Tag Archives: Chelsea

Chelsea Expect £30m Asking-Price To Be Met As Atletico Become Desperate

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is making major changes to his Premier League champions this summer and a wealth of significant departures could occur in the coming weeks.

The Blues missed out on the services of striker Romelu Lukaku, who sealed a move from Everton to Manchester United, but have added Willy Caballero and Antonio Rudiger to their ranks ahead of a Premier League title defence.

Conte is still focused on getting further deals done, as he eyes a new striker and a midfielder, and his transfer kitty is likely to be bolstered by a sale of Diego Costa, who has been informed he’s surplus to requirements.

Atletico Madrid, despite their transfer ban that would leave any signings unable to feature until the new year, are keen to bring the striker back to the Spanish capital and The Guardian indicates Diego Simeone’s side are growing increasingly desperate.

That’s left Chelsea confident their asking-price of £30m will be met, with Atletico’s transfer plans falling apart.

What’s happened with Atletico?

Things started relatively positive for Atletico Madrid as they retained the services of Antoine Griezmann amidst interest from Manchester United, securing the Frenchman to a new contract, but their transfer ban was upheld- casting major problems for the club’s recruitment drive.

Initial agreements were in place to sign Alexandre Lacazette, Vitolo, Diego Costa and Sandro before their ban was confirmed to still be going ahead. Since then, Lacazette has joined Arsenal, Sandro has joined Everton and Vitolo is set to sign a new deal with Sevilla.

Simeone’s frustration means that Atletico don’t really have a strong bargaining position when it comes to negotiations with Chelsea and will probably have to pay whatever the Blues desire, although a £30m fee wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Spaniards.

Crystal Palace Poised To Land Chelsea Ace As De Boer’s First Signing

Crystal Palace are one of many Premier League side’s undergoing a major transition this summer and Dutch boss Frank De Boer is eager to make his mark with the Eagles, as he seeks the signature of an England U21 ace.

The Telegraph states the South London side are closing in on the signature of Chelsea midfielder Rubens Loftus-Cheek on a season-long loan deal, which would see the England U21 regular become De Boer’s first signing at Selhurst Park.

The 21-year-old has been a rare prodigy at Chelsea, standing as one of few young players who have remained in West London rather than going on-loan elsewhere but the opportunities having been forthcoming regularly for Loftus-Cheek.

Since making his debut in 2014, Loftus-Cheek has earned 22 Premier League appearances which, remarkably, is just five more than he’s made for England at U21 level- a stat which proves he’s been crying out for a loan move for a while.

What can Loftus-Cheek provide?

With Chelsea rebuffing the opportunity of sending Loftus-Cheek on-loan previously, it’s clear the Blues value the England ace highly and believe he can be a useful asset. However, he’s unlikely to make a breakthrough fully until he impresses elsewhere.

First-team football at Crystal Palace could bring the best out of Loftus-Cheek, helping Crystal Palace in their strive for improvements on the field and providing a deal that could be great for all parties- as Loftus-Cheek would get the opportunities he needs, the Eagles would get a solid addition and Chelsea would see a young asset develop in the Premier League.

His experience at U21 level for England should leave him ready to make a lasting impression in the Premier League and he could become a crucial asset for the Eagles next season, providing he settles into the challenges he’ll face swiftly.

Arsenal Set To Beat Rivals Chelsea To Russian Midfielder’s Signature

Arsenal are reportedly close to sealing the signing of Aleksander Golovin, beating London rivals Chelsea to the Russian’s signature, shortly after completing a record-breaking deal that sees Alexandre Lacazette move to the Emirates Stadium ahead of the new season. 

The news that the deal is close comes from scout Sandor Varga, who received a call from Arsene Wenger to see if he could go and watch Golovin play for Russia in a game against Mexico. The Arsenal boss could not be present himself, but had received positive feedback on numerous occasions from his other scouts. Varga had this to say on the subject of Golovin’s potential move to Arsenal, and the full comments can be found here.

“Arsene Wenger called me, asked me to watch Golovin again. He was going to come but his scout in Russia sent him 6-8 positive reports, so he asked me to watch him instead. Golovin has an interest for Arsenal, money is not a problem. I think Wenger will pay £10m – £15m for him.”

The positive reports that Wenger has received can only add substance to the fact that a deal could be close. If it is to go through, it would be Arsenal’s second signing in a matter of days after Alexandre Lacazette made the switch to North London in a deal that could be worth up to £52m.

The Russian made thirty appearances for CSKA Moscow last season, and despite playing over half of his games in an attacking midfield position, Golovin managed just three goals and four assists. If he is to be a success in the Premier League, his goal and assists return must improve. However, at just 21-years of age, there would seem to be plenty of potential to improve.

Golovin seems to be a versatile player. The 21-year-old can play anywhere in the midfield from defensive midfield to attacking midfield, and has also made a few appearances out on the left-wing for CSKA Moscow.

The potential signing would bring Arsenal’s total summer spend up to over £60m, with other deals potentially in the pipeline with rumours of Riyad Mahrez and Thomas Lemar moving to Arsenal over the next couple of months. Unlike previous transfer windows, Wenger does not appear to be messing around as he looks to mount a Premier League title challenge next season.

Chelsea on the other hand will be disappointed that they look like they will miss out on their latest target and are yet to make their first high profile signing of the summer transfer window. With rumours flying around that Nemanja Matic could switch Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford this summer, Chelsea could have done with reinforcements in the defensive midfield, with Golovin would have brought.

10 Stars Who Could Set A Transfer Record This Summer Ft. Man Utd, Arsenal & Chelsea Targets

The Premier League’s big spenders are set to do it all again this summer to bring some of the finest players to English football and strengthen their sides for the forthcoming campaign.

English football’s rise of TV revenue has lead to Premier League side’s paying a premium price on the transfer market and inflation over recent years has seen players cost more and more, with transfer records being set regularly.

Paul Pogba became the world’s first €100m player last year when he sealed a move from Juventus to Manchester United but his record is likely to be broken in the coming months, with audacious fees being mentioned- some in excess of £120m.

With the likelihood that records will be smashed this summer, we’ve identified ten players who could become the most expensive players in the history of world football in the coming  months if they secure a lucrative move- and it features a number of Premier League targets.

Kylian Mbappe (Monaco)

The hottest name in world football right now, teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe has been linked with a host of Europe’s top-sides this summer, including Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but Monaco are determined to keep hold of his services.

