Two Chelsea stars report back early for pre-season training


    A pair of members of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea squad have, this week, returned to base at the club’s training ground ahead of schedule.

    The first wave of Blues stars, fresh off an altogether underwhelming campaign last time out, have been pencilled in to to report back for pre-season training in west London on July 2nd.

    And following such stars will be the remainder of Tuchel’s ranks, to have been selected for their respective countries for international duty this month, a week later.

    Two prominent members of Chelsea’s senior setup, though, have in fact been spotted back at Cobham this week, evidently keen to regain match fitness as soon as possible.

    The players in question? Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

    The info comes by way of journalist Adam Newson, who reveals that the latter, in particular, was afforded ‘hardly any time off over the summer’.

    Both England internationals of course spent lengthy stretches on the sidelines last season owing to injury, with the fierce competition for places in Chelsea’s ranks having pushed both into opting for early returns to training this week.

    Chilwell, meanwhile, is already going about providing the Blues faithful with a reminder of his immense talents, having piqued attentions online owing to the following strike at Cobham this weekend:


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    Concern for Newcastle as European giants set sights on Hugo Ekitike


    Premier League outfit Newcastle United have, on Sunday, seen the club’s pursuit of Stade de Reims starlet Hugo Ekitike dealt a potentially significant blow.

    The name of attacking sensation Ekitike has of course taken its place front and centre in the headlines on Tyneside for some time now.

    This comes with the 20-year-old, after coming close to making the move to Tyneside during the January transfer window, having been widely tipped as being on the verge of linking up with Eddie Howe’s squad once more over the course of the last couple of weeks.

    In fact, several sources went as far as to suggest that a deal was as good as done, owing to an agreement being struck between the respective transfer teams at Newcastle and Reims.

    And yet, to this point, official confirmation of as much has not arrived.

    Why? The continued efforts of Ekitike’s agents to drag out negotiations, in the hope of one of European football’s heavyweights entering the fray for the Frenchman’s services.

    In turn, it will no doubt come as a concern to all associated with Newcastle to hear of word surfacing on Sunday that one such giant of the game is indeed beginning to express an interest in his signature.

    The outfit in question? Bayern Munich.

    As per journalist Manuel Veth, Ekitike has been placed ‘high’ upon the wishlist of the Bundesliga champions with a view to next season.

    This comes with the gifted young attacker viewed as a long-term replacement-of-sorts for Robert Lewandowski, expected to take his talents to Spain with Barcelona this summer.

    It now remains to be seen whether Bayern, in the end, opt to move ahead with a big-money swoop for Ekitike, in the process throwing a spanner in the works of the rebuilding project at St. James’ Park.


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    Crystal Palace confirm first summer signing


    Premier League outfit Crystal Palace have, on Sunday, made official the club’s first signing of the summer transfer window.

    The player in line to take his talents to Selhurst Park ahead of next season? Malcolm Ebiowei.

    For those not aware, teenage talent Ebiowei has piqued the attentions of a whole host of Premier League clubs this summer, owing to his performances in the Championship last time out.

    After being afforded his senior bow by Derby County boss Wayne Rooney in February, the gifted attacker quickly took the Championship by storm, shining en route to an eventual 16 appearances in England’s 2nd tier.

    Manchester United were one such club understood to have been keen on landing Ebiowei over the coming weeks, viewing the 18-year-old as a potential star in the making.

    Crystal Palace confirm first summer signing

    2J6CFWW Derby County’s Malcolm Ebiowei applauds the fans after the Sky Bet Championship match at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. Picture date: Saturday April 30, 2022.

    As alluded to above, though, on Sunday, the Red Devils, and any other clubs intent on beating Palace to Ebiowei, have seen their hopes brought to a definitive end.

    This comes with the Eagles, a short time ago, having confirmed that the English youth international has put pen to paper on terms in south London.

    As per an official statement across the club’s website and social media platforms:

    ‘Crystal Palace have agreed terms with teenager Malcolm Ebiowei, with the 18-year-old winger set to join Patrick Vieira’s squad from 1st July, when his current contract with Derby ends, on a five-year deal.’

    Ebiowei, in short order, will be joined by a 2nd free agent addition to Patrick Vieira’s ranks at Selhurst Park this summer, with West Bromwich Albion shot-stopper Sam Johnstone too long understood to have agreed to the terms of a contract with Palace.


