Chelsea Line Up Bid for Ajax Starlet David Neres as Club Draws Up Transfer Plans Despite Looming Ban

​Despite facing the prospect of a transfer ban for the next two windows Chelsea are still eyeing players for next season, with Ajax’s David Neres the latest player to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. 

Like most of his teammates, Neres has enjoyed a fabulous season for the Dutch side with 11 goals and ten assists in all competitions to help secure a league and domestic cup double.

David Neres

As a result, a host of players for the Champions League semi-finalists have been linked with moves away from Amsterdam this summer, with ​the Independent that the 22-year-old is no exception. 

They report that ​Chelsea are lining up a £40m bid for the Brazil international, although any proposed move is dependent on the outcome of their transfer ban given to them by FIFA.

The Blues have received a 12-month ban for breaching transfer regulations when it comes to signing young players, and are ​now deliberating whether to request the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) freeze their ban.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League

Any potential move for Neres by Maurizio Sarri’s side could be seen as them attempting to replace ​Eden Hazard. The 28-year-old has been repeatedly linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, leaving a huge void that the west London club would need to be filled.

Chelsea already signed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January, but with Pedro and Willian entering the final year of their contracts, and Callum Hudson-Odoi sidelined with an Achilles injury, reinforcements are very much needed. 


Neres, who has been included in Brazil’s squad for this summer’s Copa America, has been at Ajax since January 2017 following his move from Sao Paulo, and is contracted at the Johan Cruijff ArenA until 2022. 

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Massimiliano Allegri: 7 Potential Destinations for the Italian After Juventus Announce His Departure

​After five years, five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias and two Champions League runner-up medals, Massimiliano Allegri will leave Juventus this summer, marking the end of an era of unprecedented success at the Old Lady. 

The club only announced his departure earlier on Friday, and while the dust hasn’t yet settled, the wheels of football stop turning for no one person. 

Here are seven potential destinations for Allegri when he inevitably returns to football. 


Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde

There are obvious arguments against this one ever happening. Whether or not ​Barca will stick with Ernesto Valverde amid a ​period of ​turmoil in the wake of Champions League capitulation against Liverpool remains to be seen, but the biggest doubt over his potential appointment at Camp Nou is cast by the footballing differences between the two parties.

Allegri favours a quintessentially Italian, tactically rigid style, while Barcelona embody the footballing antithesis of that, so it’s unclear if either side would be willing to compromise in order to work together. If they found a way to make it work, then we would see one of the most successful managers of modern times take over one of the most dominant teams in Europe on their day, and everyone else in La Liga could kiss their hopes of silverware goodbye.

Still, that’s a big if. 

Probability Rating: 2/10


Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

OK, I hear you shouting at me already. Yes, ​Manchester United only handed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a three-and-a-half year deal in March, and no, I’m not entirely sure why they did that considering they still had a lot to play for. 

They’re probably regretting it now, even if they won’t admit it, and given that they haven’t won a match since that victory over Watford at the end of March, there seems like a realistic, if not quite probable, chance that Ole won’t be at the wheel come Christmas. In that event, Allegri will be one of the frontrunners, assuming he is still available.

A lot of stars would need to align for this to come off, but it’s not impossible. 

Probability Rating: 4/10


AS Roma

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Roma are one of the few major sides in Europe who are almost guaranteed to be looking for a new manager this summer, unless they shock us all and appoint Claudio Ranieri on a permanent basis.

Assuming they will be in need of a new coach, Allegri will no doubt be a topic of conversation in the Italian capital. The question won’t be over Roma’s interest, but whether Allegri is prepared to undergo the serious long-term rebuilding job required to take them back to the height of Italian football. It seems plausible, but would require Roma to put their money where their mouth is and prove their ambition to a serial winner like Allegri. 

Probability Rating: 5/10


Bayern Munich

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Niko Kovac has endured a difficult first season in charge at Bayern Munich. They are still on course to win the Bundesliga, and will do so with a ​point on the final day of the season, and should they get that over the line, they deserve credit for the bottle they’ve shown in seeing off a formidable challenge from Borussia Dortmund. 

However, they fell way short in Europe and are facing a pretty huge almost Real Madrid-sized summer rebuild. With a coach like Allegri available, with a track record of ruthless success, they may well opt to change managers for that transition. His poor record in Europe might concern some in Bavaria, but there is no club better placed for him to finally lift that Champions League trophy. 

