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The Times Say Chelsea Want To Sign These Two Wing-Backs: But How Good Are They?

Antonio Conte is expecting to be busy this month with Chelsea looking to sign two new wing-backs, despite their excellent 13 matches unbeaten run and impressive defensive record.

The Chelsea manager is looking to improve his top of the table squad with the wing-back position being his prime priority. Since his change of formation to a 3-4-3 Chelsea have been immense in both offensive/defensive phases, impressive wing-back pair Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses has been pivotal to their recent success but may find their position up for grabs once the window slams shut.

West Ham United star Michail Antonio and Jonas Hector are on Conte’s wish list this month according to The Times, who say two wing-backs are the main targets for Chelsea this month.

Slaven Bilic will be reluctant to sell his star man this winter as he has been the bright spark in a dark season for the Hammers. The 26-year-old has thus far managed eight goals in 27 games.

The former Nottingham Forest man cost West Ham just £7 million in 2015 but Bilic will know they could demand more than triple if they were to part ways this winter.

Conte as reportedly eyeing Hector before opting for former Fiorentina man Alonso in the summer, with him going on to cement himself in the starting XI and making a positive impression in the first half of the season. But there remain doubts over Alonso’s ability in the long run and also the depth in his position.

Chelsea are currently six points clear at the top of the Premier League table and are in formidable form despite their hiccup at White Hart Lane, the signing of Antonio/Hector will give the Blues boss many options on the wing-back/defensive positions and will help to continue their momemtum until the end of the season.

Both players have had experience playing the wing-back role, and have both been thoroughly impressive thus far this season. Germany man Hector has managed to win 1.62 tackles per 90 minutes this season which puts him ahead of Hammers man Antonio who has managed just 1.05, which in itself is still impressive.

Occupying the role Conte will want either to adapt too will see both players utilising their pace to get past their man, whether that’s to spring counter attacks or get out of defensive positions. Hector again comes out on top of Antonio, managing 69.23% successful take ons whilst Antonio trails on 57.65%, which again is impressive and over the half way mark.

Being a German, and learning his trade within his native country it was almost inevitable Hector would be impressive in possession and this shows with 85% pass completion, again leading Antonio on 72%.

But, something the West Ham man does have over Hector is his eye for goal, he has a fair few goals thus far this season managing to find the net 0.44 times per 90 minutes compared to Cologne man Hector, managing zero. This will again have caught the eye of Conte who knows he can add goals to his game which is a massive plus for any manager. It’s possible that Antonio could be deployed in the most advanced right wing berth of the 3-4-3 formation.

Not just a goal scorer, but a creator too, Antonio has managed to create 0.94 chances per 90 with the German ahead of him on 1.44, which shows he’s certainly more of a creator than a goalscorer.

Antonio would be an immense signing for Chelsea, versatile, direct & good in 1v1 situations in both phase whilst Hector also possessing similar abilities.

Conte seems set on signing new full-backs this winter and has already recalled the impressive Nathan Ake to strengthen the squad with the title race in full flow. Both clubs will be reluctant to sell their stars this transfer window, but when Chelsea come calling, and having the offer of having the chance to win the Premier League title, I think it will be hard for both players to say no.

Analysis: How Alvaro Morata Could Fit In At Chelsea

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has refused to give up hope in their pursuit for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, despite reportedly having bids rejected previously. 

Madrid signed the Spanish international this summer after triggering his buyback clause in his contract. Morata finalised a move to Spain for just £23million and it has been widely reported they want to immediately sell their new man for a hefty profit.


With Diego Costa possibly moving back to Atletico Madrid, Chelsea are looking to sign a new striker. Morata remains first choice but Belgian international Romelu Lukaku who left the Blues in 2014 has been seen as a viable back-up option if they fail to agree terms with Madrid.

Chelsea have already signed one striker this summer after securing the services of Michy Batshuayi for a fee of £33million. Although they still have Spanish international Costa in their ranks, they appear to be in the market for one more prolific striker ahead of the new season, as uncertainty remains over the future of Costa.

Morata has been on the lips of everyone this summer, he showcased his ability for Juventus last season and one performance that really stood out was his individual performance against Bayern Munich last season at the Allianz arena, there are few players as gifted as Morata and he certainly showcased it that day. Morata often impresses on big European nights and he typified the Juventus courage in their loss to Bayern. Morata single handily demolished the Bayern back line with delightful skills and high pressure, he made their defence surrender into making mistakes, which led to the forward bagging a deserved assist.

Another big occasion which Morata thrived off was in the Coppa Italia final, Morata came off the bench to score the winning goal in the 110th minute to win 1–0 against AC Milan.

A clear weakness of the 23-year-old is his killer instinct in front of goal, scoring just 15 goals in two seasons in Italy, it will have come as no surprise if many clubs didn’t want him because of that record. But, he still oozes brilliance and the goal-scoring will surely follow as he matures. He is still very young and will no doubt flourish and realise his potential as he moves into his peak years. Standing at 6ft 2′, he uses his power and pace to get at defenders and uses his trickery to dazzle defences.

