Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is determined to start the new season on a high in order to avoid a repeat of the 2015/16 campaign where the Blues slumped to a lowly 10th in the league standings.
The Blues had been crowned champions during the 2014/15 season, and none would have predicted what would happen next as the Blues lingered near the drop zone when Jose Mourinho was axed in December 2015.
Conte took the Blues to the Premier League title during his maiden season in English management last term, but he is expecting a tougher challenge next year with the Champions League adding the extra pressure of games. The former Juventus boss cited that he would like to avoid a similar season to that of Mourinho’s in 2015/16 whilst he will also try to keep his managerial position unlike Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri, who were sacked within months of their respective league triumphs for Chelsea and Leicester City respectively.
“We know the difficulty of the next season and for sure we want to avoid the Mourinho season with Chelsea. Continue reading
Chelsea are reportedly stalling on their potential approach for James Rodriguez after knowing of Real Madrid’s £70m asking price for the Colombia international.
The South American attacker has been constantly linked with a Premier League move after he was found applying for a UK working visa earlier in the January transfer window. Rodriguez eventually opted to stay put at the Bernabeu under the advice of agent Jorge Mendes with a view to resolving his future in the summer.
Rodriguez was partially used by Zidane Zinedine during the course of the previous campaign with most of his goals coming off the substitutes’ bench. The most surprise decision of them all was his surprise exclusion from the Champions League final squad despite training with the squad prior to the showpiece event against Juventus. Los Blancos eventually won the premier competition to become the first side ever to retain the title in the modern era. Continue reading
Neither Alexandre Pato or Radamel Falcao have been making impressive performances in Stamford Bridge and both of them have returned to their parent clubs as Chelsea did not opt to extend their respective loan deals any further.
Both of those players were signed on loan deals and Chelsea had the option to extend their respective deals for a longer period of time but after disappointing, the head chiefs of the Premier League club decided to not risk spending more time or money in them as they returned to their original parent clubs and Chelsea
are now setting their sights on other players who might be signed during the summer transfer window.
The attacking department of Chelsea is one of the areas that Antonio Conte is expected to reinforce the most as the main goal-scorer of the Premier League club is Diego Costa but the Brazilian attacker has not been performing at his usual best. In the 2015-16 Premier League season, he scored only 12 goals which is a significant drop in goals compared to the 2014-15 season when he scored 20, almost double. Continue reading
Chelsea can extend their lead at the top of the table by as much as nine points with victory against Aston Villa in Saturday’s late kick off in the Premier League.
With Arsenal and Liverpool not playing until Sunday afternoon, Jose Mourinho’s men will be keen to tighten their grip at the summit though they must attempt to do so without the injured Ashley Cole while David Luiz and Fernando Torres are both doubtful having missed last weekend’s 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Mourinho is likely to select his side with Tuesday evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg against Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge in mind.
Ryan Bertrand, who is on loan at Villa for the rest of the season, will be ineligible to face his parent club.
The Blues ran out 2-1 winner when the sides met at Stamford Bridge back in August, while they also recorded the same result in last season’s corresponding fixture in May – the day Frank Lampard broke Bobby Tambling’s goal-scoring record for the club.
Elsewhere, Paris Saint Germain striker Edinson Cavani has insisted he is happy in France, despite reported interest from both Chelsea and Manchester United.
The Uruguay international has rebuffed claims there isn’t pleased with his role in the team, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic often playing as a sole striker in Laurent Blanc’s side.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is confident he can wrap up deals for both Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw before this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, according to the Mirror.
A striker and a left back are high on the Blues’ boss’s list of targets with his current selection of strikers struggling for consistency, and with Ashley Cole’s time with the club seemingly drawing to a close.
Cavani appears to be the club’s first choice striker, with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney set to sign a new contract at Old Trafford while Shaw is expected to be pursued by a number a clubs come the end of the season, with Chelsea and United currently the front runners in the race to secure his services.
The Blues are expected to part-fund the deals by selling fringe players such as Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku, the latter of which is yet to play for the club having spent the last eighteen months out on loan first with West Bromwich Albion and then Everton.
There is also a doubt over three of the clubs senior players, with John Terry and Frank Lampard, along with Cole, not certain of new deals at the West London outfit.
Chelsea have been alerted to the news that Robert Lewandowski could be interested in securing a move to a club other than Bayern Munich when his contract expires next summer.
The Poland international looked set to move to the European Champions at the end of last season, but decided to see his contract out at the Westfalenstadion.