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    Arsenal could net financial windfall as newly-promoted side eye fringe star


    Arsenal could be set for a tidy financial windfall as Premier League newsboys Nottingham Forest are eyeing one of their fringe stars, it has been reported.

    Forest have already been active in the market this summer as they prepare to stave off relegation. They have broken their transfer record to sign striker Taiwo Awoniyi from Union Berlin and are also aiming to wrap up a deal for Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson who has previously shone in the top-flight with Sheffield United.

    Now, the Daily Mail report that Nottingham Forest are weighing up a move for Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

    Maitland-Niles would spend the second half of 2021/22 on loan at Serie A side AS Roma, for whom he featured on 12 occasions in a number of positions.

    view Maitland-Niles as a replacement for wing-back Djed Spence who helped the club win promotion last season during his loan spell from Middlesbrough but now looks set to join Tottenham on a permanent basis.

    And whilst AMN has previously suggested he would rather be used as a central midfielder than as a wing-back, the majority of his appearances for Roma last term did come as a left or right-wing-back.


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    No potential transfer fee is mentioned in the report. But as Maitland-Niles is still only 24 and English, Arsenal should be able to net a decent transfer fee for the midfielder, even if he is out of contract at the Emirates next summer.

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    West Ham closing on two arrivals with two more being eyed

     

    A series of updates surrounding the efforts of the transfer team at West Ham United to reinforce the club’s squad ahead of next season have been forthcoming over the course of the last 24 hours.

    The Irons, to this point, have secured a solitary signing this summer, in the form of highly-regarded Stade Rennais defender Nayef Aguerd.

    This, though, is not to say that the powers that be at the London Stadium are not hard at work to add yet more fresh blood to David Moyes’ ever-improving panel of players.

    As per a whole host of sources, the Irons are closing on the free agent capture of Jesse Lingard, ahead of the imminent expiration of the midfielder’s Manchester United contract.

    A fresh round of negotiations between the two parties earlier this week is understood to have given rise to optimism that a definitive agreement will soon be struck, with English international Lingard primed for a return to east London just 12 months on from seeing a hugely productive loan spell with West Ham come to a close.

    And set to join Lingard in the English capital over the coming weeks is another altogether familiar face for the Hammers faithful.

    The player in question? Alphonse Areola.

    Shot-stopper Areola of course spent this past season on loan at the London Stadium, acting as backup for first-choice Lukasz Fabianski.

    Evidently, though, across limited game-time, the Frenchman did enough to prove his talents to boss Moyes, now all set to put pen to paper on a five-year contract with West Ham, as part of an £11 million deal.

    And yet, as per Sky Sports, the Irons’ transfer team are considering proposals for two more Premier League stars, too, in the form of Chelsea hitman Armando Broja, and Southampton standout James Ward-Prowse.

     

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    Emerson reveals why he gets mad with Antonio Conte

    Emerson Royal has this weekend discussed Antonio Conte’s training methods.

    Emerson joined Tottenham last summer from FC Barcelona, and endured something of a nightmare start to life in England, being run ragged by Wilfried Zaha as Spurs lost 3-0 vs Crystal Palace.

    He would continue to struggle during the early months of his stint in the Premier League, and was often mocked by Arsenal fans, who assured that their side had signed the better right-back in the form of Takehiro Tomiyasu.

    However, over the second half of the campaign, Tomiyasu suffered serious injury issues, whilst Emerson slowly grew into his role as a wing-back and ended 2021/22 in solid form.

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    Now, in a recent interview, Emerson has been discussing Antonio Conte’s training methods, and how they have helped his physical condition.

    “There are some physical training, sometimes we do a strong training, it ends, and I finish the training dead,” Royal revealed in an interview with ESPN Brasil.

    “I arrive at training the next day, and he’s [Conte] like, ‘Emerson, I didn’t like your training yesterday.’ It’s not possible, then I start to get mad already. ‘How did you not like my training yesterday? I gave life, finished training dead’.

    “But then I’ll check the GPS, I’m fine, better than many, among the best. Then I’ll say, ‘look at my GPS’. ‘No, but you can do a lot more’.

    “Then I finish training frustrated. He says, ‘you see, that’s how you have to train’. We do the physicals, and he just keeps shouting my name. But that’s good. It shows that he wants to help me.”

