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Chelsea readying ‘mega offer’ for forward in January – Could be ‘over €100m’, ‘alarms’ ringing at club

Despite Portugal disappointing many by exiting the World Cup in the quarter-finals at the hands of Morocco, a couple of members of their squad saw their value increase in the tournament.

Hat-trick hero against Switzerland Gonçalo Ramos was one of them, while Rafael Leão, often called upon as a sub, was the other, as he impacted every game he came on in some shape or form.

That will have pleased both Chelsea and Milan, with the two clubs currently locked in a battle for the Portugal international.

We say this because while the forward is already contracted with the Serie A side, he has yet to renew there, leaving them in a precarious position.

That’s because Chelsea are very interested in him, having been so since the summer, and are ‘ready to return’ for him in January.

This is according to Corriere dello Sport, who explain there are ‘alarms’ ringing in Milan as the Blues prepare a ‘mega offer’ for the Portuguese.

The Italians want above all to renew their star and are in talks with the player’s lawyer, Ted Dimvula, to get something done, and are even prepared to break their wage limit to ensure he stays.

On the other side, ‘there is a possible new attempt by Chelsea’ on the way, with the newspaper reckoning it will be ‘over €100m’ this time.

Not only that, but they are also ready to pay the player’s part of a €20m compensation to Sporting CP shared between Leão and Lille, which has been an ongoing issue.

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‘I’ve heard’: Shaun Wright-Phillips shares what the Chelsea players actually think of Potter’s training

Shaun Wright-Phillips has heard that the Chelsea players are actually loving training sessions under the new manager.

Graham Potter, 47, is the new boss in the dugout at Stamford Bridge. He’s started very well with five wins and one draw from his opening six matches, too.

The Blues head coach puts his undefeated streak on the line tonight when his team play away at London rivals Brentford in the Premier League.

Chelsea Training and Press Conference

Chelsea players loving training

Former Chelsea star Wright-Phillips has shared that the current Blues squad are really enjoying work at Cobham under Potter’s guidance.

“At Brighton he didn’t have that striker to find the back of the net on a regular basis, but I feel like now he’s not only got strikers that can do it, he also has midfielders. We know Gallagher chips in with goals, Mount we know scores, and he’s got the wingers to do it as well,” Wright said on ‘The Kelly and Wrighty Show’.

“He’s got the guys to put the numbers up and I’ve heard they are all happy and they love his training sessions. As a manager, if you have part and have elite players you have half won the battle.”

Potter is still riding the wave of the new manager bounce, so let’s hope that can stretch into this midweek league trip to Brentford.

It’s obvious on the pitch that his ideas are slowly coming to life, which is very exciting when you consider how eye-catching his Brighton side was.

In fairness, the Englishman has walked in to work with a very talented group of players that maybe just needed some fresh ideas.

Thomas Tuchel deserves to be mentioned alongside the club’s greatest managers in the past couple of decades, but perhaps things turned a little sour during the end of his reign. In fact, journalist Simon Phillips reported last month that Tuchel had lost about 70 per cent of the Chelsea dressing room by the time he was sacked.

 

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Personal terms agreed as Chelsea close-in on double swoop for £96.4m duo – report

90min has claimed that Chelsea are closing in on a double raid on RB Leipzig to acquire Josko Gvardiol and Christopher Nkunku.

The source says that the Blues have maintained a line of communication with the Bundesliga outfit post the summer window. In fact, it is understood that personal terms with Nkunku and Gvardiol are already in place and now all remains for Todd Boehly and co. is to secure a final agreement with Leipzig over the transfer fees.

Christopher-Nkunku-rb-leipzig-2022

Chelsea made a late attempt in the summer to sign Gvardiol but they were knocked back. Nkunku on the other hand underwent a secret medical ahead of a potential move in 2023. The deal for Nkunku is said to be worth £52.8 million. Gvardiol though is said to have a release clause worth £43.6 million.

