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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Photo: New Chelsea signing trains with his team-mates at Cobham

       Ross Barkley appeared to be in good shape as he continued training at Cobham this week following his transfer to Chelsea FC from Everton. The 24-year-old England midfielder became the Blues’ first signing of the January transfer window on Friday when the west London side completed a deal to land him from Everton.

Barkley has signed a five-and-a-half year contract with Chelsea and will wear the number eight shirt for the Blues.

However, it is not yet clear exactly when he will be fully fit. Barkley has not featured at all for Everton this season due to a serious hamstring injury and Antonio Conte has not yet confirmed when he will be fit to make his debut for his new club.

Nevertheless, the midfielder seems to be in good shape as he trained with his new Chelsea team-mates again this week.

Club admit Man Utd have completed €25m transfer ahead of them - report

Sao Paulo are the latest club to end their interest in signing Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain with reports in Brazil claiming the winger is only negotiating with Manchester United.

Moura has been told he is free to leave PSG during the January transfer window having failed to make a single league appearance for the club in the league following the summer arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The Brazil international, eager to find a club that will afford him the first-team chances he needs to ensure he is selected for this summer's World Cup, has already turned down an offer to stay in France and join Nantes. Le Parisien reported on Tuesday [9 January] that the 25-year-old now feels a move to any other club in France would represent a step backwards, and for now is only considering a move to United.

Sao Paulo, the club where Moura honed a reputation as one of the game's brightest young talents before leaving for PSG in 2013, had been monitoring the situation. Globo Esporte report the club were keen on a move to bring the player back home as long as there was a "remote possibility" of the deal happening.

But according to the Brazilian publication, their sources from within Sao Paulo are not convinced Moura is on his way to Manchester.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Chelsea set to win race for 90 million French superstar

      Monaco’s are “open” to selling Thomas Lemar for £90m his month, according to the Mirror. The French international is a target for Chelsea, the Evening Standard believes, but they will likely face competition from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool’s for the pacey winger’s signature.

Monaco reportedly accepted a €100m (£88m) offer from the Gunners back in August, only for the deal to collapse on deadline day. It looks as though this will be the minimum acceptable amount for negotiations to begin for Lemar this month.

There is still doubt over whether the Ligue One side will be open to any talk of a sale in January. Last week, manager Leonardo Jardim suggested that Monaco did not want to sell any players during the current window,  but has since softened his stance slightly by stating that “many things could happen” this month.

Whether that is tantamount to Monaco being open to negotiations like the Mirror indicates, it is debatable, but it will be interesting to see what happens if Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal test the waters with a bid in the next few weeks.

Chelsea in talks over January deal for 23-year-old after message from Conte

     Rahman signed for the Blues during the summer of 2015 for £21m ($27.1m), but made just 11 appearances during his debut season and still has not played under Antonio Conte, who judged the full-back to be "too attacking" upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Rahman instead found first-team opportunities at Schalke during a season-long loan but the Ghana international suffered a serious knee injury during the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2017 which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

Schalke had been keen to strike another deal for the left wing-back last summer but that injury scuppered those plans, with the player remaining in west London to complete his rehabilitation.

Rahman is now back in training and the German side are once again interested in sealing a deal.

"One more player would be good for us, I am thinking about Abdul Rahman Baba for the left wing above all," Schalke head coach Domenico Tedesco told Kicker. "He still has a flat here in Gelsenkirchen, he knows Schalke and Schalke knows him.

"If we could him on loan from Chelsea for a longer spell we wouldn't be adverse. We are clarifying now how good his fitness is at the moment."

Schalke general manager Christial Heidel has also confirmed in the last week that he has been in talks with the Blues over the 23-year-old.

Conte has not forgotten about Rahman, however. While he remains firmly behind Marcos Alonso in the first-team pecking order, Kenedy's proposed move to Newcastle United this month could open up room for the Ghanaian to compete for a squad role – with the club reportedly hitting a wall in their attempts to sign Alex Sandro from Juventus.

Conte recently said he is "ready to help" Rahman after his lengthy setback and did not rule out the possibility of the player remaining in west London for the rest of the season.

Man Utd close to signing Ibrahimovic replacement

Manchester United have identified Andrea Belotti as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's successor, according reports. Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the season with Jose Mourinho already planning for life after the charismatic Swedish striker.

The 36-year-old is sidelined with a knee injury and is expected to leave Old Trafford at the end of his deal.

United have reportedly signalled their intention to sign a 'centre forward in his mid-20s' as a replacement.

And according to Yahoo Sport the player 'top of a list drawn up by United scouts' is Torino striker Belotti.

Despite a slow start to Serie A this season, the Reds were said to be impressed by his 26-goal haul last season and his experience with the Italian national side makes him a credible option.

However, a deal for the 24-year-old wouldn't come cheap - the Italian forward is rumoured to have a €100million release clause in his current deal.

Real Madrid star will not join Man Utd while Mourinho is manager- Report

     That is the opinion of ESPN FC pundit and legendary Liverpool defender Steve Nicol. Bale has struggled with injuries at Real Madrid in the last year, making just seven La Liga appearances this season.

The Welshman has plenty of competition for his position in the Real team when fit, with the likes of Isco and Marco Asensio pressing their cases in his absence.

Manchester United have been linked with a move for Bale in recent transfer windows and this one is no different.

But Nicol does not think he suits the style of play Jose Mourinho implements at Old Trafford.

“No, I don’t see him as a Mourinho player,” the Scot said.

“Bale is a player that you’ve got to give a lot of licence to to go and find the ball, to go and get it and then do what you do, which is score spectacular goals and use pace and all those things.

“I just don’t see him fitting in at United."

Chelsea deal confirmed, player to be presented on Wednesday

     Portuguese side Belenenses are close on signing the Chelsea forward Nathan on a loan deal, according to reports from the Portuguese press this Tuesday afternoon. O Jogo claims that the player is already in Portugal, and should be presented by the Lisbon side on Wednesday, since the club’s youth levels are playing on Tuesday.

There are no details on the contract length or if Belenenses are paying Chelsea a fee for the deal, so maybe that information could come out tomorrow once the transfer is official.

Nathan was signed by Chelsea from Atletico Paranaense on a €4m deal in 2015, but hasn’t been given the opportunity to make a go of his Stamford bridge career yet.

The 21-year-old had a loan spell at Dutch side Vitesse between 2015 and 2017, and spent the first part of the current season playing in France for Amiens.

The youngster’s contract with Chelsea runs until 2020.