Footy Extras

Revealed: Chelsea had Atletico number one on wishlist two years ago

The error of judgement that saw the Premier League giants Chelsea miss out on Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak has come to light.

The Slovenia international was at the top of the west Londoners’ target list in the summer of 2018, but the club instead brought in Kepa.

The decision to pay out a record-breaking sum for Kepa has proved to be disastrous, with the Spanish star making a catalogue of errors.

These errors saw Chelsea sign, Edouard Mendy, last year for £22 million, with the French star now the first-choice keeper.

Though new head coach Thomas Tuchel has opened the door to a return for Arrizabalaga, Chelsea supporters will be forgiven for dreaming of what might have been had talks gone differently two and half years ago.

Goal report that Los Rojiblancos were demanding £16 million more from Chelsea for the landing of the shot-stopper.

With Thibaut Courtois switching to Real Madrid, Chelsea were searching for a new man to become their No1.

Though they first eyed Allison, the Blues quickly turned their attention to Jan, who is widely considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

During that summer, Jan had an £87m release clause in his deal, with manager Diego Simeone refusing to accept anything less than that price.

The Blues though were unwilling to splash that much on a stopper and decided to instead seek an alternative.

That alternative was Arrizabalaga, who himself had a sizeable exit clause in his deal at Athletic Bilbao of £71m.

But the English side decided that that fee was one they’d be willing to pay and so Kepa, not Los Rojiblancos man, arrived at Stamford Bridge.

The decision to not part with an extra £16 million proved to be a stunning error of judgement from the Blues’ hierarchy.

26-year-old loanee likely to make Chelsea return this summer

When midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko arrived on loan at the Serie A club Napoli from Chelsea, he was received quite warmly.

After all, the French star was seen as the key to shoring up the defence in Gennaro Gattuso’s side, and he started off well.

There was even early talk that an €18 million gentleman’s agreement between Napoli and Chelsea had been pre-agreed for a future transfer without being confirmed as official in the terms of the loan.

Last month, there was still hope that a switch would be possible, with Bakayoko’s agent revealing ‘great openness and willingness’ to completing the transfer to Napoli, but it now appears this might have abandoned.

The Partenopei are in a terrible run of form, winning just one of their last five matches, and there does not appear to be any end in sight.

Napoli’s most recent defeat came in a 4-2 loss to Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta at the weekend, and Bakayoko did not impress, as Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport both give him a 4.5/10.

In fact, the latter go as far as labelling the player ‘slow and awkward’ as well as accusing the former Monaco youngster of missing an easy ball on which La Dea’s Muriel pounces for the third goal.

Furthermore, an article from local outlet Area Napoli see Tiemoue’s entire experience in Naples as ‘significantly disappointing’, and while Bakayoko’s initial loan was strongly supported by Gennaro, it is unlikely that chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis will decide to invest more money on the midfielder.

Chelsea still watching situation involving AC Milan shot-stopper

Chelsea are keeping a close eye on the contract situation of AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, whose contract runs out at the end of the term, according to a recent report from 90min.com.

The 22-year-old Italian has been the first-choice goalkeeper for the Rossoneri since breaking into the side as a 16-year-old six years ago.

Till date, he has racked up 232 appearances for his side, managing 82 shut-outs in the process and is the undisputed first-choice shot-stopper for the Italy national team as well.

However, Gianluigi’s future at San Siro has been a subject of intense talk for quite some time now as the gifted custodian had entered the final year of his contract at the start of the campaign.

The Blues are said to be keen admirers of the Italy international and are now again closely following his situation.

Nevertheless, the report adds that the Blues are keeping tabs on the 22-year-old, as are reigning French giants Paris Saint-Germain as well.

Gianluigi, for his part, is involved in talks over a fresh deal with AC Milan. He wants to become the highest-paid shot-stopper in the world, leading to an impasse in talks.

Another problem is the duration of the deal, with the board wanting to tie him down till 2026, but entourage Mino Raiola not interested in committing more than three years.

It remains to be seen as to how discussions between Donnarumma and AC Milan progress and if they don’t yield the desired results, it’ll be interesting to see if Chelsea make a move in the summer.

Chelsea speed up plans to sign Germany defender in deal worth £26m

Chelsea have ‘contacted’ Bayern Munich over a summer deal for defender Niklas Sule, reports say.

The Blues are after a new cenre-back in the summer, as boss Thomas Tuchel plans to strengthen his back line.

The 25-year-old has under 18 months remaining on his Die Roten contract.

And because of financial restraints brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the burly German star could be sacrificed at the end of the campaign.

According to Todo Fichajes, Thomas is keen on acquiring his fellow countryman, and the Blues could fork out £26 million for his signature.

They also state that while boss Hansi Flick is ‘reluctant’ to sell Niklas, other people within Bayern are ‘not satisfied’ with his ‘attitude’.

Chairman and club icon Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, however, is not one of them – and recently opened the door to handing Niklas a new deal.

Rummenigge said: “We want the good German national players at FC Bayern. Niklas still has one year of contract.

“We will hold talks and see where they lead. We will look at it seriously and calmly until the summer.

“If we find a solution, we are generally happy to extend the contract, but that will only be possible under certain conditions.”

The 29-cap defender has impressed since signing for Bayern in 2017 but has seen his career already blighted by two ACL injuries.

Sustained in the 2014-15 term, the first saw him miss half of the season as Sule was making his name at Hoffenheim.

And the second suffered two years ago, ruled him out of 35 games last term, only returning to action in August for the delayed UCL run-in.