Morata is well suited to many roles he is told to play in, a well-rounded forward, Morata is of course best in his natural role as a main striker, but he has superb traits in linking up play between the lines and can often drift out wide to collect the ball if needs be.

Morata has many aspects to his game, he is very good in the air and can hold up the ball with neat close control, quick feet and excellent movement sees Morata shine on the pitch, with a clinical presence hopefully to follow soon. The Chelsea and Arsenal target stood out for his energy and work-rate on the pitch, and although I have talked a lot about his lack of killer instinct, he has scored several crucial goals due to his positional brilliance.

How different is he to Diego Costa?

Diego Costa has a real eye for goal and has impressed in his short time in England thus far, his finishing stands out over Morata, managing 36 goals in 78 appearances for Chelsea since arriving from Atletico. The Blues forward has a real tendency to make a key pass and this is seen as a real strength of Costa’s play. He has an obvious weakness though and that is his offside awareness which could certainly annoy Conte, with the Spaniard’s attitude deemed lazy at times.

His stature and physical style of play which saw him settle very well in England. His style of play suits the Premier League down to the ground. The 27-year-old has strong dribbling abilities which has helped him out massively in his career, as he can also create chances for himself and not rely on his team-mates. Although he doesn’t possess dazzling skills, Costa uses his strength to glide past defenders, and when he is in form, there are few defenders in Europe that are capable of stopping him.

The real question most Chelsea fans will be thinking is can Costa play with his Spanish compatriot Morata, or will a move to Stamford Bridge open up the exit door for Costa? If the duo combine well they’d stand a great chance of winning the league. Here are the latest Premier League odds.

Both players possess unique abilities in their game and are near enough different on every level. Unlike Morata, Costa is a mean striker with a killer instinct in and around the 18-yard box. Morata drops deep and plays as number 10 at times as he is most comfortable when collecting the ball, whilst Costa often sticks between the centre-backs and looks to finish off counter attacks. Both bring different traits to their game and it would be welcomed at Chelsea as they would benefit from playing together, with Morata dropping off and feeding Costa. But, contrary to reports suggesting Costa will stay with the arrival of Morata I cannot personally see it happening.

Chelsea have just signed a very young exciting striker in Batshuayi who scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 last season. At the tender age of just 22 Batshuayi is already a mature clinical presence. He is strong and fast, similar to Morata and he’s quick and deceptive with his feet. He will love the skill and speed of the Premier League.

He has already developed into a very mature and instinctive finisher with fantastic movement in and around the penalty box – I don’t think he will be happy on the bench.

Chelsea will find it hard to fit all three players into the squad and keep each of them happy, Conte is even looking internally with Ruben Loftus-Cheek allegedly learning to play as a striker, he has previously played predominantly in central midfield.

The arrival of Morata could see his Spanish teammate depart London, Costa has come under strong criticism of late due to his “foul” play and seemed very unhappy last season. Atletico are desperate to land their former star and a return to Vicente Calderón Stadium could certainly be on the cards this summer after just two years away.

Perhaps Batshuayi and Morata could be the new strike partnership in a 3-5-2 formation for Conte?

Report: Chelsea Look Likely To Beat Everton To £25million Midfield Signing

New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has entered the race to sign Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel this summer.

According to reports, Chelsea have joined the race with Premier League rivals Everton to fight for the signature of Witsel. Witsel is likely to cost around £25million, which is more expensive than what N’Golo Kante would cost, with a move for the French midfielder also being considered.

The Blues have been pressing to sign Roma’s Radja Nainggolan but Roma have rebuffed every offer thus far, Chelsea are now set to switch targets and approach Witsel as Conte looks to rebuild Chelsea’s feeble midfield.

Witsel is currently away on international duty with Belgium at Euro 2016 and will play Wales in the Quarter-Final.

Although Witsel is on international duty, The Blues are understood to have discussed a potential move to bring the 27-year-old to Stamford Bridge.

Everton’s hopes of signing Witsel from Zenit St Petersburg are now in jeopardy as Premier League giants Chelsea have shown an interest, Everton have been considered favourites all summer as they look to replace the ageing Gareth Barry.

The Belgium midfielder has just one year remaining on his current contract and it is likely Zenit will sanction a move for him this summer with the club believed to be demanding around £15 million.

Witsel joined Zenit St Petersburg in 2012 and has gone on to play 106 games for the Russian side scoring 15 goals, the experienced midfielder has also represented Belgium 69 times scoring 7 goals.

Witsel has been around Europe for many years and his consistent performances have caught the eye of other teams. His accurate passing and powerful dribbling are some of his strongest attributes whilst aerial duels are also a strength of his. Aerial duels are a crucial asset to play in the Premier League especially in one of the most demanding positions in midfield. Witsel is a clever player and his aggressive controlled type of play means he doesn’t dive into tackles; this can let him down on the other hand as his tackling can be a weakness. An added bonus to have the likes of Witsel is his versatility, in his career he has played as a winger, attacking midfielder, a number 8 and a defensive midfielder. After being tested in many areas Witsel has cemented himself a place in central midfield where he feels most comfortable.

