Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata has reportedly turned down a move to the Chinese Super League his summer.
The star was offered a mega deal worth £147 million to move Far East but he turned it down without batting any eyelid, preferring the competitive European football.
Marca reports that the player would have earned almost £30 million in annual wages for five years had he agreed to the deal. The player is an interest of Premier League giants Chelsea. Coach Antonio Conte managed him while he was on loan at Juventus and they could reunite at Stamford Bridge after this season.
Morata has netted 20 times in all competitions this term, despite Coach Zinedine Zidane favouring Karim Benzema in the pecking order. If the Spaniard stays at Madrid, he could get to take over from Benzema but he would get fewer chances before then. At the Bernabeu, he is assured titles too while leaving Spain might be a gamble.
With the future of Blues striker Diego Costa not certain, and with Chelsea set to play more competitions, the club requires a top striker. Morata has the youth and experience and he would be a good fit but for now no definite decisions seem to have been made. Continue reading
Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma says that manager Antonio Conte is a perfectionist when it comes to preparing the team for the games.
Conte has managed to transform the fortunes of Chelsea from a team that struggled to even qualify for the Europa League last season into title contenders once again. A 10 point advantage at the top of the table sees the team classified as favourites to win the league title for a second time in three seasons. One of the reasons for this excellent form in the campaign appears to be the meticulous preparation taken up by the manager.
Zouma spend a significant chunk of the campaign on the sidelines, but he recently returned to first team action. Even though he has been unable to establish itself in the starting lineup, Zouma remains an integral part of the squad. Continue reading
Chelsea will be hoping to regain their four point lead at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Liverpool’s victory over Sunderland on Wednesday moved them to with a point of first place, but with Brendan Rodgers’ side not playing until Sunday afternoon, and Arsenal hosting Manchester City later on Saturday, the Blues can once again create distance between themselves and the chasing back.
Ramires remains suspended, while Samuel Eto’o is doubtful after limping out of last weekend’s 6-0 win over Arsenal, and Ashely Cole is doubtful with the knee injury that kept him out of that game.
The Blues have won their past five games against the Eagles, the last of which saw goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires secure all three points for Jose Mourinho’s men at Selhurst Park back in December.
Palace themselves are desperate for the points as they look to end a run of five games without a win.
Last weekend’s last minute loss to Newcastle United – their eighteenth of the season, left them just three points of the bottom three of the top flight, having played a game more than eighteenth place Sunderland.
Premier League leaders Chelsea will hope to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack as they welcome third place Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
Victory for Jose Mourinho’s men will see them regain a seven point advantage over their London rivals and Liverpool, who travel to Cardiff City later in the day while Manchester City in fourth face Fulham at Craven Cottage.
David Luiz may return to the Blues starting line-up after being fit enough to be named on the bench for Tuesday evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg victory over Galatasaray, though Ashley Cole is set to remain on the side-lines with the knee problem that saw him miss out midweek.
Brazilian internationals Willian and Ramires miss out having both been sent off in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
Should Chelsea lose to the Gunners in what is Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge, it would give all of the three sides below them the chance to overtake them in midweek.
Arsenal host Swansea City and Manchester City travel to neighbours Manchester United on Tuesday evening, while Liverpool host a struggling Sunderland side twenty-four hours later.
Chelsea are expected to include both Ramires and Willian in their starting line-up for this evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg against Galatasaray, with both midfielder suspended for Saturday’s clash with Arsenal.
Ashley Cole is doubtful having been absent from training on Monday, though David Luiz is fit and could replace the cup-tied Nemanja Matic, while Mohammed Salah is also ineligible having represented Basel earlier in the competition.
Former Blues forward Didier Drogba is expected to start for the visitors, with the tie finely poised following the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Istanbul three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho is confident that the Ivory Coast international will return to the club in some capacity in the future, according to the Metro.
This evening will see Drogba return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving the club following their triumph in the final of this competition in May 2012.
The forward, who was taken to London from Marseille by Mourinho in 2004, scored 157 goals in 341 appearances, plus the winning penalty in the shoot-out victory against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
The Blues boss believes that the 36 year old will return at some point as either ‘a player, coach or ambassador’.
Chelsea’s hopes of winning a first league title in four years were dealt a blow at the weekend as they lost 1-0 at Aston Villa.
Fabian Delph’s back-heel eight minutes from time was enough to secure all three points for Paul Lambert’s side, who moved into the top half of the table.