Therefore, the proposed double swoop could be worth £96.4m. RB Leipzig, however, are reluctant to sell both their prospects before the World Cup as impressive performances in Qatar could lead to bidding wars.

Josko Gvardiol

The idea behind Chelsea securing these deals way before the window opens is they want to get the transfers wrapped-up before any rival offers, and they also want to avoid any late dramas, as in the case of Wesley Fofana last summer.

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Mendy, Silva, Kante: Graham Potter confirms Chelsea team news for FC Salzburg clash

Graham Potter has confirmed the Chelsea team news to face FC Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Chelsea embark on their new chapter under the 47-year-old after he replaced Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge last week.

They will play their first game since Potter was appointed and it’s a big one, a Champions League clash where they will be hoping to bounce back from their opening Group E defeat to Dinamo Zagreb – they lost 1-0 in Croatia.

It proved to be Tuchel’s final game in charge as he was sacked last Wednesday morning.

Chelsea have been in training for the last couple of days with Potter to learn and adapt to his methods, and the whole squad appeared to be involved other than N’Golo Kante who is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.

They were also without Thiago Silva for the defeat in Croatia after Tuchel gave him time to rest and recover as he nears turning 38 later this month.

“We decided with Thiago that he will have a break from the travelling and the stress after playing every minute so far in very intense matches,” said the now former Chelsea boss last week.

“It was the moment to give him a break instead of putting him on the bench and having the travel issues. He takes care of his recovery.”

Edouard Mendy missed training at Cobham on Tuesday morning, along with Kante, after struggling with injury. Potter has confirmed he will not be available for the European encounter.

“Edou will miss the game, so will NG. Everyone else is fine,” said Potter on Tuesday ahead of the game.

Potter is looking forward to his first game in charge, as well as his first Champions League game in management.

He added: This is an amazing evening for us, for all of us, we are super excited.

“At the same time, we have been preparing a team, getting to know the players. It’s a fantastic opportunity.

“Wherever we start, it’s a heck of an introduction. With respect to everything that has happened with this football club, demands, wherever we start is brilliant. We start here (in the Champions League).”

The 47-year-old has been pleased with the application of the squad, continuing: “Honest, responsible group. Positive around training ground.

“They want to achieve and do well. Happy with the squad. Full of quality.

“My main job is to help the guys here, to put a team on the pitch that the fans are proud of.”

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Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante, Aubameyang: Chelsea injury news and return dates ahead of Salzburg

Chelsea are set to welcome Red Bull Salzburg to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening and Graham Potter has a number of injury concerns to deal with. The Blues lost 1-0 to Dinamo Zagbreb in the Champions League group stage opener last week in what proved to be Thomas Tuchel’s final game in charge and now sit bottom of Group E.

Despite suffering defeat in Croatia, AC Milan and Salzburg drew leaving it all still to play for. The west Londoner now have a new boss in the shape of Graham Potter after Thomas Tuchel was sacked hours after the loss to Zagreb.

The clash with Salzburg had initially been thrown into doubt after the Premier League took the decision to postpone and reschedule several fixtures this weekend as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. But, the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League games fall under UEFA jurisdiction, so the tie is going ahead.

With, the newly-appointed boss looking to mark his debut with a win, he’ll be hoping to recapture Chelsea’s European fever. With that in mind, football.london brings you all the latest injury news and return dates that Potter has to consider.

Edouard Mendy

In Chelsea’s clash with West Ham, Mendy was caught in the ribs by Jarrod Bowen as part of a controversial collision which saw a late equaliser denied by VAR. The Senegal international subsequently missed the clash with Zagreb, though with last weekend’s game was postponed granting him time for recovery.

What Tuchel said:”He was in a lot of pain, and we have to see. It’s too early to comment on that. I think at the moment he is a bit unlucky in what he is doing. In training, he is fantastic, and he is, in general, a very calm and self-reflective guy who is aware that he lacks a little bit of luck at the moment.