Chelsea will have a fight on their hands to secure Witsel, with the 27-year-old Belgium ace also attracting interest from Italian side Roma and as reported English side Everton.

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Chelsea are also set to beat Crystal Palace and West Ham to the signing of Michy Batshuayi. The striker is a teammate of Witsel for the national team. Chelsea have agreed a €40million fee for the striker who will provide competition for Diego Costa.

Chelsea Shock Premier League Rivals With €40m Deal Set To Be Completed

Crystal Palace had agreed a fee of around €38million with Marseille for their goal scoring hit-man Michy Batshuayi, but Chelsea have now swooped in to agree a €40million fee and contract with the striker. 

Crystal Palace had agreed a fee of €38m (£31.6m) with Marseille for Belgian striker, with Marseille seeming to reject West Ham United’s offer of €35 million (£28.25m) which was made on Friday. Chelsea have now also agreed a fee with the French club, thought to be a little higher.

Batshuayi scored with his first touch in Belgium’s dominating 4-0 victory over Hungary on Sunday which sealed them a place in the quarter finals.

West Ham have been on his case since the start of May and are still hopeful of reaching an agreement with both Marseille and the player, Juventus are also very interested in the 22-year-old and have had a bid of more than €30m also rejected.

Crystal Palace seemed to have stolen a march on interested clubs as Palace’s co-owner Steve Parish has directly made an offer to Marseille’s president, Vincent Labrune. But Antonio Conte was impressed by Batshuayi’s Euro 2016 showing and sanctioned a €40million bid, with the player massively favouring a move to Chelsea, the bigger club.

Batshuayi’s former club Standard Liège are due 35% of any sale through a previous clause, which explains why Marseille have been pushing for such a high fee.

Batshuayi scored 24 goals for Marseille in Ligue 1 last season and has been a real star for them since his move there in 2014.

The Belgium international has already been subject to two bids this summer with the player certain to leave France.

Batshuayi spoke to Sky Sports News HQ last month: “Everybody likes the Premier League. It has a lot of spectacle, a lot of goals and many good players. It is natural that every good player is attracted by that league.”

Marsielle have clearly set their sights on landing €38 million for Batshuayi this summer and may have used Crystal Palace to set their price and force Chelsea to follow up their interest with an official bid, as it seemed the player was never likely to opt for Palace as a realistic destination.

At the tender age of 22 Batshuayi certainly is already a mature clinical presence. He is strong and fast, and he’s quick and deceptive with his feet. He will love the speed of the Premier League. His style of never giving up when chasing down the defence doesn’t go unnoticed, one of his finest traits is his tenacity, his willingness to get up and close with his marker, lure him in and get around him. Being very inexperienced hasn’t played toll on his early career, he has already developed into a very mature and instinctive finisher with fantastic movement in and around the penalty box. His movement is special, he’s able to draw defenders in and beat them at will, this can appear very selfish of Batshuayi because he does try far too much on his own, he can be guilty of not lifting his head and dribble with his head down, a bit similar to the way Alexis Sanchez dribbles.

Juventus are still sniffing around Batshuayi and are in the market for a striker following the sale of Alvaro Morata, Batshuayi was also on Tottenham’s radar as they look to support star striker Harry Kane.

West Ham were another club desperate to land Batshuayi after being priced out of a deal for Alexandre Lacazette, but with Palace and Chelsea having bids accepted they will certainly have to move fast to land their man. Any move is likely to be in vein though with Batshuayi set for a medical with Chelsea as the London club have sent a doctor to France to push through a deal.

Reports: 6 Transfers Chelsea Look Set To Complete This Summer

Although Antonio Conte is currently concentrating on Euro 2016 with Italy, he has already identified transfer targets for the Chelsea board to try and sign, and they are thought to be hard at work. Here are 6 transfers that, according to reports, look likely to be completed by Chelsea this summer.

1 – Antonio Candreva

Chelsea are preparing a €30million bid for Lazio and Italy winger Antonio Candreva, according to reports. Should Candreva arrive at Chelsea, it is likely Pedro will depart. We had a look at how the two compared and whether or not Candreva would be much of an improvement. In terms of goals, it is the Italian who leads the way with an impressive 0.41 scored per 90 minutes. Pedro is also impressive in this department, but not quite so much (0.31). In terms of key passes, the Spaniard typically edges it with 1.77, whilst Candreva manages 1.35. Candreva is a goalscoring winger and that will be key for Chelsea as they have struggled to score goals from midfield in recent seasons. If he could replicate the 10 goals he scored for Lazio last season in England, he’d certainly be a good addition at that price. 

Report: Man Utd and Chelsea Could Agree On Massive Transfer Deal

New Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho looks set to raid his former club Chelsea in bid to sign Mourinho’s former midfield powerhouse Nemanja Matic and is willing to use a player as a make-weight to make the deal happen.

Mourinho has drawn up a list of players he wants to bring to Manchester ahead of the 2016-17 season and there is no surprise Matic is top of that list as Mourinho looks set to add strength to United’s depleted midfield.