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    Chelsea readying fresh Raheem Sterling proposal


    A fresh insight into the ongoing efforts of Chelsea to land Raheem Sterling from Premier League rivals Manchester City has been provided on Sunday.

    Surprise speculation linking wide-man Sterling with a move to west London, of course, first began to surface across the media last week.

    Amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the futures of all of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, Chelsea are understood to have identified Sterling as a potential addition to the club’s ranks ahead of next season.

    The English international often found himself on the outside looking in when it came to City’s most important fixtures this past season, sitting behind the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden in Pep Guardiola’s attacking pecking order.

    Chelsea readying fresh Raheem Sterling proposal

    Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday May 8, 2022. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

    With just a year remaining on his contract at the Etihad, it would therefore make sense for the transfer team on the blue half of Manchester to look into the possibility of moving Sterling on this summer, to avoid potentially losing him for nothing in 12 months’ time.

    And, if the latest word stemming from the media on Monday is anything to go by, then Chelsea appear keener than ever to take advantage of this situation.

    As per a report from transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Blues are readying a fresh offer for Sterling, set to be tabled over the coming days.

    This comes after the powers that be at Stamford Bridge saw an initial proposal totalling €25 million plus bonuses rejected out of hand by their counterparts at the Etihad.

    New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, meanwhile, is now fronting the negotiation process, on the back of the departure of Marina Granovskaia.


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    Manchester United handed potential transfer boost

    Manchester United finally appear to have been handed something of a boost on the transfer front.

    The Red Devils have been mocked continuously this summer for their inability to get a deal over the line for Frenkie de Jong, and also because of reports claiming that Christian Eriksen is undecided on whether to make the move to Old Trafford, or return to Brentford.

    Now, though, it appears as though Manchester United have been given the green light to sign Hoffenheim left-back David Raum.

    Hoffenheim coach Andre Breitenreiter, and sporting director Alexander Rosen, have admitted that defender Raum could leave the club this summer amid interest from United.

    “I would prefer to keep him. At the end of the day, it depends on what the market looks like and what chance the player has,” Rosen explained on Raum.

    “If a top club comes and he gets the opportunity, then, of course, we will sit down with him. In the end, it’s always about an exchange based on trust.”

    Manager Breitenreiter, meanwhile, added: “It’s not a problem for me.

    “We have already had contact. He should rest now for the time being. But it’s no secret that I prefer to have him with me.

    “I am the coach and want to have the best players in my team, but there are also always club interests. For me, that’s not a problem.”

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    Who is David Raum?

    Most Manchester United fans will have had their first look at Raum earlier this month when England took on Germany.

    The left full-back was on Nations League duty with Die Mannschaft, where he impressed in a 1-1 draw with England in Munich.

    For Hoffenheim, meanwhile, Raum was signed on a free transfer and since enjoyed a superb debut season, netting three and providing a staggering 13 assists from left-back and left-wing-back last term.

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    Fulham lead the race to sign Juventus defender


    Word stemming from the media on Sunday points towards Premier League outfit Fulham as leading the race for a member of the backline of Serie A heavyweights Juventus.

    The player in question? Luca Pellegrini.

    For those not aware, Pellegrini, a 23-year-old left-back, spent this past season plying his trade back in Turin, on the back of a series of loan spells away from parent club Juve.

    And, all told, the once-capped Italian international went on to enjoy a solid campaign, racking up 21 appearances across all competitions whilst acting as a capable rotation option with the vastly more experienced Alex Sandro.

    Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri, though, has evidently been left unconvinced of Pellegrini’s credentials as a long-term option at the Allianz Stadium.

    In turn, reports in the Italian media this summer have long pointed towards the defender being made available for transfer in the case of a sufficient offer arriving on Juventus’ table.

    And, as alluded to above, such a proposal could yet be forthcoming by way of the Premier League.

    This comes amid suggestions that a frontrunner has emerged in the Pellegrini sweepstakes, in the form of top-flight returnees Fulham.

    The info comes courtesy of the Gazzetta dello Sport, who name the Cottagers as leading a number of English clubs in the race for the talented defender.

    London rivals West Ham United are also understood to be keeping a close eye on the situation, but it is Fulham who appear closest to meeting Juve’s demands of somewhere in the region of €10 to 15 million.

    Pellegrini, for his part, is said to have green lighted a Premier League switch, excited by the prospect of playing abroad.