“Things do not go in his favour. If he has maybe a situation where his action isn’t 100% clear, he gets punished for it massively. He is just in this moment, and it feels like it’s not so much his fault. I have the feeling because he tries everything, he is very calm and focused. We will keep on supporting him.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang’s jaw was broken by house robbers just days before swapping the Camp Nou for Stamford Bridge. According to The Times, the Blues flew the 33-year-old out to Milan to be fitted with a mask so that he could feature as soon as possible.

His treatment obviously worked, with Aubameyang featuring for Chelsea versus Zagreb last week. Again, with a number of days extra recovery without action, the striker could be match fit and raring to go.

What Tuchel said: “Yes, he trains tomorrow, but I cannot tell you if he trains with full contact or individually. We’ll need to see. He has the mask, and the doctors tell me the mask is good and he feels comfortable with it.

“So he would be ok, but we need to check it, and we need to check it with no contact, half-contact, and then full contact. We need to see how he feels about it. It’s too early to make a prediction, but he’ll be in training tomorrow morning, and we’ll see.”

Expected return date: September 14 – Salzburg (H)

N’Golo Kanté

Chelsea’s star midfielder continues to recover from the hamstring injury that he picked up during the game against Tottenham.

In his press conference ahead of West Ham, Tuchel said: “So in the moment, it’s only N’Golo out. Everyone else is available.”

Speaking on August 26, Tuchel discussed Kante’s injury and said: “With N’Golo, we are talking about weeks. We are talking about four weeks plus.”

Expected return date: Unknown

Trevoh Chalobah

The defender picked up an injury tweak in the 2-1 Leicester win in game week 5. As a result, he wasn’t in the travelling squad for the Southampton loss.

However, he did return as an unused sub in the West Ham and Zagbreb clashes. Whether or not he starts against Salzburg remains to be seen with the competition for places hot, following Wesley Fofana’s arrival.

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Silva replacement selected, Aubameyang decision made – Predicted Chelsea team vs Dinamo Zagreb

It’s in Zagreb that Chelsea begin their quest to once again be crowned champions of Europe. There is a long way to go and plenty of hurdles to navigate along the way, of course, but Thomas Tuchel has proved himself an expert in cup competitions, so optimism should be high among the Blues fanbase.

A clash at the Stadion Maksimir against Dinamo Zagreb comes this evening. It’s Chelsea’s Champions League opener and one that they are heavy favourites to win. But Tuchel knows the pitfalls and the pressure that comes with any European away fixture. He will not be taking anything for granted.

“We are very aware of what the challenge is to play in a first match away in a group stage. It’s difficult. It can end up in complicated situations but I think it’s very important that we accept it and play a humble match, don’t get stuck in our own expectations. We will accept the fight and the challenge and then we can also have the belief and trust we are able to win. We need to perform, for sure.”

Chelsea’s players arrived in Croatia early yesterday afternoon and trained at the Stadion Maksimir yesterday evening. Back at the team hotel, Tuchel and his coaches will have then outlined the team that would start tonight’s fixture. And there are some tricky calls to make.

Edouard Mendy’s form during the early weeks of the campaign has been shaky – a late mistake against West Ham on Saturday didn’t prove costly after VAR deemed Jarrod Bown had fouled the Senegal international in the build-up to Maxwel Cornet’s late equaliser.

Yet Tuchel is unlikely to take Mendy out of his side. “It’s [goalkeeper] a very sensitive position in football in general,” Tuchel said. “And not everything is about pure quality and decision making, it’s also about the feel, that you feel the confidence. Sometimes it’s also having luck as well.

“Somebody sent me an interesting quote about Napoleon, who asked his generals that they should not only have the best quality but also that they are lucky generals. This is also what you need from leaders and goalkeepers, and that they have a kind of momentum in which if they make a little mistake, it’s not punished.

“He at the moment gets punished a lot for not a lot that he does wrong. But there are no doubts in my mind, the situation is calm, we have two fantastic goalkeepers, two fantastic guys. We are aware of it that he is in that kind of situation but first, we deal inside.”