The player Mourinho is willing to use in an exchange deal is reportedly Matteo Darmian. Darmian, who has struggled at United since his arrival from Torino in 2015 looks set to have his premature career with United cut short and used as bait to secure Mourinho’s main midfield target.

Matic was part of Mourinho’s dominant title success for Chelsea when they won the league in 2015, we recently covered that Mourinho wants a reunion with him this summer and a deal has taken a slight twist.

Although Matic was not as influential this season he still showed dominating performances in patches. Matic managed to win 2.34 tackles per 90 this season which is still very impressive for a defensive midfielder. Standing over 6ft he has been a force in the air winning 1.34 aerial duels. Although Matic hasn’t managed as many interceptions as another potential United target, Kante, he still manages to get a very high score of 2.49.

The 27-year-old midfielder who has 28 caps for Serbia will certainly be in demand if he does become available this summer, but it is likely he would like to reunite with former manager Mourinho at Manchester United.

Antonio Conte could be persuaded in a deal that contains Darmian, a player he knows well and has been his first choice right back during his reign with Italy.

Conte likes the idea of bringing Darmian to Stamford Bridge, a player that is used to the formation and demands of the manager. Mourinho has identified Darmian as the key piece in negotiations due to his close affiliation with new Chelsea boss Conte.

Matic has had an under-performing season with the Blues and fell out of favour with former manager Guus Hiddink playing second fiddle to John Obi Mikel.

Matic will certainly like the idea of linking up with Mourinho at United, the manager who showed much faith in the midfielder and arguably got his best football from him.

Chelsea will, of course be reluctant to sell to a direct rival, but a swap deal that could see a Conte / Darmian reunion may be too hard to turn down for the new Blues manager.

Report: Arsenal and Chelsea Consider €25million Bids For ‘New Mahrez’

According to the Guardian Chelsea and Arsenal are set to battle it out for the signature of Sofiane Boufal from Lille but will face stiff competition from Spanish sides Barcelona and Atlético Madrid for the Moroccan forward.

French club Lille have already indicated that their forward may leave the club this summer. Boufal joined Lille from Angers last January for just €4million and Lille are expecting to sell him for around €25m (£19.6m) bagging themselves a healthy profit.

Many English clubs have been monitoring Boufal’s progress including Arsenal and Chelsea. The 22-year-old scored 11 goals in his first top-flight season, Boufal went on to win an award for Best African Player in Ligue 1.

French-born forward Boufal opted to play for Morocco and has represented them twice scoring 0 goals.

Tottenham and Liverpool have expressed previous interest in Lille’s star player but only Arsenal and Chelsea have indicated that they would be willing to meet the target price mentioned by the French club.

A worry for English clubs, Barcelona have set their sights on Boufal and his agent confirmed they have already held talks with the Spanish giants.

“We did have a meeting with the leadership of FC Barcelona in the last few weeks. There is an interest,” Yvan Le Mée told Le10 sport. “Now the reflection is whether Sofiane Boufal will go to Barcelona to compete with MSN (Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar) or should he go to a club where he is going to start matches and express his exceptional talent.

The plus side to this is Arsenal are Chelsea will be more willing to give Boufal first team minutes with the forward line of Barcelona almost impossible to break through with MSN reaching their peak.

Boufal looks destined to reach his potential after a very impressive season last year. The 22-year-old’s strengths certainly stand out with his dribbling capabilities being his main strength, his ability to pick the ball up and glide with it is similar to Leicester Citys’s Riyad Mahrez. The versatile forward can play anywhere along the front line and also as a central attacking midfielder, something that will appeal to interested parties as he can give them good strength and rotation. Boufal managed to create 2.67 chances per 90 minutes last season which is fantastic for a forward player, the forward also impresses just as much with key passes, another strength of Boufal, managing 2.51 which once again identifies his qualities. A stand out weakness of Boufal is his discipline, but this is something that will improve with age.

Several clubs are monitoring his situation. Arsenal have scouted Boufal extensively since January ahead of a potential summer move, with PSG also interested in Boufal.

All teams mentioned would be a huge upgrade for Boufal and help him take a bigger step in his early career, he looks destined to leave Lille this summer and only time will tell where he ends up.

Report: Chelsea ‘Consider’ Huge €50million Bid For La Liga Midfielder

Chelsea have had another big offer for a midfielder rejected, according to Sky Sports. Antonio Conte wants to make a number of signings this summer but towards the top of the list is a new central midfielder.

It is believed that Roma have rejected two bids for Radja Nainggolan from Chelsea and now Conte appears to be focussing his efforts elsewhere with Sky Sports reporting on Wednesday that Valencia had rejected a £32million offer for midfielder Andre Gomes. Sky go on to say that Valencia value Gomes at around £42million and Chelsea could return with an offer closer to the Spanish clubs valuation. It is now thought that Chelsea are considering upping their offer to around €50million for the midfielder who has 9 senior caps for Portugal.

