Chelsea transfer target Oscar Cardozo is free to leave Benfica, according to talkSPORT.

Reports in Portugal suggest that the Paraguayan frontman has been informed that he can begin looking for a new team this summer, prompting speculation that Chelsea may move for the forward.

Benfica are believed to be keen to trim their wage bill and the highly-rated Cardozo would be a relatively easy sale for the Portuguese club, with several clubs eager to sign him up. The Benfica striker has been linked with Stamford Bridge in the past, although Everton, and two Russian clubs, CSKA Moscow and Rubin Kazan, are also thought to be interested.

Cardozo is valued at £12m, which may price him out of a move to Goodison Park, but Chelsea, CSKA and Rubin are all thought to be able to meet the valuation.

The 28-year-old joined Benfica from Argentinian side Newell Old Boys in 2007 and has hit 88 league goals in 135 appearances. The prolific frontman has been linked with Chelsea since Nicolas Anelka left the Blues for China in January.

Should Didier Drogba fail to agree a new contract with Chelsea, Cardozo could be seen as the ideal replacement and Chelsea may look to secure his services with only Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku left as recognised strikers. However, the Ivorian is reportedly set to resume contract negotiations with the Blues after the Champions League final on 19 May and may yet agree an extension.

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