Probability Rating: 5/10


Milan

Massimiliano Allegri

Milan seem likely to be chasing a new manager this summer, with the future of Rino Gattuso well and truly up in the air, and who better to return them to the top than the man who led them to their last Serie A back in 2011?

The allure of his former employers would undoubtedly prove tempting. They are one of Italian football’s sleeping giants and possess limitless untapped potential, although it is likely he will have offers on the table from clubs with a higher standing in modern football. However, Allegri knows the club and what it takes to succeed with them. 

Probability Rating: 6/10


Chelsea

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The jury is out on Maurizio Sarri at ​Chelsea. Their third-placed finish in the Premier League will undoubtedly alleviate the pressure somewhat, but for a club whose feeling on managers seems to sway dramatically depending on their latest result, you can’t help but feel that failure to win the ​Europa League ​final against Arsenal later this month could well lead to him losing his job.

With a coach like Allegri available, they might just decide to make the change whatever happens, since they are desperate to drag themselves up to the level of Manchester City and Liverpool. It might take more than a world class manager to bridge that gap, given the huge chasm that exists between the title challengers and the rest of the league at present, but that wouldn’t stop the Blues trying.

On top of that, they’re a club with a history of appointing Italian managers, with Sarri the sixth of his countrymen to sit in the dugout at Stamford Bridge over the last two decades. This really does just feel within the realms of possibility. 

Probability Rating: 7/10


Paris Saint-Germain

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Taking history out of the equation, a move to PSG would seem like a direct continuation of the work Allegri put in at Juventus. A club who are comfortable in their domestic dominance, needing to find an extra gear or two in order to go to the next level and win the big one in Europe. 

​Maybe Juventus were a bit closer to achieving that one than the Parisians, but the parallels are clear, and given they have badly dipped in form recently, they don’t seem too far from cutting ties with Thomas Tuchel this summer. The availability of Allegri could be the catalyst for that change.

Probability Rating: 8/10

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Transfer Rumours: Ajax Confirm Ziyech Exit, Man Utd Eye Monaco Ace, Valencia Consider Diaz & More

The Premier League transfer window is officially open, yet we’re yet to have any £100m deals confirmed by any side in England’s top flight. Yes, it’s disappointing, but there’s still plenty of time.

Right about now reports are being fired out hot of the presses, and we just can’t wait to get into a few of ’em and give you the lowdown.

Here’s Friday’s roundup of transfer rumours for your perusal…


Man Utd Locked in ‘Concrete’ Talks With Monaco Outcast

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To kick off with, ​Manchester United are looking to the future and are interested in signing Monaco youngster Hannibal Mejbri. The two parties have been in concrete discussions for several months now.

Described in ​RMC Sport‘s report as the club’s ‘great hope’, Mejbri’s relationship with Monaco has completely broken down and his family have made contact with the legal commission of Ligue 1, asking for their current contract to be abolished.

Mejbri is rated as one of the sharpest young talents around, and also has a spectacular set of locks atop his head. Hey, it all adds up.


Porto Defender Set for Atletico Madrid Switch With Personal Terms Agreed

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Porto defender Felipe is close to swapping Primeira Liga for La Liga, with reports indicating the deal is basically done.

​Atleti have lost metaphorical limb after limb in recent weeks, with Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann both confirming their respective summer exits.

Thankfully for supporters of the Wanda Metropolitano side, Diego Simeone has moved quickly to size up a replacement for Godin, with ​Record reporting he has passed a medical and agreed a three-year contract ahead of official confirmation of the €25m move.

Finally, some good news, eh Atleti fans?


Ajax Confirm Star Forward Hakim Ziyech Will Leave ‘When a Top Club Comes’

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Marc Overmars has confirmed Ajax forward Hakim Ziyech will most likely leave the club this summer, alerting a host of Europe’s elite sides.

The forward lit up the Champions League with Ajax, but he remains one of a host of players who could eave the Eredivisie champions this summer.

Overmars said, as quoted by ​the Mirror: “That [a move] will come by itself. When that happens, everyone will automatically hear it. He leaves when a top club comes.”

​Bayern Munich’s interest in the Moroccan has been reported ​previously, but apparently their curiosity has intensified according to ​Bild, as a move for Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi is now seen as more complicated than originally thought.