We recently reported that Gomes was amongst the midfield transfer targets for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United but it seems Chelsea have now firmed up their interest with a formal offer.

Gomes is similar to Nainggolan in style, they are both box-to-box midfielders that love to contribute to both defence and attack. Gomes is 6 years younger than the Belgian Nainggolan, so Chelsea may be willing to spend more on a player who will offer more years of service or some resale value.

A statistical comparison between the two players reveals that Nainggolan appears to be much better at this moment in time. He’s ahead on pretty much every area we looked at which included pass completion, tackles, interceptions and key passes. If Chelsea want a player who is going to come into the side right now, make a difference and do a lot of work going forward and backwards, then Nainggolan is there man. If they wish to make an investment and take a risk, then Gomes could be a good alternative. The best solution though looks to be neither.

Chelsea are also interested in signing N’Golo Kante from Leicester and considering they want to sign a tireless midfielder, there are few more suitable than the never-ending battery Kante. Kante is ahead of both Gomes and Nainggolan is terms of all defensive statistics, although he may be limited going forward.

With Sky Sports saying that Chelsea are not yet sure about increasing their bid for Gomes and with Roma persistent that Nainggolan will not be leaving, surely signing Kante is the best route forward. Kante has a £20million release clause and it seems he will leave Leicester City this summer, despite their title win. Kante though may have more attractive offers than Chelsea, considering the Blues have no European football at all to offer. Kante could even stay at Leicester and play in the Champions League, so moving to Chelsea this summer would be a tough sell for Conte. But money and prestige talks and I am sure that Chelsea could prepare a very tempting package for Kante to at least consider.

3 Strikers Chelsea Are In Talks To Sign According To Reports

There is no doubt that Chelsea will be looking to strengthen their attack after a disappointing campaign last season. The West London club finished 10th, following the departure of Jose Mourinho to Manchester United. With Radamel Falcao looking likely to return to his parent club Monaco, Antonio Conte will look to rebuild before the start of the new season. But who will be moving to West London this summer?

1 – Michy Batshuayi

According to reports from the Mirror, Chelsea are in talks to sign Marseille and Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian international scored 17 goals last season in 36 appearances, along with 6 assists. For a 22 year old, he is a hot prospect in this new generation of talented Belgians, and has been compared to a Romelu Lukaku type of forward, with a fast and powerful style. Although not being the most prolific striker, partnering him to a centre-forward such as Diego Costa may prove to be a success, as the partnership can allow Batshuayi to hold the ball but to also run behind the defence. With Chelsea’s relatively packed midfield with stars such as Eden Hazard and Oscar, the striker will have no problem creating chances and goals.

However, he seemingly is a wanted man this summer, as a £31million move by West Ham has already been rejected. He is looking to join a big club, and with Spurs unwilling to meet his £31million price, Chelsea or Manchester United are front runners to land the Belgian international shortly after the Euros. But with Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao looking likely to move, a guaranteed starting place can sweeten the deal in Chelseas’ favour. The reports suggest Chelsea would even move for the player as soon as possible, before Belgium make serious progress in the European Championships, increasing the interest from other clubs.

Report: Chelsea Ready Bid To Beat Tottenham To Signing Of €40million Striker

Chelsea are considering whether or not to meet the valuation of a €40m-rated player as their chase to sign a new striker intensifies.

Towards the top of Antonio Conte’s transfer targets certainly seem to be a striker. The Italian knows that Diego Costa may leave, whilst Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao will not return to the club following their loan spells last season. Earlier this week Chelsea were heavily linked with a move for Arsenal target Alvaro Morata, but now they are being linked with a move for Tottenham target Michy Batshuayi.

According to The Mirror Chelsea are pondering making a bid worth £31million for the Belgian international. Batshuayi scored an impressive 17 league goals and made a further 9 assists in Ligue 1 last season, making him the shining light in an other poor campaign for Marseille. It seems the French club have acknowledged they need to sell the striker but are asking for their £31million valuation to be met before entering into further negotiations.

West Ham United were keen but the player wants to either join a bigger club or a club in the Champions League, according to The Mirror. Chelsea and Tottenham fit the bill and have been linked with the player, but Spurs appear unwilling to match Marseille’s valuation with a €15million deal for Dutch striker Vicent Janssen now close to completion.

There has always been a universal agreement that Batshuayi had potential, but it is only at Marseille in the most recent season where he has really shown his quality and started to deliver for all those that believed he was good enough. He is an out and out striker who uses his pace and acceleration to speed past opponents and do what he does best, finish clinically.

It could be suggested that his style is similar to Jamie Vardy, so if Arsenal fail with their bid for the 29-year-old they could pursue a move for the Belgian attacker instead. He is two-footed and uses his quick feet to beat defenders and surprise goalkeepers. He still lacks some consistency and maturity in certain scenarios but he can develop those areas as he gets older. Batshuayi’s goal ratio is similar, albeit in a worse league, but the Belgian, only 22, has scored goals at a very impressive rate of 0.67 per 90 minutes.

