Chelsea touch down for talks with Barca
Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly has arrived in Barcelona in a bid to hijack Manchester United’s move for Frenkie de Jong. The Mail reveal that Boehly went to a restaurant to meet Barca representatives to discuss De Jong and are reportedly willing to offer defensive duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso to the Catalan club as makeweights in a potential transfer for the Dutch midfielder. Chelsea have also discussed Barca pair Sergino Dest and Memphis Depay – who could be part of a straight swap for the two Blues defenders.
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Paper Round’s view: Chelsea are looking to ramp up their transfer business ahead of their pre-season tour to the United States and they travel on Saturday. Thomas Tuchel is looking to rebuild his squad after a relatively disappointing campaign and there are clearly some players at Barcelona that he fancies. Dest and Depay would be decent squad players for the west London club, but De Jong would be a game-changing signing. The Blues need to battle with Premier League rivals Manchester United if they want to sign the Dutch international, but Chelsea hold an advantage as they are competing in the Champions League next season.
Raphinha ready to make transfer decision
Chelsea are in pole position to complete the signing of Raphinha from Leeds United, according to the Standard. The west London club have had a £55 million bid accepted by their Premier League rivals, but Raphinha would reportedly prefer a move to Barcelona so is awaiting a potential bid from the Catalan club. Arsenal are also in the running to sign Raphinha and the report says that the Gunners have been snubbed by the Brazilian. However, Arsenal “have not given up hope” in their pursuit of Raphinha and are awaiting a final decision in the next 24 hours.
Paper Round’s view: The Raphinha transfer saga has gone on for a while. It’s a very strange one because Leeds have accepted a bid from Chelsea, while it seems like Arsenal are also willing to match the offer from their London rivals. There’s one thing that is holding everything up: it’s clear that Raphinha really wants to join Barcelona. But do Barca have the money? It does not seem like that is the case at all. The club were in financial crisis last summer. So where would they pull £55 million from? Raphinha has all summer to make his decision, but how long is he realistically going to wait around for Barcelona to somehow stump up the cash?
Clubs interested in James
Chelsea are hoping to tie Reece James down to a new long-term contract, according to the Sun. The 22-year-old still has three years remaining on his present deal at Stamford Bridge, but the Blues are willing to offer him a pay rise beyond his current £80,000-per-week to deter interest from Europe’s top clubs. The report reveals that Manchester City and Real Madrid both have James on their radars, so Chelsea are looking to reward their academy graduate and make sure his long-term future is committed to the club.
Paper Round’s view: Chelsea have just gone through a summer where they lost defensive duo Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen for free after their contracts expired. So, you can imagine that the club are now planning on making sure they never go through this scenario again. James is a huge asset and is growing into the role as one of the best right-backs in world football. It’s rare that you find a full-back who is an astute defender and attacker. James has the best of both worlds and Chelsea would be foolish if they failed to reward him with a new contract to keep him happy at Stamford Bridge.
Ten Hag’s golden rules at Man Utd
Erik ten Hag has not been at Manchester United long, but he has reportedly already set some strict ground rules at the club. The Mirror reveal that players will not play for the club again if they are found to be leaking information from the dressing room. The club has faced a number of problems regarding dressing-room leaks since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from his role at the club nearly a decade ago. Players will also be dropped if they are late and there will be more of a focus on the squad’s diets and fitness levels throughout the campaign.
Paper Round’s view: It is a fair rule. The club has become a circus in recent years. Too many players have attempted to leak private information to the media in a bid to get their own way and that just is not how football should work. United are desperate for a successful manager and Ten Hag has proven that he can build success at Ajax. Manchester United is a completely different level – but he needs to stamp his authority from the outright. Stick to the rules and there won’t be any problems between the coaching staff and the squad.
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