Mbappe’s ability and the fact Monaco don’t want to sell means his price-tag will be driven higher and higher, with reports already indicating a deal could cost in excess of £120m- a sensational figure for this year’s breakthrough star.

Chelsea Eyeing Four Stars In Incredible £240m Spending Spree

Chelsea have been relatively quiet in the few months since the Premier League campaign drew to a close but it appears Antonio Conte is ready to make big waves on the market in the coming weeks.

The majority of transfer reports regarding the Blues so far this month have orientated around potential departures, with Nemanja Matic said to be closing in on a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United whilst Diego Costa has been informed he’s surplus to requirements.

That leaves Chelsea under pressure to bolster their ranks, as Conte’s side lacks significant depth and will be tested by a return to Champions League football next season- but the Italian is ready to spend big and improve his side.

The Daily Express reports Conte is eyeing quality over quantity and is ready to splash an incredible £240m in the transfer market over the course of the next few months, with numerous deals likely to surpass the club-record £50m Chelsea paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres.

Additions are set to be made from front to back, leaving Chelsea with a phenomenal side that’s certainly capable of defending their Premier League crown next season.

Who’s being targeted?

The reports state that Alex Sandro is closing in on a £61m transfer from Juventus, adding depth to Chelsea’s defensive ranks, whilst Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is set to join the Brazilian at Stamford Bridge.

Those stellar additions would slot straight into the first-team and another defensive signing is being eyed in the form of Virgil Van Dijk, who is another player likely to surpass Chelsea’s current transfer record if a deal goes ahead.

Conte’s final target is Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, with a £70m deal said to be on the table, but the Toffees could demand a further £10m to see a deal go ahead- which would put the Belgian up there with the most expensive players in the history of world football.

How would Chelsea line-up?

These four huge additions would likely come straight into Chelsea’s starting XI, leading to a number of changes from the side that stormed to Premier League success last season- with the most notable additions coming at the back.

Signing Sandro would likely replace Marcos Alonso on the left-side, with Van Dijk’s addition in the centre allowing Cesar Azpilicueta the opportunity to return to his more natural position on the right-side of defence.

Bakayoko would join N’Golo Kante in the centre of midfield, handing the two-time Premier League champion the midfield partner he lacked in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, whilst Lukaku would replace Diego Costa up-front.

All-Time Premier League Most Expensive XI Ft. Man Utd & Chelsea

The Premier League has become the home of the most expensive transfer additions in recent years, with billions being splashed out to bring the finest talents to English football.

Despite this, English sides have failed to kick-on in their quest to conquer European football and have fallen behind the likes of Spain, Italy, Germany and even France in the race for the Champions League trophy.

The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City will be looking to change that next season though when they return to European action and the Premier League will boast five clubs in Europe’s elite competition, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur also in the running.

Spectacular fees are likely to be spent once again this summer, potentially setting world records, but we’ve moved to assemble the most expensive XI in Premier League history so far- in a set-up that’s dominated by both Manchester clubs and Chelsea.

Before we start, it’s worth noting that all fees and records are correct as of 26th June 2017 and all figures were taken from TransferMarkt.

GK: Ederson (£34m)

Signed by Manchester City from Portuguese outfit Benfica this month, the £34m price-tag for Ederson easily surpassed the previous record-figure paid by a Premier League side for a goalkeeper and was narrowly ahead of the £30m fee Everton paid for Jordan Pickford two-weeks later.

The 23-year-old Brazilian is set to become City’s first-choice goalkeeper for the forthcoming campaign after last summer’s acquisition of Claudio Bravo proved to be a failure, as the Chilean failed to live-up to expectation and endured plenty of troubles.

Chelsea continue to be linked to Premier League star, he might not be worth it

Chelsea seem set on improving their attacking lines this summer as Diego Costa continues to be linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, whilst Michy Batshuayi has endured a difficult maiden campaign in the Premier League.

With Belgian youngster Batshuayi linked with a loan move away from the Blues, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for Chelsea to enter next season without both strikers- and that increases the necessity for the Blues to spend in this area.

Of the names to be linked with a move to Chelsea, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku is a player who is consistently mentioned- but there are concerns as to whether the Belgian would be able to excel on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku seems keen on a move, as he feels he has unfinished business at Chelsea, but he may not be the ideal fit- despite boasting an impressive return of 52 goals in 109 Premier League appearances since moving to the Toffees.

It’s a fierce debate as to whether Lukaku would be the right fit at Chelsea, so we asked our team their views- and it’s fair to say the opinion was split.

Sam Cox (@SamRCox_)

If Chelsea had Romelu Lukaku instead of Diego Costa this season they would not have won the league. Costa’s spats with officials and defenders are the street-fighter side of his game, but the former Atleti man has led Chelsea’s line through timely goals, smart movement and constantly occupying opposition defenders.

Costa’s post-rumour form has been indifferent, yet signing Lukaku alone would leave Chelsea’s attacking options looking weaker. Lukaku’s streaky goal scoring would be an issue at Chelsea and the Belgian’s price tag must make Chelsea consider their other options this summer.

He could be a brilliant signing longer-term, but as a direct replacement for Costa for next season it is a risk.

Shane Burns (@MediaShaneBurns)

Lukaku’s form this season cannot be understated, however, question marks remain whether he can achieve a similar vein of form at a massive club. Ultimately his career at Stamford Bridge was a flop – the majority of which was through no fault of his own – however, replacing Diego Costa is another story.

The Spaniard has his faults, but it must be remembered he has guided Chelsea to two titles in three years – and one with Atletico Madrid before his move to West London. So to conclude, Lukaku isn’t ready just yet.

Josh Challies (@Challies11)

There’s no doubt Romelu Lukaku has excelled at Everton and deserves his chance at a bigger side. However, he does seem a bit short of taking the mantle as a leading player for a Premier League side as his consistency is an issue.

Whilst he usually finishes the season with a decent amount of goals, these usually come in quick flurries of form with two-to-four goals a match amidst large periods of finding the net- and many have accused him of simply performing against the smaller clubs.

There’s certainly some truth to that claim but if there’s anyone who can help Lukaku fill his true potential it’s Antonio Conte, as he’s got the best out of a Chelsea side this season that many considered to be quite weak.