Chelsea appear to have a few options in terms of attacking reinforcements this summer and Romelu Lukaku, Alvaro Morata and now Batshuayi appear to be the main candidates. All three are young, but Batshuayi is probably the most raw of the trio. If Diego Costa stays at the club this summer, Batshuayi would be a perfect addition, but if he is required to replace Costa and start every week, the Belgian is unlikely to yet be at the level required to perform to a high standard in the Premier League every week. Is he worth £30million? If he fulfils his potential yes, Conte now needs to weigh up whether to invest in the risk or not.

Arsenal Set To Beat Chelsea To Signing Of £23.5million Midfielder

Arsenal are set to make their second signing of the summer and according to reports they have beaten off strong competition from Chelsea for the players signature.

The Gunners have started this transfer window with purpose having already completed a £30million deal for Granit Xhaka and meeting the release clause of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

Now Arsenal appear to be closing in on a £23.5million move for Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

In May Fresh Arsenal brought you reports that Arsenal had made a ‘lucrative offer’ to sign Mkhitaryan. He has less than 12 months remaining on his current contract and the Gunners are reportedly willing to offer him wages well in excess of £90,000 per-week.

The Armenian midfielders agent Mino Raiola has been talking up a move away, with Dortmund refusing the players demands to include a release clause that would become active should coach Thomas Tuchel leave.

The 27-year-old has excelled under new coach Thomas Tuchel, scoring 21 and assisting 20 in 50 appearances this season. His end product is brilliant and that is something that the Gunners certainly lack in wide areas. Only Alexis Sanchez has made a significant contribution in terms of goals and assists from the wing and Mkhitaryan would certainly help the Gunners become more efficient in front of goal. A lack of efficiency from the Arsenal front three was probably the main reason the club did not win the Premier League last season.

Reports: 4 More Signings Wenger Wants To Make After Vardy

Mkhitaryan was previously considered to be an attacking midfielder but he has excelled in a wide right role under Tuchel. His productivity from wide areas makes him particularly appealing to Arsenal. Mkhitaryan’s ability to play centrally is also atttractive, considering there is no obvious number 10 back up to Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal squad.

Mkhitaryan has creative instincts similar to Ozil but more pace and is more comfortable in front of goal. Of course his creativity isn’t quite upto the level of the Germans but his ability in dribble and score make him a quality wing option. Alongside Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal would have one of, if not the best attacking midfield trio in the league and amongst the best in Europe – that is no exaggeration. With 21 goals and 20 assists Mkhitaryan managed one of the best goal and assist returns in Europe last season.

Negotiations are set to continue into the coming weeks with Mkhitaryan not playing at Euro 2016. The Gunners will hope a deal can be reach soon though, with Dortmund now openly willing to sell the player. Chelsea could easily come in and bid more than Arsenal so Arsene Wenger will need to move fast. Wenger will also hope that the chance to play Champions League football at Arsenal appeals to the player more than playing in no European competition whatsoever for Chelsea next season. Recent reports have also supported the theory that the Armenian midfielder favours a move to Arsenal ahead of Chelsea.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to make way should Mkhitaryan arrive, with Southampton and Leicester keen on the 22-year-old English midfielder.

Reports: Man Utd ‘Make Contact’ To Sign 3 Chelsea Players

Jose Mourinho is set to head to Chelsea for transfer reinforcements. According to reports he is eyeing a £150million swoop on his former club. Whether they and new manager Antonio Conte will approve any of these sales is another matter, but if the players do not fit in with Conte’s style they could very well be allowed to leave and Mourinho will try his luck. His former players were known to have a ‘strong bond’ with him and that could influence the decision.

1 – Nemanja Matic

Jose Mourinho wants to sign a midfielder anchor and will turn his attentions to securing Nemanja Matic according to reports. The holding midfielder was brilliant in Mourinho’s title-winning side (2014/15) but fell out of favour last season during THAT terrible campaign. His arrival at United would surely spell the end of at least one of Bastian Schweinsteiger or Morgan Schneiderlin’s future. Mourinho famously substituted Matic 15 minutes after bringing him on at half-time, a morale destroying move that is unlikely to have gone down well with the Serbian. But Mourinho will not have forgotten how effective of a midfielder he can be as he showed in the previous season. This news originally comes from gianlucadimarzio.com, an Italian source that is regarded as fairly reliable. It should be noted that they have only said Manchester United have ‘made contact’ rather than agreed a fee or done anything more advanced at this stage. It may be worth keeping an eye on this one as with Radja Nainggolan and N’Golo Kante reportedly lined up by Chelsea, Conte may be willing to part with Matic.

Reports: Chelsea ‘In Talks’ To Complete 3 Big Transfers

Chelsea’s transfer activity seems to have moved up a gear with the latest reports indicating that the club are in talks to complete no less than three signings.

Their initial targets appeared to be Radja Nainggolan and Gonzalo Higuain, but now those moves appear to ambitious for Chelsea and they have have to aim lower, or closer to home to make the type of signings that Conte wants. Here are three players the papers suggest Chelsea are currently in talks, or are considering to sign.