However, the Blues’ lead at the top has been cut to four points, with second place Liverpool and third place Arsenal winning at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, whilst fourth place Manchester City, who also took all three points from their game at Hull City, are a further two behind.
All three of the chasing pack have games in hand over Chelsea; one in the case of Liverpool and Arsenal and three for Manuel Pellegrini’s men who have been reinstalled as favourites by the bookmakers.
The Blues will now turn their attention to tomorrow evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg with Galatasary, before returning to league action against Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime.
Lose to the Gunners, they could fall to as low as fourth by the time of thier game at Crystal Palace the following weekend, with the other sides in the Champions League places all playing in midweek.
Spanish giants Barcelona are closing in on the signing of Chelsea’s David Luiz, according to the Metro.
The La Liga champions have been linked with a move for the Brazil international for some time, and are now hopeful of completing a deal at the end of the season as they look for a replacement for outgoing centre-back Carlos Puyol.
The Spain international admitted that he is set to leave the Nou Camp in the summer during an emotional press conference yesterday, having spent his whole career with the club.
Luiz has made just thirteen league appearances since Jose Mourinho returned to the club, and the Blues boss is likely to sell if Barca meet his £25m valuation.
The former Benfica man is set to win his 34th international cap against South Africa in Johannesburg this evening, alongside Chelsea teammates Oscar, Ramires and Willian.
Elsewhere, Petr Cech has been named Czech Republic’s player of the year for 2013, the Daily Star understands.
The Blues’ number one, who has now won the award for the past six years, beat Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky and Frieburg’s Vladmir Darida into second and third place respectively, with all three in line to face Norway this evening.
Eden Hazard’s 29th minute strike was enough to see Chelsea beat Swansea City, and secure a fifth win in seven league games for Jose Mourinho’s men.
The Blues remain two points off the top of the Premier League after Arsenal moved back into first place following a 3-1 win over West Ham United.
Manchester City are second, a point behind the Gunners and ahead of the Blues after a 2-1 win over Liverpool, who slip to fourth while fifth place Everton stay fifth after a shock defeat to bottom of the table Sunderland.
Chelsea now turn their attention to Sunday afternoon’s match against Liverpool, a side who they have beaten just twice in their last thirteen clashes in the league.
Ramires will miss the game through suspension after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season in the Boxing Day victory over Swansea.
Mourinho is likely to continue rotating his squad, with Cesar Azpilicueta expected to be recalled in place of Ashley Cole at left-back, while Fernando Torres could also return to the starting line-up.
This will be the first meeting between the sides since the 2-2 draw at Anfield back in April – the game where Branislav Ivanovic was bitten by Luis Suarez.
Tags: Arsenal, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eden Hazard, Everton, Fernando Torres, Liverpool, Luis Suarez, Manchester City, Ramires, Swansea City
Chelsea moved to within two points of Premier League leaders Arsenal by edging past Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
Fernando Torres gave the Blues the lead with his first goal in five league games on sixteen minutes before Marouane Chamakh drew the Eagles level thirteen minutes later.
Ramires then fired in a second for the hosts ten minutes before the break which was enough to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s men, who will now turn their attention to what will be there second trip to the Stadium of Light in the space of two weeks, as they take on Sunderland in the quarter finals of the League Cup tomorrow evening.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been drawn against Galatasaray in the last sixteen of the Champions League.
The first leg takes place in Istanbul on February 26th, with the return leg at Stamford Bridge three weeks later.
The tie will see striker Didier Drogba face the club for the first time since he bowed out with the winning penalty in the shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final.
The Ivory Coast international, who joined the Turkish club in January, has scored twice in the competition so far this season.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires has admitted that he is unaware of any interest in him from other clubs aside from what is written in the media, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazil international, who has not missed a minute in the Premier League for the Blues so far this season, is reportedly a target for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but has insisted that his sole focus is on succeeding at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have joined the race to sign Blues out of favour midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, the Mail Online understands.
The 22 year old has barely featured under Jose Mourinho, and has been linked with a host of Bundesliga clubs having impressed on loan with Werder Bremen last year.
Atletico, who are currently second in La Liga, three points behind Barcelona, already have a Chelsea player with them on loan in the shape of De Bruyne’s international teammate Thibaut Courtois.
Elsewhere, Davide Santon has insisted that he is happy at Newcastle United in the wake of speculation linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to the Metro.
The right-back, who is also reportedly a target for AC Milan, has featured in all but one of the Magpies Premier League games this season.
Tags: AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Davide Santon, Kevin De Bruyne, Newcastle United, Ramires, Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois, Werder Bremen