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    Manchester City set to tie winger to new contract

    Riyad Mahrez is ready to sign a new long-term deal and effectively commit the rest of his career to Manchester City, it has been reported.

    A number of City attackers, including Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, have been heavily linked with an Etihad exit this month.

    Yet despite being 31 and having just one year left to run on his current deal, it appears as though Mahrez will not be amongst those departing Manchester this summer.

    Instead, The Sun report that there are plans to open talks with Mahrez over extending his contract, which currently sees the Algerian earn around £160,000-a-week.

    It is added that Mahrez would like to see out the rest of his playing days at City, eyeing a three-year deal with an option for an extra year on top of that.

    Mahrez’s Manchester City stint

    Riyad Mahrez would begin his career in England by making history with Leicester City. The year after barely staving off relegation, the Foxes caused the biggest upset in Premier League history by going on to win the league title in 2015/16.

    Mahrez then, of course, made the move to Manchester City in the summer of 2018.

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    The attacker departed Leicester for the Manchester outfit for a fee believed to be around the £61m mark.

    And, since making the switch to the Etihad, Mahrez has played a key role in the continued success of Man City.

    The Algerian has helped the Sky Blues to secure three league titles, an FA Cup, three League Cups and a Community Shield.

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    Leeds United line up Red Bull duo as Kalvin Phillips replacements


    Leeds United are lining up RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams and RB Salzburg’s Mo Camara as potential replacements for Manchester City bound Kalvin Phillips.

    The talismanic Leeds midfielder is set to join Pep Guardiola in Manchester this summer, in a deal worth up to £45m.

    Jesse Marsch has already added Bayern Munich midfielder Marc Roca to his ranks in a deal worth around £12m, but will be looking to further strengthen in central midfield following Phillips’ departure.

    And, to that end, The Yorkshire Evening Post have reported that a pair of RB targets are in his sights, with Tyler Adams and Mo Camara currently playing at German side RB Leipzig and Austria’s RB Salzburg respectively.

    Marsch took Adams to Leipzig, and would be keen to work with the American again should the chance emerge, while he has already raided RB Salzburg twice this summer for Brendan Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen for a combined £40m.

    Camara is thought to be a pricier option, but should sales go through as expected, money may not be a problem for the Lilywhites this summer.

    Raphinha deal heats up

    Brazilian winger Raphinha is expected to follow Kalvin Phillips out of the door this summer, with Arsenal thought to be leading the race for the 25 year old.

    The Gunners have already seen one bid rejected, but are set to return with an improved bid and other interested parties seem to have concluded that Mikel Arteta’s side are in the driving seat for the wide man.

    Should he also depart, there would be plenty of money to reinvest into the first team, but there will be major holes to fill.


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    West Ham closing on Jesse Lingard reunion


    West Ham United are closing on a deal for the club’s 2nd signing of the summer transfer window, according to reports.

    The latest player in line to take his talents to east London? Jesse Lingard.

    Midfielder Lingard, of course, will soon officially become available as a free agent.

    This comes after long-time club Manchester United released a statement earlier in the month, confirming their decision not to renew Lingard’s terms ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

    A whole host of clubs, in turn, are understood to have expressed a keen interest in the signature of the English international, who just twelve months ago was coming off some of the finest form of his career.

    Such form, of course, came during a loan stint in England’s capital, whilst on the books of none other than the aforementioned West Ham.

    After being handed a free role as an attack-minded midfielder in David Moyes’ ranks, Lingard quickly went about reminding his widespread doubters of his unquestionable talents, en route to nine goals and four assists across 16 appearances in the colours of the Irons.

    And now, as alluded to above, it appears as though a reunion could be on the cards.

    As per a report from the Daily Mail, ‘West Ham are close to sealing a free transfer for Jesse Lingard’.

    A fresh round of negotiations between club and player is understood to have taken place earlier this week, giving rise to optimism that an agreement on the terms of a contract for Lingard at the London Stadium will soon be reached.

    Should the transfer team at West Ham ultimately manage as much, then the midfielder’s arrival would mark the 2nd summer reinforcement to Moyes’ squad, on the back of the big-money arrival of defender Nayef Aguerd from Stade Rennais.


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    Everton set sights on pair of Chelsea midfielders


    Word stemming from the English media on Saturday points towards Everton expressing a keen interest in the services of two members of Premier League rivals Chelsea’s midfield ranks.

    The Blues stars in question? Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher.