Things have been brighter this time around, with Niklas so far managing 25 appearances across all competitions for Flick’s side.

Chelsea will not consider Uruguay icon as potential summer signing

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has dismissed his side’s chances of signing Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez.

Following Barcelona’s decision to parts ways with Suarez last summer, Thomas and Paris Saint-Germain were keen to land the Uruguay international.

However, the former Liverpool attacker opted to remain in Spain and sign for Los Rojiblancos where he has quickly become a crucial part of Diego Simeone’s team.

‘It was a possibility. We heard the rumours he was about to leave Barcelona, and who cannot be interested in signing one of the best strikers in world football history and the present?’ the German tactician said.

‘We tried our luck, we did not make it. He decided to stay in Spain, move to Atletico, and has proven his quality.’

Quizzed if he would consider bringing Suarez to Stamford Bridge this summer, Tuchel replied: ‘I don’t know.

‘That was down to a particular moment and he maybe would’ve been a fit to our squad in Paris. Now things are different.

‘He is under contract now at Atletico Madrid and it’s not worth thinking about it, honestly. I haven’t and the possibility is high we won’t think about it.’

Elsewhere, Chelsea have allegedly stepped up their interest in landing Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule.

The arrival of manager Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge is expected to lead to a host of comings and goings during the next transfer market, including in defence where Chelsea haven’t performed with any consistency.

With defender Thiago Silva now 36 years of age and multiple players having failed to justify their places in the long term, it becomes visible that Tuchel is beginning to assess his options.

According to Fichajes, the Blues have already made contact with Die Roten regarding a potential €30 million (£25.93m) deal for Sule.

Chelsea pursuing defender who has €45m exit clause in Leipzig deal

Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool are all interested in landing RB Leipzig’s French star Ibrahima Konate in the summer transfer market, according to a recent report from German publication BILD.

The 21-year-old defender came through the academy at Paris FC and spent his formative years with FC Sochaux before joining RB Leipzig back in 2017.

The towering centre-half immediately became a mainstay in the defence for the Saxony-based side and even though injuries have hampered his development throughout the past year or so, his stock has not fallen.

So far, Ibrahima has featured in 87 games for Die Roten Bullen, contributing with four goals.

The 21-year-old ace is contracted with the Bundesliga side till the summer of 2023 but has an exit clause worth around €45m, which the aforementioned clubs are now thinking about triggering come summer.

The Blues have shown great solidity defensively ever since manager Thomas Tuchel took over the reins of the club in January.

However, Chelsea must look for a long-term replacement for the Brazil international Thiago Silva, who will turn 37 in the near future.

In addition, Fikayo Tomori’s long-term future is also uncertain, with the English star currently out on loan at AC Milan, who have the option to make his move permanent.

So, bringing in a new central defender to bolster their ranks in the summer makes a lot of sense for them, with Ibrahima emerging as a viable target.

It now remains to be seen if Chelsea or their league rivals do launch an offensive for Ibrahima come summer.

Chelsea preparing first offer for in-demand Norway international

Chelsea have decided they will lodge an opening bid in the region of £78m in the summer transfer market in a bid to sign the Norwegian.

Erling is considered as one of the most exciting players in the world and will have an exit clause in his deal from next year onwards.

The Blues have apparently made the Norway international their top transfer target ahead of the summer.

Chelsea have been tipped to go all-out for the Norwegian attacker, with boss Thomas Tuchel apparently set to move for a new striker.

Erling is viewed as one of the best youngsters in the world, having shot to fame in the last two seasons.

The Norwegian is on fire again this campaign, having scored 25 goals in 24 matches across all competitions.

He has a buy-out clause in his deal which will be active from 2022 onwards, reports say.

He’ll apparently be available for just £65m when the release clause is valid, a relative bargain given his potential.

Haaland is worth £99 million according to Transfermarkt, and it seems there will be a host of teams lining up for his services next year.

For that reason, the Blues want to get ahead of the queue and will eventually make a bid to sign him this summer.

WinSports claims Chelsea will offer £78m in a bid to get the player to sign in the upcoming window.

The Blues are not the only team interested, however, as Real Madrid have also been tipped to table an offer.

30-year-old Spanish star keen on penning fresh Chelsea deal

Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso is reportedly hoping to put pen to paper on a contract extension at Stamford Bridge after his resurgence under the German manager Thomas Tuchel.

The Spanish star was left out in the cold by former Blues chief Frank Lampard and had not featured since September before Tuchel arrived at the club last month.

But Marcos has been a regular feature in the new coach’s side, starting in five of his first seven matches in charge, and is thriving again in a left wing-back position.

The 30-year-old’s current deal isn’t due to expire until June 2023, but according to a recent report from the Sun, he is hoping to renew his deal by another year.

The report adds that Alonso was pondering over a possible transfer to another PL team or a switch back to Serie A until his predicament at the London-based club improved following Tuchel’s appointment.

Elsewhere, Chelsea are allegedly planning to make a £78m offer for Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Braut Haaland this summer.

The 20-year-old ace is enjoying an outstanding season with Dortmund, contributing 23 goals from just 21 games in the Bundesliga and Champions League.

BVB will be powerless to retain the services of the Norway international if any club activates an exit clause which goes live in 2022.

However, according to WinSports, the Blues are determined to win the hunt for the emerging star by signing him at the end of the campaign.

While the alleged sum being considered by Chelsea is above Haaland’s asking price, Die Borussen are expected to wait for higher proposals with Real Madrid and Manchester City also monitoring the current situation.