Tom Scholes (@TomScholes316)

All signs are pointing towards a return to Stamford Bridge for Romelu Lukaku, and on paper it seems like the perfect move. With the Belgian coming off of a fantastic season on Merseyside with Everton, he would be the ideal replacement for Diego Costa. His power and finishing is what Conte likes in his team, and with Pedro and Hazard on either side of him, the service into Lukaku would be plentiful.

He has all the traits to make the Blues forget about Costa, who has been a good player for Chelsea, but has always flattered to deceive at times. Costa is a very patchy player and Lukaku would add a certain level of consistency to really take Chelsea to the highest level.  

Liverpool & Man United In Surprise Battle To Sign World Cup Winner

Manchester United and Liverpool are both being linked with a surprise name ahead of the summer transfer window, as both Premier League sides eye recruits to improve their chances of success next season.

The Reds are on-course for a return to the Champions League next year and could be joined in the competition by arch-rivals Manchester United, who have two possible avenues to qualification as they continue to battle for success in the Europa League.

Having fallen short of battling Chelsea for the Premier League title this season though, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho are both expected to splash the cash heavily this summer in order to build a side capable of battling on all fronts- and that’s led to surprise links.

The Daily Star states that Liverpool have joined United in the battle for Chelsea’s World Cup winning midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who is linked with an exit from Stamford Bridge three-years after returning to English football from Barcelona.

Fabregas has been a bit-part member of Antonio Conte’s side this season and is expected to move on in the summer, particularly amidst rumours that Chelsea’s Italian boss is looking to strengthen his midfield depth with new recruits.

Would Chelsea sell?

The biggest question concerning the links between Fabregas and both Premier League sides is whether Chelsea would approve a sale to direct rivals, as the Spaniard is still one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and a decision to offload him could come back to haunt Chelsea.

Chelsea want to recoup the majority of the £27m they paid for Fabregas, who turns 30 tomorrow, and that fee is affordable for both Premier League sides. However, it’s difficult to imagine Roman Abramovich sanctioning such a big sale to a rival club.

Conte’s side would certainly prefer to sell abroad but they may have difficulty doing so, as it’s unlikely Fabregas would return to Spain after a disappointing few years with Barcelona and has limited suitors elsewhere.

What about Italy?

Both AC Milan and Inter Milan have long been linked with Fabregas’ signature and the two San Siro sides have cash to spend this summer following their recent takeovers. However, The London Evening Standard reports he’s not interested in moving to Italy.

Fabregas is likely to seek opportunities in the Champions League as he looks to establish himself in the pecking order for Julen Lopetgui’s Spain squad for the World Cup next summer and neither Inter or their cross-city rivals will be able to offer that opportunity.

That means Fabregas is likely to reject any offers from China, should they emerge, and he’ll prefer a stay in the Premier League- which could lead United or Liverpool to have to pay over the odds to sign the experienced Spaniard.

Revealed: Chelsea Turned Down Chance To Sign European Starlet In Bargain Deal

Chelsea have enjoyed a fantastic campaign under Antonio Conte but criticisms still remain at the West London outfit’s use of youngsters, as they have an abundance of players waiting for their opportunity behind the scenes.

The Blues have remarkably failed to see an academy graduate become a first-team regular at the club since John Terry, who is approaching the end of his career at Stamford Bridge, and it’s difficult to judge where the next Chelsea-developed hero will emerge from.

Sensationally, it’s now emerged that Chelsea turned down the opportunity to sign Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe four years ago for just £17k, The Daily Mirror reports, instead promoting Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke through the youth ranks.

The decision not to sign the now 18-year-old rated at three-figures seems incredibly wrong, especially as neither Solanke or Abraham have been handed a genuine chance to excel in the first-team.

Where are Solanke & Abraham?

Tammy Abraham has excelled on-loan with Championship outfit Bristol City this season, scoring 23 goals, the second-highest in the division, to help the Robins fend off the threat of relegation and he’s due to return to Stamford Bridge this summer.

Dominic Solanke, meanwhile, spent last season on-loan at Vitesse Arnheim but remained at Stamford Bridgee this season, although he’s set to leave in the summer after being frozen out of the first-team fold following a breakdown in contract talks.

Solanke, 19, made his Blues debut in the Champions League back in 2014 but has not featured for the first-team since. Abraham, meanwhile, made two substitute appearances in the Premier League last season prior to his loan move in the summer.

Would Mbappe have made it?

Whilst Mbappe is widely regarded to be the hottest prospect in European football right now, it’s debatable as to whether he would have had an opening at Chelsea. Given the Blues track record, it’s likely that the Frenchman would be far from where he is now.

As Mbappe prepares for the Champions League semi-final with Juventus tonight and eyes a spot in France’s World Cup squad next summer, it’s clear the teenager has benefitted from the sequence of events four years ago that led Chelsea not to land his services.

Even if Chelsea were to put up the funds to sign Mbappe this summer, it’s difficult to see how he would be managed in West London- especially due to the mishandling of last season’s Ligue 1 breakthrough star Michy Batshuayi.

Analysis: Would Alvaro Morata Be An Improvement On Diego Costa?

Chelsea will certainly need a striker in the summer if Diego Costa leaves. The Spaniard has refused to rule out a move to China, whilst their remains interest from former club Atletico Madrid. It did seem back in January that Costa would move on as there appeared to be a rift between the manager and himself.

Whilst his goal scoring form has faded since the turn of the year, Costa has still managed to score 19 league goals and in my opinion, when he is focused he is the best center forward in the Premier League. The question is, is he focused now? For me it appears he might already be angling for a move away in the summer.

Chelsea will face a very tough task in replacing Costa though, I recently looked at 3 possible alternatives to Romelu Lukaku they could sign.  One player that continues to be strongly linked is Costa’s international compatriot Alvaro Morata, who continues to struggle for regular game time at Real Madrid. If he can’t get that though, the question is, is he good enough to spearhead a Chelsea attack that will not only be looking to win the Premier League, but also compete in the Champions League?

Chelsea have already secured Champions League football and look the most likely to win the league, could Costa finish at the league’s top scorer and increase his value? Compare free bets and make the most of the Premier League title run in.

Morata physically looks well built for the Premier League. He’s strong and can bring others into play, something Costa also does for his teammates. But is Morata as deadly in front of goal? Considering he has only been given 15 starts (and 19 sub apps), Morata boasts a pretty impressive return of 18 goals this season. It’s worth considering that in La Liga there is the potential to ‘pad’ your stats against the lowly sides, but Morata has always had a reputation of turning up in the big games, and he has shown that at Madrid and Juventus previously. He’s also picked up 5 assists during his limited game time.

