Spanish giants Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have both had bids for Chelsea star Willian knocked back by the club, according to reports.
Brazilian forward Willian is now in the last 12 months of his contract at Chelsea. While the club could lose him for nothing next summer, they are keen to hold onto him – not least because they are currently serving a 2-window transfer ban so couldn’t sign a replacement.
Chelsea also sold Eden Hazard to Real Madrid last week for £88 million so can’t afford to let another experienced star leave.
Barcelona have a long-standing interest in 31-year-old Willian and tried unsuccessfully to sign him last summer. The Catalan club made three bids for him, the last of £55 million, but Chelsea stood firm and rejected it.
Now Atletico have joined the chase and both have had bids of £35 million rejected, according to Sky Sports News.
Whether either club is preparing make another bid isn’t known. They may not want to pay much more for a player the wrong side of 30 and who they could get for nothing in 12 months’ time.
Chelsea meanwhile are hopeful that Willian will commit his future to the club and sign a new 2-year deal.
Arsenal are keen to sign Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha this summer, but the two clubs are poles apart over their valuation of him, according to reports.
Zaha turned in many man-of-the-match performances last season as Palace finished comfortably in mid-table, scoring 10 goals and making a further 5 assists.
This has understandably aroused the interest of top clubs in England and Europe. Eagles boss Roy Hodgson accepts that it will be difficult to hold onto their star man, who is believed to have said he wants to leave in pursuit of Champions League football.
Arsenal are the first to show their hand, but only want to pay £40 million for him, whereas Palace want double that, according to The Sun on Sunday.
Gunners boss Unai Emery is seeing to boost his squad this summer but how much of a budget he has is dependent on whether or not the side makes the Champions League. They finished outside the automatic places in the Premier League, but if they beat Chelsea in the Europa League final they will win a place in the tournament.
Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League could also influence Zaha on whether to sign or not.
Should the Gunners qualify, then they could go back in with a better offer. They could also offer a player in part exchange, such as highly rated youngster Reiss Nelson.
Chelsea are also thought to be interested, but they are currently appealing against a transfer ban so can’t sign anyone at the moment.
Palace bosses won’t let Zaha leave on the cheap, so Arsenal will have to come back with a better offer.
Premier League side Chelsea are considering making a move for Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho this summer – but only if they manage to get a transfer ban overturned.
Coutinho has endured a difficult spell in Barcelona since his initial £106 million love from Liverpool in January 2018. While he has scored 21 goals in 74 appearances, he has been hampered by injury and loss of form during that time.
However, the Brazilian remains highly rated by Chelsea as they seek attacking options, with playmaker Eden Hazard widely expected to depart Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid this summer.
However, whether they will be allowed to make signings is unclear. Last week, Chelsea lost an appeal to FIFA against a 2-window transfer ban for contravening rules regarding the signature of young players. They are now appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The ban remains in place as legal proceedings are ongoing.
There has so far been little interest in Coutinho from England, according to Spanish radio station Cadena Sur, with only the Blues showing an interest.
If Chelsea could sign him, Barca would want to recoup most if not all of their initial outlay. They could be willing to sell as they contemplate making reinforcements after yet another failure to land the Champions League title after surrendering a 3-0 first-leg lead to lose 4-3 on aggregate to Liverpool last week.
Two matches kick off at 2pm in the Premier League today, with eyes on the Champions League places again with Chelsea and Manchester United in action.
As all 4 sides involved in the battle for third and fourth place don’t seem to want to qualify – they have all stumbled in recent weeks – a win for either side could enhance their chances of making it.
Here are the factz you need to know:
Chelsea v Watford
* An Eden Hazard double was brought for Chelsea to see off Watford, winning 1-2 at Vicarage Road earlier in the season.
* The Blues are good at home – 11 wins and 1 defeat at Stamford Bridge this season.
* Watford have won 4 and lost 5 of their last 10 PL matches.
* The Hornets have also not kept a clean sheet in their past 10 games.
* Chelsea have lost 1 and drawn 2 of their last 3 league games. They had won the three prior to that.
Huddersfield Town v Manchester United
* Huddersfield won this fixture last season – 2-1.
* However, the Terriers have lost 21 of their last 23 matches in the Premier League.
* United aren’t in form either l – they’ve lost 3 of their last 4 matches in all competitions, drawing the other.
* The Red Devils also haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 13 matches in all competitions – their worst run since 1970.
* Huddersfield have scored 9 goals in their previous 18 home matches.
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