1 – N’Golo Kante

Chelsea have not been linked with Kante too much compared to some other clubs, but today there are reports emerging from Tancredi Palmeri that Chelsea have held advanced talks with the player and his representatives. The Italian journalist does go on to say that Kante has postponed his decision on where his future lies until after the European Championships this summer. Kante would be a cheaper and younger alternative to Radja Nainggolan, a midfielder Chelsea have been persistently linked with over the last 6 months. Statistically, Kante is miles ahead of Nainggolan when comparing stats from last season. The Frenchman has managed more interceptions (4.64), aerial duels won (1.13) and tackles won (3.72). In fact, in the five areas analysed, Nainggolan is only ahead in terms of passes completed (85%), completing 3% more passes, on average than Kante. Nainggolan is also more effective in attacking areas, scoring 6 goals and completing 41 key passes in the Serie A last season.

The question is, can Kante perform at anywhere near the same level he managed for Leicester City this season? If he can, then it’s a no-brainer for me, Kante is Premier League proven, younger and cheaper. His energy would allow for Cesc Fabregas and other to be at their creative best.

Not Willian: Man Utd Could Sign Chelsea Midfielder + Will Battle Chelsea For Lukaku

Manchester United will have no joy in trying to pursue a move for Willian, with Antonio Conte determined to keep the Brazilian at the club. But Jose Mourinho could be allowed to re-sign another of his former players.

The player that Conte views as disposable is Oscar. It is said that Oscar will not fit in with Conte’s hard working attitude that he demands. There is also a concern that the group of Brazilian players at Chelsea are causing problems in the dressing room and Conte would rather keep hold of Willian and lose Oscar and Alexandre Pato to help solve that issue.

Mourinho has worked with Oscar for some time and he has at times been an important part of Mourinho’s side, although he did fall out of favour during that terrible start to last season. Even with Chelsea willing to part with Oscar, they are unlikely to want to let Mourinho work with him again and would surely favour selling him to a club outside of the Premier League.

Juventus are also strongly linked with a move for Oscar, who they have been pursuing for over a year. A bid of £20millon could be enough.

Meanwhile Mourinho looks set to battle his former club again over the signing of Romelu Lukaku. The young Belgian has said he would be willing to link up with Mourinho again, despite the Portuguese manager previously approving his sale to Everton. Lukaku may have to choose whether to reunite with his old club at Chelsea or with his old manager at Manchester United.

If United sign Lukaku, it surely means Anthony Martial will remain on the left wing, whilst if Chelsea sign him, it surely indicates Conte’s ambitions to change to a 2-striker formation, something he has played with many times before.

Let’s say United sign him. They would have a very young, powerful attack. Imagine if Mourinho could bring out the best in Memphis Depay, combine that with Marcus Rashford, Martial, Lukaku and possibly Zlatan Ibrahimovic and suddenly United could perhaps say they have the best attack in the league. Attacking reinforcements is essential after the club pinned all their hopes of Martial and Rashford’s shoulders last season, and despite the quality they showed, it was not enough collectively as a team and United were often boring to watch and did not score enough goals.

What is clear is that even if Mourinho does not buy any players directly from Chelsea this summer, there will be a battle between the two clubs. Mourinho identified targets for Chelsea over the past few seasons and he will now fancy signing those players himself at United. Whoever comes out on top in these ‘battles’ will have a psychological advantage when the two meet in what will surely be a thrilling encounter next season. Both teams will have new managers, new styles, new players, but who will finish higher in the league? It’s hard to tell at this stage. Both teams missed out on a top-four finish last season but you wouldn’t write off either team winning the league next season – that’s what makes the Premier League so incredible. Although the Euros should be good, I for one cannot wait for the Premier League season to start again.

Chelsea or Manchester United Could Sign Phenomenal £63million Striker

Manchester United and Chelsea could still be in with a chance of sealing one of the biggest deals of the summer – if not the biggest, with a £63million deal possible. 

Here at Fresh Football we are keeping you up-to-date with the latest transfer rumours throughout the summer. Chelsea and Manchester United are both thought to be in the market for a striker this summer and the player they are keen on is Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann. The French striker has been in brilliant form for Atletico since moving from Real Sociedad – the club are desperate not to let him go, but may be powerless should a team bid his £63million release clause.

Chelsea and Manchester United are reportedly considering whether or not to activate his £63million release clause – but Atletico are trying to increase that clause to £79million. But Griezmann is yet to decide on his future, according to his representative.

“Contrary to certain claims announcing that Antoine at Atletico next season will be the case without fail, nothing has been decided or endorsed.” he told press.

Griezmann could perhaps be placed towards that ‘world class’ bracket after his efforts for Atletico have earned them a place in the Champions League final and they once again came close to winning La Liga. Griezmann can play anywhere across the front three but he has mainly played as a striker for Diego Simeone’s men this season, scoring 22 La Liga goals in 38 games. He has an impressive 8 man of the match awards from those 38 games and has also assisted 5 goals.

At 25, Griezmann is still relatively young and is entering the prime years of his career. Griezmann has impressed for France with 26 caps so far and he is also tipped by many to be the star of the show at Euro 2016.