Morata has always been a player rated highly wherever he has been and that is telling. Something he has lacked in recent years is a killer instinct in front of goal but now 24, he is coming of age and becoming more prolific in front of goal.

It looks like Lukaku and Morata are the two front runners to replace Costa should he leave. Chelsea fans, who would you prefer? For me, Morata could be a shrewder purchase and he’d probably be a fair bit cheaper than Romelu, with Everton reportedly asking for £100million to sell him. A bid of half that amount would surely be enough to persuade Madrid to part with their second choice striker, especially with the Spanish giants seemingly looking to fund a major move for Monaco forward Kylain Mbappe.

4 New Signings: The Potential Chelsea XI To Conquer Europe Next Year

Chelsea have enjoyed a fantastic season this term but Antonio Conte’s side face a challenge in the summer to bolster their ranks and prepare for a return to the Champions League next season.

In truth, Chelsea’s squad depth is fairly lacklustre across the board and injury problems this term could have created havoc, had they occurred. Therefore, it would be unwise to run the same risks next season by failing to strengthen.

Whilst Chelsea have been defensively solid and impressive in attack, it turns out that those areas are where the Blues are keen to strengthen most this summer- with star striker Diego Costa looking inevitable to leave, whilst veteran skipper John Terry is also on his way out.

Conte has identified targets already though and these four signings could leave the Blues boasting an exceptional side, as shown by this incredible line-up.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea’s goalkeeper is widely regarded to be one of the best in the world and the Blues will face a battle to retain his services in the summer, with Spanish giants Real Madrid reportedly eyeing the Belgian as an alternative to long-term target David De Gea.

Courtois seems loyal to Chelsea though and the Blues would command an audacious fee for any move to materialise, so it seems highly likely that the goalkeeper will remain at Stamford Bridge for the forthcoming Premier League campaign.

European giant hand Chelsea boost by ending interest in star-man

Chelsea’s fantastic season is at risk of being handed a blow this summer, should star players decide to leave Stamford Bridge this summer in search of new challenges abroad.

One of the big names regularly linked with an exit this season has been that of Eden Hazard, who has been linked with a big-money move to Real Madrid. With Zinedine Zidane a keen admirer, and Hazard seeing the Frenchman as an icon, it’s easy to see why it would appeal to the Belgian ace.

However, The Sun now claims that Real Madrid have ended their interest in Eden Hazard as they will instead focus their attention of developing the talents of young Marco Asensio- who has exploded onto the scene this season.

Instead of spending what could end-up being a three-figure sum on Hazard, Real Madrid’s development of Asensio, who cost them just £3.5m, would see Los Blancos boast a new homegrown hero amongst their ranks.

Could it still happen?

As with any transfer report, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. Whilst Real Madrid may want to develop Asensio, turning down any opportunity to sign Eden Hazard wouldn’t be wise- especially in the coming years as Cristiano Ronaldo approaches the end of his career.

Real Madrid have established themselves as a club who boast some of the best players in the world and missing out on the likes of Paul Pogba and then potentially Hazard and Antoine Griezmann could really cause issues in their fanbase.

On a personal level for Hazard, moving to a club that have won two Champions League finals in three years would be understandable as Chelsea are unlikely to challenge for Europe’s elite crown anytime soon.

Is Asensio the real deal?

Simply put, yes. The 21-year-old has impressed at the Santiago Bernabeu following spells with Mallorca and Espanyol, scoring four goals in 18 La Liga appearances. Here’s also impressed in the Champions League, scoring two goals in five appearances- including a strike against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

He’s now made his international debut for the Spanish national team and is one of the youngsters to watch at the World Cup next summer, where he could make his full emergence onto the world stage.

Alternative Premier League Team Of The Year Ft. Alderweireld, Alexis & More

The PFA Team of the Year was announced this morning and it’s fair to say the majority of people were underwhelmed by the selections, with the announcement going down like a lead balloon.

Naturally, the team was dominated by players from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, who currently sit in the top-two positions in the Premier League, but both sides can feel aggrieved by certain members of their team that missed out.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Manchester City fans will also share their frustrations, as they’ve had star performers overlook in favour of some rather questionable choices from the PFA.

Here at FreshFootball, we’ve also been left underwhelmed by the selections (seriously, Sadio Mane) and rather than discuss who should be in or out of the side, we’ve elected to select an entirely new team altogether.

Have we missed anyone out? Let us know in the comments below!

GK: Hugo Lloris

Spurs’ number one has been an ever-present figure this season between the sticks for the most resilient defence in the Premier League, with the Lilywhites conceding just 22 goals so far- significantly lower than anyone else.

Whilst David De Gea at Manchester United has been similarly impressive, and being selected in the PFA Team of the Year as a result, overlooking the goalkeeper for the league’s best defence is a decision that doesn’t really add up.

3 Key Battles That Will Decide The Result Of Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Is this the biggest game of the season for both clubs? If Chelsea win, the title will surely be theirs, if United win, their bid for the top four will look strong. Mourinho cannot afford another embarrassment against his old club, we take a look at 3 key battles that will decide the winner of this game. 

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

1 – Antonio Valencia vs. Eden Hazard

Valencia has arguably been the best right back in the league this season, but on Sunday he will come up against a hugely talented Eden Hazard, and he doesn’t have to defend against this calibre of player very often.

Hazard is in the mood this season and has been a vital part of a Chelsea team that is close to winning the Premier League. Another big performance from Hazard could potentially win Chelsea the title on Sunday. If Conte’s men take three points at Old Trafford, they can surely be considered the Champions – they will have passed nearly every test. For Chelsea to get the three points, Hazard needs to be at his best. At the same time for United to get anything from the game, Valencia needs to show why he is being touted as the best in the league – and stop Hazard from performing.

De Gea & Lingard In: The Man United XI To Beat Chelsea On Sunday

Manchester United face a huge battle to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and they need a victory against Chelsea to boost their chances. Fortunately, they have a strong squad and this side should be good enough to take all three points.

GK: David De Gea

Widely considered to be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, David De Gea has been an ever-present figure in a Manchester United side that have conceded just 24 goals during their league campaign- a number only Tottenham Hotspur can better.

Absent last week through injury, although some reports have indicated Jose Mourinho kept him out of action for other reasons, the Spaniard will return to the Manchester United line-up for Saturday’s crucial clash with Chelsea and he’ll have to be at his best.