    The info comes courtesy of the reliable Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, who suggests that those in a position of power at Goodison Park have set their sights on the returning members of Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

    Both Gilmour and Gallagher, of course, spent this past season out on loan, with Norwich City and Crystal Palace respectively.

    The latter’s stellar form at Selhurst Park means that he is widely expected to be afforded a chance to stake his claim for a first-team berth back at Chelsea ahead of next season.

    Everton set sights on pair of Chelsea midfielders

    LEICESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 10: Conor Gallagher during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Crystal Palace at The King Power Stadium on April 10, 2022 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

    Scottish international Gilmour, though, could well be farmed out once more, after enduring something of a hit-and-miss stint with Norwich, en route to the Canaries’ eventual relegation to the Championship.

    Everton, in turn, could look to take advantage of the situation, a move which would of course see the 21-year-old reunited with former boss Frank Lampard.

    An exchange deal of sorts also cannot be completely ruled out between the respective boards at Everton and Chelsea.

    This comes with the latter continuing to express an interest in the signature of Richarlison, albeit with the Brazilian, at present, viewed as a backup option behind priority target Raheem Sterling.


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    Angel Di Maria speaks out over future amid Juventus & Barcelona links


    Soon-to-be free agent attacker Angel Di Maria has, on Saturday, provided a brief update on his future beyond the summer.

    Argentine international Di Maria, of course, has seen his name take centre stage across the European media over the course of the last couple of weeks.

    This comes with the 34-year-old facing a decision when it comes to his next landing spot, on the back of the expiration of his contract in France with Paris Saint-Germain.

    To this point, the club most hotly tipped as a potential landing spot for Di Maria have been Italian giants Juventus.

    After falling well short in the Scudetto race for the 2nd year running, and with all of Paulo Dybala, Federico Bernardeschi, Alvaro Morata and Moise Kean in line to depart Turin this summer, the Bianconeri view Di Maria as necessary proven quality in the final third.

    And yet, despite lengthy negotiations between the two parties, the transfer team at the Allianz Stadium have been left frustrated in their attempts to finalise an agreement with the veteran winger.

    Such frustration on Juve’s part comes with outlets in Spain having continued to push the line that Di Maria is holding out hope for a return to La Liga with Barcelona.

    Speaking during an interview with ESPN, as cited by Football-Italia, on Saturday, it therefore came as little surprise when the subject of his future was put to Di Maria himself.

    And, after ruling out a move to Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma, the gifted South American had the following to say regarding a potential Juventus link-up:

    “They’re the biggest club in Italy, one of the teams interested in me. At the moment I am reflecting, concentrating on holidays and family.”


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    Chelsea inform Barcelona of demands for full-back pair


    An insight into the demands laid out by Chelsea for transfer-linked defensive pair Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta has, on Saturday, been provided.

    Both Alonso and Azpilicueta, of course, have been tipped to secure a return to their home country of Spain this summer.

    This comes with La Liga giants Barcelona, amid the club’s ongoing pursuit of full-back reinforcements, understood to have set their sights on deals for both players ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

    The Blaugrana were widely reported to have been hopeful of striking cut-price deals for the two Spanish internationals, ahead of the expiration of their respective contracts in west London next summer.

    In fact, some outlets went as far as to suggest that Azpilicueta was in line for a free agent switch to the Catalan capital, only for a one-year extension in his Chelsea contract to be triggered at the last.

    Chelsea inform Barcelona of demands for full-back pair

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 28: Marcus Rashford is challenged by Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on April 28, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

    Should Barcelona have genuine hopes of landing one, or both of the Blues stars over the coming weeks, they will therefore have no option but to pay up.

    And, as alluded to above, on Saturday, an insight into precisely how much the transfer team at Chelsea would like to recoup from the two sales has been provided.

    The info comes courtesy of Spanish outlet Diario Sport, who point towards a €13 million price-tag having been slapped on the heads of Alonso and Azpilicueta alike.

    Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, is thought to have long given the green light to the former’s sale, should a sufficient offer arrive for his signature. In fact, Sport go as far as to suggest that the Chelsea boss has already identified a replacement for Alonso on the transfer market.

    It now remains to be seen whether the powers that be at Barcelona are willing to meet the demands of their counterparts at Stamford Bridge.


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    Chelsea hold talks over shock Cristiano Ronaldo swoop


    New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has explored the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Premier League rivals Manchester United, it has been revealed.