There is a decision for Tuchel to make in his defence given Thiago Silva hasn’t travelled with the squad to Croatia; the 37-year-old Brazilian has been given the opportunity to rest and recuperate at Cobham ahead of the west London derby against Fulham at the weekend.

That will likely present an opportunity for Cesar Azpilicueta to return to the side and his European experience may prove important given a highly-charged atmosphere is expected. The Chelsea skipper should step in on the right of the back three with summer signing Wesley Fofana moving into the central role and Kalidou Koulibaly on the left.

Reece James, fresh off signing a new six-year contract with Chelsea, will start at right wing-back. On the opposite flank should be Ben Chilwell. The England international has had to stay patient during the early weeks of the campaign after the arrival of Marc Cucurella from Brighton, but the impact he made off the bench against West Ham should ensure a start in Zagreb.

Jorginho didn’t start Saturday’s victory and should come back into the midfield. Mateo Kovacic has been struggling with a knee issue so far this term but on his return to Dinamo, the club at which he started his career, the Croatian will be desperate to named in the side.

There are decisions for Tuchel to make as to who starts within his attack. Raheem Sterling is a guarantee but whether Tuchel throws Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in as his No. 9 is a difficult call, especially as the 33-year-old would have to play in a mask having suffered a jaw injury during an assault by an armed gang while still a Barcelona player.

“If there comes an issue [with his mask] we will not put him in the team,” Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference. “There was no issue yesterday (Monday) and I hope there will not be an issue in training today. Is he ready to start? Of course, he cannot play 90 minutes.

“It’s on us to take a decision on how we manage the minutes. He needs minutes to get his full fitness and rhythm. It’s on us to find a solution if he comes from the bench or if he starts.”

Given that Aubameyang is a signing Tuchel pushed for, it would come as no surprise to see the striker in the starting XI; the quicker he gets up to speed, the greater his potential impact. Who then completes the front three is difficult to predict, with Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, and Armando Broja all in contention.

Given his goal at the weekend from the substitutes’ bench, Havertz may get the nod. The German could be used off the right with Aubameyang through the middle and Sterling playing in his preferred role off the left.

Predicted Chelsea side: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Fofana, Koulibaly; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell; Havertz, Aubameyang, Sterling

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Gallagher and Loftus-Cheek start: Predicted Chelsea Xl vs Leeds United

This weekend sees the return of a classic rivalry – Leeds United vs Chelsea.

The 70s saw some epic battles between these two sides, and it was often Leeds coming out on top. These days though, the tables have turned and it is Chelsea who have had the best of recent encounters.

The Blues will be the favourites on Sunday as well, and on paper, should have enough to do the job at Leeds. There is never an easy game in the Premier League though, and Leeds have not lost their two opening games this season either and will fancy getting something.

Here is the line-up that I believe Thomas Tuchel will select, assuming Mateo Kovacic is still injured at least – I’m sure he will have a late fitness check to find out.

(3-4-3): Mendy; James, Silva, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek, Gallagher, Jorginho, Cucurella; Sterling, Mount, Havertz.

I think Loftus-Cheek will continue at wing-back after playing so well against Spurs. And in midfield, if Kovacic IS still injured, the only option to partner Jorginho left is Gallagher, because N’Golo Kante is also injured.

 

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Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante: Chelsea injury news and expected return dates before Leeds United

Chelsea take on Leeds United on Sunday afternoon in a highly-anticipated Premier League bout at Elland Road.

The Blues have endured a turbulent start to the Premier League season; Thomas Tuchel’s side kicked off the new campaign with a 1-0 win over Everton despite a somewhat unconvincing performance, before welcoming Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge, where an impressive display was dampened by a controversial stoppage-time equaliser.

Now, the west Londoners will be looking to translate a good performance into three points. So, with that in mind, here’s all the latest Chelsea injury news for Tuchel to contend with.

Mateo Kovacic

One player that Tuchel won’t have at his disposal is central midfielder Kovacic, who is suffering from a slight knee issue at this moment in time.