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

Fabregas In, Matic Out: The Chelsea XI To Dent Man United’s Champions League Hopes

Chelsea are on-course for Premier League glory but can hand a huge blow to rivals Manchester United this weekend with a victory. Here, we’ve selected the team Antonio Conte should select to win the match.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea’s Belgian stopper has been a mainstay in Antonio Conte’s side throughout the season, starting all 31 Premier League fixtures for the Blues. During that time, Chelsea have kept 13 clean sheets- the highest amount in the division.

The Blues have also conceded just 25 goals in the Premier League, a number only Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United can better, and Courtois has been vastly important to Chelsea’s solid defensive structure.

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

Chelsea On-Verge Of Securing Major Summer Signing

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is not resting on his laurels this summer and is expected to go big in the transfer market to help establish the Blues as contenders for Champions League glory.

Whilst his West London side have stood as the frontrunners in the Premier League title chase throughout the season, and look set to win their second league trophy in three years, the squad at Conte’s disposal does need improving in particular areas.

Conte is determined to boost his options in attack, with Diego Costa struggling for form since the new year and facing question marks on his own future, and it seems a major deal is edging towards completion- and it could be a club-record deal.

Quoted by MetroItalian journalist Massimo Marianello told Sky Italia that Romelu Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge is almost complete.

What was said?

‘I think many big players will join Chelsea in the summer as Conte wants the Blues to become credible contenders for the Champions League win,’

‘I can say Lukaku’s Chelsea move is almost done deal and reports in England claim Alexis Sanchez will also play for Chelsea next season. Many other players could also arrive [at Chelsea].’

Will it happen?

Romelu Lukaku made it clear he would not extend his deal at Goodison Park but he has spoken recently about his desire to make history with the Toffees. However, the Belgian is unlikely to stay if a lucrative offer comes in.

Everton, for there part, don’t want to sell but a reported price-tag of around £70m would be extremely difficult to turn down and would allow Ronald Koeman to have plenty of room to recruit in the transfer market.

Incidentally, a figure that high would also set a club-record fee for Chelsea, surpassing the £50m they paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres, and would stand as one of the highest fees in Premier League history- although still a way off the £89m Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba.

Chelsea Identify Two Summer Targets To Replace Victor Moses

Chelsea have stormed through the Premier League campaign this season but Antonio Conte is set to make significant changes in the summer transfer window to bolster his squad ahead of their return to the Champions League.

One area the Blues are focusing on strengthening is at right-back, with The Daily Mirror stating Conte’s side have identified two prime-targets to bolster the squad; Atalanta’s Andrea Conti and Hoffenheim’s Jeremy Toljan.

Chelsea scouts have watched the pair recently, keeping tabs on Conti during Atalanta’s 5-0 victory over Genoa at the weekend, where he scored the opening goal, whilst German U21 international Toljan was watched against England and Portugal during the international break.

Conte has eyed Toljan since his days as Juventus manager and Conti has risen up his wish-list with his performances this season.

Who’s more likely to move?

Both Toljan and Conti could be on the market this summer as they seek to give themselves a chance of featuring for Italy and Germany respectively at the World Cup next summer but the signature of Conti from Atalanta could be easier to secure.

Sat third in the Bundesliga standing, eight points above fifth-place, Hoffenheim are on-course for Champions League football next season and Toljan, who has risen through the youth ranks at the club, may be keen to be a part of that historic campaign.

The German outlet have never played in Europe, having only secured a place in the Bundesliga in 2008, so the youngster is set to achieve something that the squad has never accomplished before.

Atalanta, meanwhile, sit fifth in Serie A but are six points behind Napoli and the Champions League places. Europa League football for the club is a great achievement but the prospect of playing in Europe’s elite tier with Chelsea could be too difficult to turn down.

How much would they cost?

TransferMarkt values Andrea Conti at around £5.1m, whilst Toljan is valued at the low price of £2.98m. However, Chelsea would have to pay well over those figures to secure either player as the selling club holds a strong negotiating position.

Conti is tied down with Atalanta until 2021 but Toljan’s contract is due to expire in 2018, which means Chelsea could swoop and secure the player for a smaller fee this summer. As mentioned though, he may opt to extend his deal and stay with Hoffenheim for their upcoming Champions League adventure.

Batshuayi in, Costa out: The Chelsea XI To Beat Man City On Wednesday

Chelsea surge towards Premier League glory was halted by Crystal Palace at the weekend and there’s a real danger that they could concede their advantage in the league standings over the coming weeks.

The Blues hold a seven point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur heading into the midweek Premier League fixtures and that could be cut to just four points by the end of play tomorrow, should Chelsea lose to Manchester City and Spurs beat Swansea.

Antonio Conte’s side need to treat the defeat to Crystal Palace as a wake-up call and make sufficient alterations to their side as a result, to ensure the squad is kept fresh and, crucially, doesn’t get complacent as we approach the latter end of the season.

With a few tweaks to the side that lost to Palace at the weekend, Chelsea can return to winning ways against Pep Guardiola’s side. Here, we’ve selected the ideal XI to tackle the Citizens.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

The Belgian goalkeeper has been an ever-present figure for the Blues this season, playing all 29 games of the Blues charge to the top of the Premier League. During that time, he’s conceded just 23 goals- a number only Tottenham Hotspur (21) can better.

With 13 clean-sheets, the highest in the league, Courtois has been an important member of a Chelsea defence that has been extremely difficult to break down. They’ll need him to be at his best against Manchester City, who have scored 56 goals this season.

Report: Chelsea Open Talks To Sign Arsenal Player

Arsenal face a difficult summer ahead of them as the Gunners risk missing out on Champions League football, whilst there could also be a wealth of departures from the first-team.

Amongst the stars tipped to move away from the Emirates Stadium this summer is two-time Copa America winner Alexis Sanchez, who is rapidly approaching the final 12 months of his contract with the Gunners and seems increasingly unlikely to pen a new deal.

His situation has attracted a wealth of interest in his services and French outlet RMC Sport has stated Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have opened negotiations with the Chilean, whilst The Daily Telegraph adds Alexis would prefer a move to Stamford Bridge.

Naturally, Arsenal would prefer not to sell to a Premier League rival but Alexis’ contract situation does not put them in a strong bargaining position and any reluctance to sell could leave the door open for the 28-year-old to leave on a free transfer next summer.

Who leads the battle?