    The shock news has come to the fore on Saturday evening, courtesy of transfer expert David Ornstein.

    The reporter for The Athletic has confirmed that a meeting between the aforementioned Boehly, and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, took place last week.

    During the discussion, the subject of the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future was brought to the fore.

    This came as Boehly, it is understood, drew Mendes on the chances of Ronaldo swapping Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

    Chelsea hold talks over shock Cristiano Ronaldo swoop

    Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Norwich City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 16, 2022 (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

    It is not clear exactly how Mendes responded to the inquiry, with the seriousness of Chelsea’s interest, as a result, up in the air at present.

    Manchester United, for their part, fully expect Ronaldo to stay put this summer, having only secured a return to the club 12 months ago on the back of a spell in Italy with Juventus.

    And though the Portuguese himself remains committed to the Red Devils cause, he is also understood to harbour concerns when it comes to the direction in which the club is moving.

    This comes with the transfer team at the Theatre of Dreams, of course, yet to add a single new face to the ranks of incoming boss Erik ten Hag ahead of the new season.

    One to keep an eye on over the weeks ahead…


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    Man United hopeful of center-back improvement amid need to downsize in defense


    The Erik ten Hag regime has hardly kicked off without a hitch at Old Trafford this summer as Manchester United continue to struggle with securing vital reinforcements under the Dutch tactician after a frustrating 2021-22 Premier League campaign.

    United were always expected to go through a serious rebuilding program under Ten Hag, who guided Dutch giants AFC Ajax expertly during his four-and-a-half-year tenure in Amsterdam, but as the club’s biggest domestic rivals have all begun to strengthen their positions this summer, the Red Devils have yet to secure any new signings despite losing Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matić, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard.

    One area that United have not been stripped of depth in has been defence, and as reported by Simon Peach (chief football writer at PA Media), there is a sentiment in the Red Devils’ camp that the club’s current defensive options may be able to kick on and improve under Ten Hag over the course of his first season at the helm.

    At current, United boast twelve defenders across the back line, certainly bloated by comparison to other sides in the Premier League, but there could be potential for players the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, and Eric Bailly to prove their capability to come on line under new management.

    Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned players – among others – have truly lived up to the level required of a club of Man United’s stature both domestically and on a global scale, and there may still be a need for the club to bring in reinforcements that raise the level of quality in defence.

    With six center-backs and four left-backs in the first team squad at current, adding further unnecessary depth to an already overflowing back line would constitute poor financial management commensurate with United’s already questionable spending in recent years, and surely, the club will have to make room if they are to make good on links that have persisted this summer.

    United have already been regularly linked with Ajax’s Jurriën Timber, David Raum, Denzel Dumfries, and a cadre of others.

    Ten Hag will also want to add quality in other areas of the pitch, as well, and jettisoning a handful of defenders unfit for service under his command could certainly provide funds that could immediately go back into securing deals for potential defensive upgrades to help the club get back on track in the Premier League.


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    Watch: Ben Chilwell steps up recovery with brilliant goal at Chelsea training ground


    Footage stemming from the training ground of Premier League giants Chelsea will no doubt bring a collective smile to the club’s fanbase on Saturday afternoon.

    This comes with defender Ben Chilwell having been spotted finding the net in altogether spectacular fashion.

    English international Chilwell has of course not featured in Chelsea blue since all the way back in November of last year.

    This comes owing to an altogether untimely ACL tear picked up by the former Leicester City man during a Champions League group stage meeting with Juventus.

    In the midst of one of the finest spells of form of his Stamford Bridge stint, Chilwell was therefore ruled out long-term.

    Watch: Ben Chilwell steps up recovery with brilliant goal at Chelsea training ground

    LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23: Ben Chilwell lies injured during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Juventus at Stamford Bridge on November 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

    In something of a feel-good story, the 25-year-old actually managed to mark his return to first-team duties at Chelsea late last month, in featuring off the bench for the closing minutes of the Pensioners’ final day Premier League meeting with Watford.

    Chilwell, though, for obvious reasons, remains some way off full match fitness.

    Ahead of Thomas Tuchel’s squad reconvening for pre-season training early next month, it will therefore no doubt come as music to the ears of the Chelsea faithful to hear of their gifted left-back providing a reminder of his talents on Saturday afternoon.

    In footage to have come to the fore on social media a short time ago, Chilwell can be seen taking part in a group training drill.