What Tuchel said: “[Kovacic] has issues with his knee, always a little bit of a reaction. We decided to take a step back and increase treatment time to reduce the stress that comes from training to have a normal reaction before we start again. Everybody else is available.”

N’Golo Kante

Kante hobbled off in Chelsea’s clash with Spurs. The midfielder fell to the ground clutching his hamstring before being pulled from proceedings and, with his injury history in mind, there’s ‘no good news’.

What Tuchel said: “It seems another muscle injury, the hamstring. He said he feels it pretty strong. So no good news.”

Marcos Alonso

Left-back Alonso will not be in contention to face Leeds as he looks to complete a transfer to Catalan giants Barcelona.

What Tuchel said (ahead of Spurs game): “He is not in training at the moment and trying to finalise his transfer, so he will not be available for the game.”

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Chelsea ‘closer than ever’ to buying player – ‘Confidence’ deal can be closed ‘by Thursday’

At the weekend, Corriere dello Sport reported Inter would resume negotiations with Chelsea over a deal for Cesare Casadei on Tuesday.

It was also explained the Blues will make an improved offer to sign the young midfielder after the Serie A side turned down their first proposal of €8m.

Chelsea are ‘closer than ever’ to buy the 19-year-old, after they submitted a new bid of €12m plus bonuses to the Nerazzurri.

That’s according to Gianluca Di Marzio, who explains the Italy U19 international ‘seems destined to continue his career in England’, at the west London club.

It’s claimed Inter are willing to definitely close the youngster’s sale for €15m, plus €5m in bonuses, in the current window. The report states ‘there is confidence that by Thursday we will arrive at the required amount by completing the transfer’.

With Casadei ‘very close to Chelsea’, this would suggest Thomas Tuchel’s side are set to improve their offer further, to seal the deal.

Apart from Casadei, the Premier League club have ‘every intention’ to sign Inter’s Denzel Dumfries this summer. This was reported by Calciomercato on Monday.

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Chelsea may spend another £92m after Wesley Fofana transfer with deal ‘close’

Chelsea could take their summer spending to astronomical new heights if they follow up a deal for Wesley Fofana with two more signings. Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly have already arrived at Stamford Bridge for relatively steep prices while Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina have come in as stars for the future.

They’ve now turned their attentions to Wesley Fofana, despite Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers insisting Chelsea’s last two bids haven’t come close to the club’s valuation.

“We’re not looking to sell. Naturally, if there’s interest from other clubs, that is looked at by the club,” Rodgers said. “He’s a top young defender, and there are not too many around his age.”

But Chelsea haven’t given up hope and are pushing forward with a third record-breaking offer for a defender. It’s been claimed that Chelsea are willing to strike a deal worth in the region of £84.5m, surpassing the record fee Manchester United spent on Harry Maguire three years ago.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Frenkie de Jong and Aubameyang

Personal terms are already said to be agreed with negotiations set to continue into the weekend. If Chelsea end up meeting Leicester’s demands, that would take their summer spending to around £250m and that may not even be the end of it.

Both Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are being linked with leaving Barcelona for Stamford Bridge. The Catalan outfit value De Jong at £71m while they also want £21m for Aubameyang, who only left Arsenal for the Nou Camp in January.

The Barcelona duo are on high wages with the La Liga outfit and are seemingly up for sale should their valuations be met. De Jong’s future has been the transfer saga of the summer with Barcelona trying to push him out the door with Manchester United initially showing the most interest.

Chelsea have now entered the race and are said to be favourites as Tuchel looks to strengthen his midfield. And there is still no like-for-like replacement brought in for Lukaku with Kai Havertz playing as a false nine.

If Chelsea end up signing both Barcelona players, as well as Fofana, they will smash the record for biggest single-window transfer spend ever. Real Madrid currently hold that record after they spent an eye-watering £272.6m back in the summer of 2019.

Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo and Eder Militao were all signed for big fees. It appears as though new owner Todd Boehly is ready to splash the cash in his first summer in charge of Chelsea.

And three more big signings could well be on the way with Fofana potentially the next through the door.