As mentioned, Chelsea are keen to bring Alexis Sanchez across London and the Chilean prefers a move to Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues’ strong rivalry with Arsenal makes a deal unlikely- and the same can be said for Manchester City.

In Europe, the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have been linked with the Chilean’s signature, whilst there has also been a mention of interest from Sevilla, but Alexis’ likely demands for Champions League football could rule Inter out of the race.

That would leave Juventus and PSG as the big-hitters for Alexis’ signature and a move to the French capital would seem more likely, as the oil-rich club have far more weight to throw about in the transfer market than their Turin counterparts.

Is there any chance of Alexis staying?

Alexis Sanchez could still stay at Arsenal but his decision is unlikely to come down to money and will instead to built around what he believes he can achieve with a transfer. If he were to stay in North London, Arsenal would need to show significant improvements.

Finishing the season strongly would be unlikely to be enough to convince Alexis to stay and they’d have to show the Chilean they’re determined to turn things around- which could involve a major squad overhaul, replacing Arsene Wenger or going all-out in the transfer market.

Arsenal spent over £110m last summer but don’t have too much to show for it performance wise, so any persuasion on the transfer front would likely come from the calibre of players signed rather than the money spent.

‘Taking His Place For Granted’ Chelsea Fans Urge Conte To Drop Misfiring Player

Chelsea’s assault on the Premier League title suffered a major blow this weekend, as a shock defeat to Crystal Palace opened the door for a late charge from their rivals.

The Blues 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge to Palace, accompanied by Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 victory over Burnley, saw the Lilywhites cut the deficit to seven points and Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be hopeful of a late push towards the title.

Chelsea still boast a comfortable advantage but face a huge test in midweek against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, where defeat could open the door for Spurs to cut the deficit to just four points- and spark a major tussle at the end of the campaign.

The Blues may consider the defeat against Crystal Palace to be a wake-up call and fans on social media are calling for a big change this week, as they’re desperate to see misfiring striker Diego Costa dropped amidst his poor form.

Costa has struggled since having his head turned from interest in China during the January transfer window and his decline of form in front of goal has raised question marks as to whether the title race is really over.

With so much to lose, Costa’s form is a problem and many fans want him to be taught a lesson by being dropped in the coming weeks.

Unstoppable? A Look At How Chelsea Could Line-Up Next Season With Alexis Sanchez

Chelsea are already the Champions elect this season, but the news of what they might be about to do in the transfer market will have their Premier League rivals scared. 

Conte has already assembled a brilliant first XI and it looks as if he is going to strengthen it further with some key summer signings. Here’s a look at how his side could line up next season.

GK – Thibaut Courtois

It goes without saying that Chelsea do not need to replace Courtois between the sticks. With interest from the likes of Real Madrid, they may have to ensure that the Belgian international is not tempted by a move elsewhere this summer, but should Conte make Chelsea Premier League winners again, why would he want to be anywhere else?

Chelsea Set To Make Decision On Pair Ahead Of £70m Swoop

Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but Antonio Conte is ready to shuffle his deck during the summer window to ensure his side remain competitive next term.

With Diego Costa’s future remaining under scrutiny, Antonio Conte is likely to enter the transfer market for a new striker as the Blues could lose the services of their Spanish forward, whilst Michy Batshuayi has failed to impress following his move from Marseille last summer.

The Sun states Chelsea are prepared to splash as much as £70m on a new striker but are debating whether to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge or push to land Alvaro Morata’s signature, with the Spaniard frustrated with a lack of game time with Real Madrid.

Belgian ace Lukaku has refused to pen an extended deal with Everton and is expected to be a big mover this summer, whilst Morata is also likely to be on the market after failing to establish himself in Zinedine Zidane’s plans following his return to Madrid from Juventus last summer.

Who’d be the better fit?

With Romelu Lukaku already well established in the Premier League and having previous links to Chelsea, the Belgian striker could be the perfect fit into Antonio Conte’s side and his physical presence is comparable to that of Diego Costa.

However, Alvaro Morata would likely be significantly less expensive and is keen to prove himself ahead of the World Cup next summer. Taking that into consideration, many may feel that the Spaniard presents the best solution for Chelsea.

Signing Lukaku would be a real statement of intent from the Blues though, as they’d have to spend a club-record on their former striker, and it would show they’re happy to go toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs in the transfer market.

Which deal is more likely?

Whilst Romelu Lukaku is pushing for an exit from Goodison Park, Everton have a decent standing in negotiations as the Belgian striker is still penned down to a contract and boss Ronald Koeman is keen to dig his heels in and prevent a summer sale.

Pushing for Lukaku’s signature will likely be a long, drawn out process and Chelsea may prefer to swoop for Morata, as a deal for the Spaniard would be easier to complete. However, negotiating with Real Madrid could result in Los Blancos pushing to land the links of Thibaut Courtois or Eden Hazard in return.

All in all, there’s no simple solution to Chelsea’s search for a new striker but they’re likely to have cash in hand to spend, as Costa is expected to seal a lucrative transfer away from Stamford Bridge and that sale will boost Conte’s spending money.

Analysis: Chelsea Set To Offer Key Man In Deal For Ligue 1 Target

Chelsea have stormed to Premier League success this season but Antonio Conte will have work to do in the summer, with the Italian boss being aware the challenges next season will be significantly harder.

The Blues have no doubt benefitted from a lack of European involvement this season and their return to the Champions League next season will give Conte’s squad plenty to do, as they seek to remain competitive across all fronts.

Movement on the transfer market will take place and Italian outlet TuttoSport suggests the Blues will look to use Diego Costa’s uncertain future at Stamford Bridge to their advantage, by offering the Spanish striker as make-weight in a deal for Paris Saint-Germain’s Javier Pastore.

27-year-old Pastore is a target for Conte in the summer and Costa, who pushed for a return to Atletico Madrid last summer and attracted vast interest from China in January, could be sacrificed to make a deal happen.

What would Pastore give Chelsea?

Chelsea’s side this season has been near-perfect in their push for Premier League glory but on paper the squad needs improving significantly, especially if they’re to go toe-to-toe with the big guns in the Champions League next season.

Pastore would likely partner N’Golo Kante in the middle of the park at Stamford Bridge, in front of Conte’s preferred three-man defence and with wing-backs supporting on either side. Pastore would add creativity to Chelsea’s deep midfield pair, without sacrificing the blanket offered to the defence.

In a 3-4-3 system, Pastore would become a crucial player for the Blues and a potential midfield partnership with Kante would give Conte’s men a real platform for success.