    After being picked out 25 yards from goal, the Englishman cuts inside onto his trusty left foot, before bending a sumptuous pinpoint effort into the top left-hand corner.

    Check out footage of Chilwell’s moment of brilliance below:


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    Gareth Bale set to join forces with Giorgio Chiellini in MLS


    Iconic Welsh international Gareth Bale has, on Saturday, come to a decision on his next, and potentially final club destination.

    Th outfit set to snap the 32-year-old up? Los Angeles FC.

    As per a host of breaking reports this afternoon, Bale has agreed to the terms of a contract with the MLS side, primed to put pen to paper on a deal at the Banc of California Stadium upon the expiration of his current terms with Real Madrid at the end of the month.

    The once explosive wide-man will join forces with another great of European football in the United States, with Italian legend and Euro 2020 winner Giorgio Chiellini having too opted to take his talents to LA this summer on the back of his free agent departure from Juventus.

    Bale’s decision, of course, comes with the veteran attacker no doubt keen to rack up as much regular game-time as possible with a view to the end of the year.

    The one-time Tottenham Hotspur standout is set to lead his country into their first World Cup finals for over half a century in November, after Wales emerged triumphant from a playoff showdown with Ukraine earlier this month.

    His contract in Los Angeles is understood to be based around an initial 12 month commitment, followed by the option for a further 18 months.


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    Chelsea to miss out on Jules Kounde as defender set to wait for Barcelona


    Chelsea may be set to miss out on a long-term transfer target this summer as French international center-back Jules Koundé is reportedly hopeful of a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.

    Reports in Spanish outlet Sport have stated that Koundé is set to resist interest from both Chelsea and Newcastle United this summer, as he has his heart set on a move to Barça. This comes despite the Magpies being fully prepared to pay whatever it takes to capture the Frenchman, while the Blues – despite their interest – have turned to other squad priorities for the time being.

    With Chelsea in the midst of trying to secure defensive replacements after losing both Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen to free transfers away from Stamford Bridge, the Blues have been hopeful of securing Koundé since last summer, but a desire to remain in Spain now seems preferable, albeit with Barcelona potentially set to struggle in their own right to get any deal over the line depending on other factors in the market.

    There is still a chance that Barcelona could re-sign French winger Ousmane Dembélé, and if he does bite down and sign a contract extension at the Camp Nou, it is likely that Barça will entirely avoid a move for Leeds United star Raphinha and could then mobilize those funds for a move for Koundé.

    Should Dembélé walk, however, then the club would continue to prioritize the signing of an attacking player, throwing any interest in Koundé out the window.

    If a move to Barcelona is out of the question, Chelsea would surely jump in the lead ahead of Newcastle, as both Premier League clubs would have a clearer path to a potential deal.


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    Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva hands Barcelona transfer blow


    Bernardo Silva is reportedly happy to remain at Manchester City this summer and beyond in a major blow to Barcelona’s plans, which in turn could cast doubt on Manchester United’s move for Frenkie de Jong.

    Reports suggested that, should De Jong leave, Xavi would look to make a move for Silva as a replacement, with the Barcelona boss thought to be a massive fan of the Portuguese midfielder.

    For his part, it was thought that Silva was also keen on a move to the Camp Nou, but, in fact, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    According to The Athletic, Bernardo Silva’s family have all spoken of the player’s happiness at the Etihad.

    ‘All the feedback they got was incredibly positive, highlighting how the Portuguese was enjoying his game and life in Manchester again’, they report.

    Should Barcelona be keen to strike a deal, it would likely cost in excess of £75m, following his exceptional season in Manchester.

    Manchester City agree Phillips deal

    Meanwhile, the Cityzens have agreed on a deal to take Kalvin Phillips from Yorkshire to Manchester this summer, it was revealed on Friday.

    The Leeds United midfielder will join Pep Guardiola’s side in a deal worth up to £50m if all add-ons are reached, with a base fee of £42m guaranteed for the 26-year-old.

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    Kalvin Phillips has played his last game for Leeds United, with a move to Manchester City now close to completion (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

    He will join to replace the departed Fernandinho, and will provide competition and cover for Spanish midfielder Rodri at the base of the Cityzens’ engine room.

    Now, attentions turn to left-back, with Brighton’s Marc Cucurella the no.1 target for Pep Guardiola this summer.


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