We compared Griezmann to Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. Griezmann scores the most frequently, with 0.65 goals per 90 minutes (Costa 0.45, Rashford 0.53). Rashford is by far the most accurate with his shooting, an impressive 89% shot accuracy, although he hasn’t played many minutes yet – Griezmann (57%) is just ahead of Costa (53%). Despite his short height, Griezmann wins the most aerial duels of the trio (1.57 per 90 mins). He also makes the most key passes (1.39), Costa is second (0.91) and natural goalscorer Rashford is third (0.42). Pass completion rates are very similar across the board – Costa and Griezmann 78% and Rashford 77%.

It is clear that Griezmann is quite different to both Costa and Rashford, but he would add significant quality to both sides and give them a huge chance of winning the league. What must be questioned though is, whether or not the Frenchman would like to play for a club outside of the Champions League, when Atletico compete to win that competition every season. We’ll have to wait and see but there is unlikely to be much movement on this one until after Euro 2016.

Gossip: West Ham Agree £12m Deal, Middlesbrough Close To Big Signing, Chelsea Bid £31m

With the domestic football seasons over, the transfer window has really kicked into gear and now the stories and gossip are flowing. Here at Fresh Football we will bring you the best (and worst) of it. For extended coverage please follow us @FreshFootball on Twitter.

Middlesbrough set to sign Viktor Fischer for £3.8million (Guardian)

Middlesbrough look set to announce their first signing of the summer as Ajax forward Viktor Fischer. The 21-year-old has previously been linked with several high profile clubs including the likes of Barcelona. In recent seasons though his progress has stalled and with one year remaining on his contract he is set to move from the Eredivisie and to the Premier League for a bargain fee. Middlesbrough are looking to add Premier League quality to their squad after gaining automatic promotion to the division. Fischer, although lightweight, would add guile and technical ability to their forward options. Fischer is predominantly a left-winger. The reliability of the sources reporting this deal make it look at if it is only a matter of time before the deal is confirmed. We think at this stage it is extremely likely that Fischer will be in the Boro shirt come next season – exciting times.

West Ham agree £12million fee to sign Gokhan Tore (The Sun)

The Sun alone are not a great source of transfer information but they are citing Turkish media outlet ‘Holigan’ who claim that a £12million fee has been agreed between West Ham and Besiktas for the transfer of Gokhan Tore. Tore is a powerful young (24) winger who has been a long-term target for Slaven Bilic. The Croatian manager has attempted to sign him previously, having a £7.4million bid rejected in January. West Ham have that extra Olympic Stadium budget to spend this time around and are making some very big waves in the transfer market already this summer. Their willingness to up their bid for Tore is indicative of that. Tore has managed 26 caps for Turkey and spent two years at London rivals Chelsea as a youth player. He was considered one of Chelsea’s best prospects in the under 21’s, but like many of their young talents, he never got the chance to break into the senior side.

Chelsea confident of sealing £31million deal for Radja Nainggolan (London Evening Standard)

Chelsea have ‘stepped up’ negotiations to sign Radja Nainggolan from AS Roma. The midfielder has been in high demand in recent weeks but Antonio Conte has made him a clear transfer priority and talks have been going on for some time. Now it appears that Chelsea, who had a £24million bid rebuffed earlier this month, may be willing to pay the £31million asking price in order to get the deal over the line before the start of the European Championships this summer. Nainggolan is a box-to-box midfielder that would probably act as Ramires’ replacement as the energetic Brazilian was not directly replaced after his January departure. Nainggolan’s arrival would push youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek further down the pecking order and perhaps convince him to consider his future at the club. Is signing another big name at the expense of a youngster the right answer again for Chelsea? I’m not so sure. Nainggolan is certainly a quality player, but for over £30million, when he is already 28 and you have youngsters coming through the academy, I’m not sure he is the best signing at the moment in time, although it could be argued that as he is older, it would allow for youngsters to get their chances sooner – but would they?

£100million Invested: Four Signings Antonio Conte Wants To Make As Chelsea Manager

Chelsea’s squad is set for a new look next summer and a new manager. With Antonio Conte all but confirmed as the new man in charge, we take a look at the four big name signings he reportedly wants to make. 

1) Leonardo Bonucci

With John Terry set to leave Chelsea in the summer, Conte’s first task will be to find a mature leader to marshal his defence. Few meet those requirements more aptly than Juventus defender Bonucci. Statistically Boncuci is behind both Terry and Cahill in terms of tackles won, blocks made and aerial duels won per 90 minutes. In fact he is only ahead of both players in terms of interceptions, making on average 2.57 per 90 minutes. Considering these stats and his potential price tag, is he the right man to bring in? However he is an experienced, strong and tall defender with over 55 caps for Italy and he is at the perfect age for a defender (28). Statistics can be warped because the players play in different environments. Conte knows a lot about Bonucci having worked with him most recently as the Italy manager, so if he believes he will be an improvement for Chelsea, then his judgement is likely to be a good one.