around. While we like to think that being a regular Premier League and Champions League contender* is why so many good players want to join the club, the simple truth is that we pay our footballers a lot of money, and that's a - possibly the - major draw of Chelsea Football club.
*Ish. I'll have more to say on this later, I suspect.
But when you're looking to sell a player on relatively high wages, you're faced with a number of problems. You either have to convince the player in question to take a pay cut or sell to teams that can a) afford said player and b) for whom he would constitute an upgrade. That's a difficult problem, and one that seriously constrains just how much money Chelsea can make while selling players.
Paris Saint-Germain are, obviously, a team which fits both A and B, but if that falls through... maybe Shanghai are looking for defenders?