Will Costa leave this summer?

The likelihood is that Diego Costa will end his stay with the Blues at the end of the season, following two seasons shrouded with controversy. Last year, before Jose Mourinho lost his job, Costa struggled to perform to the required standard and only upped his performance levels at the back-end of the season.

This year, the Spaniard has returned to his best in front of goal but has hit a decline in form following a very public clash with Conte in January, which came after the former Atletico Madrid man had his head turned by interest from the Chinese Super League.

Chelsea will want a player that’s committed to their cause and pushed to sign Celtic ace Moussa Dembele in January, with the Blues likely to revive that interest at the end of the season.

Chelsea look to keep star-man with record-breaking new contract

Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but face a fight to keep their star-men this summer, as Europe’s elite look to make a move in the transfer target.

Real Madrid continue to eye the services of Belgian ace Eden Hazard but The Sun states Chelsea are ready to fend-off the interest of the Spanish giants by handing their star-man a contract worth £300k-a-week; which would make Hazard the highest paid player in the Premier League.

Talks of a renewal were set to start at the end of the season but, given Real Madrid’s growing interest, the Blues have brought forward discussions as they aim to prevent Los Blancos from sealing a major transfer this summer.

Zinedine Zidane has been very public with his admiration for Hazard and many feel he’s the perfect long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has limited years left at the top of European football. Naturally though, Chelsea are desperate to keep him.

How important is Hazard?

Eden Hazard’s performances over the past three seasons for Chelsea have been mixed, as he was a key-part of their title-winning success under Jose Mourinho but performed poorly last term. This season though, Hazard is back to his best and is again proving to be a huge catalyst for the Blues’ success.

Keeping Hazard is crucial for the side’s set up but the most important factor is the message that it would send to their rivals, as it would show the Blues are capable of going toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs to boast the best names.

By handing Hazard a Premier League record-deal, Chelsea would show their willingness to fight and match the spending from Manchester United and Manchester City. If he was to leave, Chelsea would find it hard to replace him and it would also issue a negative message.

Is Hazard worth it?

Hazard’s performances for Chelsea have made him a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge but many do expect more from him and the Belgian can expect to receive further scrutiny if he was to command this record-breaking deal; as we’ve seen with Paul Pogba this season.

To be classed in the same calibre as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard will need to find consistency and perform domestically as well as on the continent. Having only just turned 26 though, there’s plenty of time for him to adjust.

Securing this deal would allow Antonio Conte to continue building a side around the Belgian, which is likely to include the arrival of a new striker this summer as question-marks on the future of Diego Costa consider to be raised.

Chelsea Striker Discusses Potential Transfer, Names Surprise Destination

Chelsea could face losing some key-players this summer despite a season of success under Antonio Conte and one player has discussed a surprising move.

French outlet Telefoot quote Chelsea striker Diego Costa as being open to a move to France, as he praised the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Marseille.

The Spaniard’s name has regularly flooded the media throughout the past year, as he was heavily linked with a return to Atletico Madrid last summer and attracted the interest of the Chinese Super League during the mid-season window.

As the current campaign rapidly approaches it’s conclusion, with Chelsea set for Premier League success and pushing for glory in the FA Cup too, fans will be starting to get concerned about the futures of some players and Costa seems to be edging closer to an exit every day.

What was said?

It’s true that Marseille has a great project and is growing upI’m very happy with Chelsea, but in football everything can happen, and if we have to change, France is a place where I’ve never been to I never played, so why not.”

“The PSG, everyone knows that it is a respected team in Europe. Monaco also has a great project and great players.

Will he move?

One thing that’s for certain is that Diego Costa’s name will be mentioned with a transfer this summer and Chelsea could approve a departure for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’d be able to replace the Spaniard and, perhaps more significantly, they’re probably fed up with hearing him discuss a transfer.

Costa admitted he tried to secure a move to Atletico Madrid last summer and the January fiasco surrounding interest from China left an unsavoury taste in the mouths of many. Whilst the bridge with Antonio Conte has been fixed, there is parts that may be irreparable.

Amidst all the uncertainty though, it’s difficult to see Costa moving to France and China is still his most likely destination- especially as his standing with the Spanish national side isn’t too strong, which means he isn’t guaranteed football at the World Cup next summer.

Should Chelsea Consider This Swap Deal For Eden Hazard?

Spanish giants Real Madrid are keen to sign Eden Hazard from Chelsea this summer and could be prepared to offer a stunning swap deal.

The Daily Mail, citing claims from Spanish outlet Marca, claim that the Belgian star has held ‘positive’ discussions with Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead of a potential move at the end of the season- with Los Blancos being long-term admirers of Chelsea’s attacking wizard.

However, Chelsea are keen to ensure they do not come out of a deal empty-handed and are looking to exploit the situation to land Colombian ace James Rodriguez in return- who’s set for an exit this summer after struggling to make a regular stake for first-team football over the last three-years.

A deal could end working out well for all parties but fans may be concerned about a potential swap deal, as they’ll question whether James would fill the void left by Hazard.

How to they compare?

Hazard has played significantly more football to James this season, with Squawka showing the Belgian has played 2155 minutes compared to James’ 683, but there has been enough in the Colombian’s performance to suggest he’d be a decent asset to Chelsea’s ranks.

James boasts 87% passing accuracy this season, compared to Hazard’s 84%, and has contributed with five assists in 14 games- whilst Hazard boasts four assists in 24 matches. In front of goal though, Hazard has a significant advantage of 11 goals compared to James’ two.

All in all, James has been a direct part of seven goals in 14 appearances whilst Hazard has been involved in 15 in 24 matches- meaning both have been impressive this season and it shows that James could be able to fill Hazard’s void.

Would James fit in?

Perhaps the most pressing concern would be whether James Rodriguez fits into Antonio Conte’s set-up at Stamford Bridge as, whilst capable of playing out wide, the South American asset is most effective playing just behind the striker.

In conte’s 3-4-3 set-up in West London, there isn’t really a central role where James could slot into the side and the Colombian would have to play out wide- where he’d slot into Hazard’s vacant position, should he seal a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Therefore, Chelsea may find it better to pursue an alternative target to James as they’d be able to get a quality wide-man with the figure they would receive for Hazard’s services and James himself would probably be better off moving elsewhere.