A host of other European clubs had registered an interest in the player, though it seemed he was only interested in moving to Dortmund’s great league rivals.
However, according to reports in the Express, the striker’s agent has revealed that he has had contact with Napoli.
The Serie A side, who are currently managed by former Blues interim manager Rafael Benitez, parted company with star striker Edinson Cavani in July, and would see Lewandowski as an ideal replacement, though they have also brought in Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon.
Jose Mourinho brought in Samuel Eto’o towards the end of the recent transfer window after failing to secure a deal for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, and would welcome the chance to further strengthen his attacking options.
Lewandowski has scored four goals in five Bundesliga appearances so far this season, including a brace in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Hamburg.
Chelsea are set to miss out on signing Edinson Cavani as the Napoli striker looking set to secure a move to Paris Saint Germain, according to the Express.
The Uruguayan has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge for some time, with Real Madrid also reportedly interested though the Ligue 1 Champions are set to trump both clubs with a £55m offer, which will activate the players released clause.
They mega-rich club are also willing to offer the 26 year old £200,000 per week as they look to make an impression on next seasons Champions League.
Elsewhere, the Express also claim that the Blues are also set to be disappointed in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski who, according to manager Jurgen Klopp, will move to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich next summer.
The Metro understand that the Blues will now turn their attention to Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, who scored nineteen goals in his debut season in England, while Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is also still on the clubs radar, according the Express.
A move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has also been mooted, though David Moyes has stressed that the England international is not for sale.
Chelsea striker Demba Ba has emerged as a target for Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, the Mirror understands.
The Senegalese forward has only been at Stamford Bridge for six months, though the arrival of Andre Schurrle, as well as the continued pursuit of Edinson Cavani has indicated that he is not in Jose Mourinho’s plans.
Ba has reportedly turned down the chance of returning to former club West Ham United, while West Bromwich Albion, who yesterday signed former Blue Nicolas Anelka, was another potential destination for the 28 year old.
Anzhi are likely to table a lucrative offer for the player, who scored six goals in twenty-two appearances for Chelsea last season after signing from Newcastle United in January.
Meanwhile, Galatasaray are resuming talks with the Blues over a £16million move for midfielder John Obi Mikel, according to the Mail Online.
The 26 year old has made over 250 appearances since signing for the club seven years ago, and will again link up with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba should the move go through.
Elsewhere, the Metro have reported that Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk has received offers from both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, as he targets a move to the Premier League.
Chelsea have held talks with Vitesse Arnhem midfielder Marco Van Ginkel regarding a move to Stamford Bridge, BBC Sport understands.
The 20 year old has met Blues boss Jose Mourinho, and will now return to the Netherlands to discuss his future with the Eredivise side.
Van Ginkel’s major concern is how many games he would play for Chelsea, with the World Cup in Brazil coming next summer.
He has made just one appearance for the Dutch senior side, though he has twelve caps for the Netherlands under 21’s.
Elsewhere, the Blues are expected to make an improved over for Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy, according to the Mail Online.
The club saw a bid of £5million rejected last week, and the Canaries are believed to be holding out on a fee closer to the £10million mark for the England international.
Meanwhile, AC Milan have insisted that striker Stephan El Shaarawy is not for sale, ESPN understands.
Chelsea had been linked with a move for the Italy international, following an impressive second season at the San Siro.
Napoli striker Edinson Cavani remains Chelsea’s top transfer target, while Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund are also on the clubs radar.
Chelsea have moved a step closer to signing Edinson Cavani after reportedly agreeing personal terms with the player, the Metro understands.
The Uruguay forward, who yesterday scored twice only for his side to lose on penalties in the Confederations Cup third and fourth place play-off, has also drawn interest from Real Madrid and Manchester City, though the Blues appear to have stolen a march on their rivals.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has previously revealed that only City had made an offer for the 26 year old, but it fell well short of their £54million valuation.
However, Sky Italia reporter Tancredi Palmeri has taken to Twitter to claim that terms have been agreed between Cavani and Chelsea, pending an argreement with the Serie A side.
Elsewhere, the Blues Brazilian duo David Luiz and Oscar emerged victorious is yesterday’s Confederations Cup final, with the hosts beating European and World Champions Spain by three goals to nil.
Juan Mata, Cezar Azpilicueta and Ferndando Torres all featured for Spain, who were defeated for the first time in twenty-seven internationals.
Torres won the tournaments Golden Boot with five goals, the same amount as Fred though the Spaniard clinched the honour by virtue of registering one more assist that his Brazilian counterpart.