Fans React As Chelsea ‘Agree’ €40million Deal To Sign Quality Midfielder

Chelsea have reportedly agreed a £35million deal to bring 22-year-old Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko to the club in the summer and Chelsea fans are reacting on social media to the news

Bakayoko has been one of many impressive players in the Monaco team this year and according to TuttoMercatoWeb, he is ready to put pen to paper on a five-year deal after Chelsea and Monaco agreed a fee. Arsenal and Manchester United are amongst others clubs to be linked with a move for the midfielder, so Conte may still have work to do if he is to lure Bakayoko to the club.

Chelsea fans must be excited to see Antonio Conte already planning ahead in the transfer market, even with his side cruising to the Premier League title. Bakayoko would provide competition for places in central midfield, with the energetic midfielder likely to partner N’Golo Kante in what would be a fantastic midfield partnership. Bakayoko’s arrival would give Chelsea all sorts of options, with Cesc Fabregas more than likely to move on should this deal be completed.

Here’s some of the reaction on Twitter to the news that a deal for Bakayoko has been agreed. 

However there have been some concerns over the duo of Kante and Bakayoko and their technical limitations…

In my opinion, Bakayoko is a great player and with him in the squad, Chelsea will be an even stronger force than we’ve seen this season. Kante has perhaps been the best player in the team this season, but next season they cannot afford to rely on him as much, and Bakayoko, whilst not being the same in style, has stamina in abundance and would be able to fill the energy void if Kante were to pick up an injury.

Bakayoko is a box-to-box player that has thrived playing alongside the defensive-minded Fabinho at Monaco. Chelsea would be even harder to break down if he were to partner Kante in the heart of midfield. Bakayoko would bring something to the Chelsea midfield that I don’t believe they have currently, someone who can dribble with the ball through the middle and use their physical advantage to transition the ball from defence into attack.

I get the argument that neither Bakayoko more Kante are the most technically gifted, but that should not be an issue with the right players around him. I also think Conte needs to keep Fabregas, or bring in a creative central midfielder as an alternative option when the game requires it.

Chelsea Considering Selling Midfielder, Could Move To Manchester United In Summer

Chelsea are said to be considering the sale of one of their midfielders, with Manchester United previously listed with an interest.

Chelsea have been extremely successful so far this season but that has been the case for all the individuals in the team. With Chelsea’s success has come a stable and consistent team, but that has meant that Antonio Conte has repeatedly left several players out of the starting line up. One of those who is becoming frustrated on the sidelines is Brazilian midfielder Willian.

Perhaps Chelsea’s best player last season, it is understandable that the 28-year-old would be considering a departure, particularly with his age in mind. With 43 caps, a seasoned international and over 100 games for Chelsea, Willian would be an asset for most teams in Europe.

Conte is clearly not his biggest fan, so it could be in everyone’s best interests for him to leave this summer. Manchester United could be a potential destination, with the Daily Star reporting Mourinho is on red alert about potentially bringing the midfielder to Old Trafford.

Willian thrived under Mourinho when he was Chelsea manager so Jose knows only too well of his abilities. Chelsea would surely be reluctant to sell the player to a Premier League rival, but that didn’t stop the Juan Mata or Petr Cech deals from being completed in the recent past. Willian is settled in England and a move to Manchester could be the best thing for him.

With Wayne Rooney probably leaving the club in the summer, there could be a space in the number 10 role, a position Willian is capable of playing. He’s got a fantastic work rate and Mourinho loves that in all his midfielders, whether you’re playing at number 10 or on the wings.

But with the likes of Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan still in the squad, would Willian be assured of the game time he desires. I wonder if Mourinho will sell Mata this summer, as he is a player that he has never been a huge fan of.

There’s the potential that Willian could be tempted by a big-money move to China, especially with him nearing the end of his playing career. He did move to Russian club Anzhi for financial reasons earlier in his career, and I’m sure Chelsea would also rather sell to China due to the money involved and to avoid selling to a direct Premier League rival. Of course, former Chelsea midfielder and Brazilian compatriot Oscar has recently made the move to Asia.

Real Madrid aiming to raid Chelsea for signatures of star duo

Spanish giants Real Madrid are looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s success this season by launching a raid for two of the Blues’ most crucial players.

The Guardian reports that Zinedine Zidane’s Champions League holders are looking to launch an assault for the signatures of both Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard this summer, in a move that would leave Chelsea’s ranks severely depleted.

Real Madrid are looking to reshuffle this summer with the future’s of the likes of Alvaro Morata, Isco and James Rodriguez hanging in the balance, whilst they’re also preparing for life without Cristiano Ronaldo- and Hazard could be the ideal fit.

Between the sticks, Courtois is seen as a significant upgrade on Costa Rican Keylor Navas and the move sees Los Blancos cool their interest in long-term target David De Gea from Manchester United, as Zidane’s side seek alternative options.

How likely is a deal?

Chelsea would command a hefty figure for both players but could find it difficult to fend off the interest of Real Madrid, specifically when it comes to Thibaut Courtois. Whilst he has insisted he’s happy at Stamford Bridge, his family still lives in the Spanish capital from his time on-loan with Atletico Madrid.

With Hazard, the Belgian may feel the opportunity to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo is too great an opportunity to turn down and his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu would see Los Blancos shift away from their ‘BBC’ attacking trio- with Ronald likely moving central and Hazard filling the gap on the left, whilst Gareth Bale operates on the opposite side and Karim Benzema misses out.

However, Hazard still has three-years remaining on his current deal at Stamford Bridge and discussions have been held to extend his deal. Despite that, the Belgian reportedly remains open to a switch to Spain.

How much would they cost?

Both Courtois and Hazard would command a hefty price on the transfer market but Real Madrid could subsidise a deal by offering Alvaro Morata in exchange; as the Spanish striker is unhappy with the opportunities that have come his way since he returned to Madrid last summer.

Formerly of Juventus, where Antonio Conte used to manage, the Italian boss is a keen admirer of Morata’s talents and unsuccessful enquiries were made last summer. This year though, the situation could be different and Chelsea will be prepared for the possibility of losing Diego Costa.

Money is no object for Real Madrid though and they’d be looking to make a real statement of intent to respond to the growing prices of the Premier League, especially as Manchester United broke the transfer world-record last summer with their capture of Paul Pogba.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hazard’s signature fetch the same sort of price Pogba’s did last summer and Courtois himself could surpass the long-standing record for a goalkeeper, which currently stands at the fee of over £50m Juventus paid for Gianluigi Buffon.