Chelsea Among Host of Clubs Interested in Signing 17-Year-Old MVV Maastricht Defender

Chelsea FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Chelsea are obviously interested in signing players this summer, it just depends on whether they’ll actually be allowed to.

Given their ban was for breaking rules regarding the signings of young, foreign players, it seems they’re tempting fate by going after another young, foreign player in MVV Maastricht defender Xavier Mbuyamba, according to ​Voetbal International.

The 17-year-old has trained with Chelsea’s youth teams this week, but Celtic, Porto, Bayern Munich and ​Liverpool are also thought to be eyeing the teenager up.


Valencia Considering Mariano Diaz Move if They Qualify for Champions League

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Mariano Diaz was slowly wasting away before his move to Lyon in 2017. In Ligue 1, he totally smashed it. Then ​Real Madrid bought him back. 

However, instead of taking on some of the goalscoring burden following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, however, the three evil managers to coach Real this season all decided it was appropriate not to play him very often.

Unsurprisingly the 25-year-old has been linked with a summer move and Valencia may make a move if they qualify for the Champions League, according to ​AS. They’ll reach Europe’s top club competition if they beat Real Valladolid on the final day of the season.


Diego Simeone Identifies Marcos Alonso as ‘Chosen One’ to Succeed Filipe Luis

Marcos Alonso

Remember when fans rated Marcos Alonso as the best left back in the Premier League because he scored goals? Well, his stock has dropped a fair bit ever since it was discovered that he can’t defend very well.

Which makes it all the more odd that, according to ​AS, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has supposedly identified the Spain international as ‘the chosen one’ to replace Filipe Luis, notably a very good defender and expected to leave this summer.

Knowing Simeone he’ll probably turn Alonso into Europe’s best defender, but blimey, this looks pretty ropey.


Tottenham Linked With Move for £23.5m Rated ‘New Juan Roman Riquelme’

Agustin Almendra

Tottenham are ​believed to keen on Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, but if you thought they wouldn’t be eyeing up an obscure, hipster’s choice central midfielder to bolster their ranks…well, you’re terribly mistaken.

According to ​Il Mattino, Spurs are interested in Boca Juniors’ Agustin Almendra, who’s valued at £23.5m and has been compared to Argentina legend Juan Roman Riquelme.

However, the Champions League finalists face competition from Paris Saint-Germain, Inter, Napoli and Benfica for the 19-year-old’s signature.


Ralph Hasenhuttl Eyes Ademola Lookman Reunion at Southampton Following Disappointing Season

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People thought Ademola Lookman might have a decent chance of breaking into Everton’s starting lineup this season after impressing in spells while on loan at RB Leipzig.

However, he’s been shunted to the back of the attacking pecking order, behind players like Richarlison, Theo Walcott and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and is now being targeted by Southampton for a potential summer switch, according to ​the Independent.

Saints coach Ralph Hasenhuttl coached Lookman during their time together in the Bundesliga and wanted to sign him permanently, but Everton wouldn’t budge on their £28m asking price. After a season of bench warming, that fee is expected to drop.


Leicester and Everton Consider Swoops for RB Leipzig Forward

Jean Kevin Augustin

Speaking of RB Leipzig, ever heard of Jean-Kevin Augustin? Everton and Leicester have, and both have made informal enquiries over his availability, according to ​the Telegraph.

The Frenchman, signed from PSG in 2017, is expected to fetch around £17.5m if he does leave Red Bull Arena.

Everton expect Cenk Tosun to move on in the summer following a disappointing spell at Goodison Park, while Leicester may be looking for a competent back-up for regular starting striker Jamie Vardy.

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Chelsea Delay Request to CAS for Transfer Ban to Be Frozen as Club Weighs Up Next Move

Chelsea are said to have delayed applying to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to freeze their FIFA-imposed two-window transfer ban while the appeal process is ongoing, as the club is reported to be deliberating what the best course of action may be.

As things stand, Chelsea stand accused of breaching transfer regulations when signing young players from overseas following a FIFA investigation. The club was banned from registering new players for two transfer windows and has already seen an appeal rejected by FIFA.

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Chelsea have taken the case to CAS, as did Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid when they were previously hit with similar sanctions, but the Daily Telegraph has now reported that the London club have not yet asked CAS if the ban can be suspended while it is under review.

Barcelona and Atletico both failed in their attempts to have a ban overturned when CAS upheld FIFA’s punishment, while Real only succeeded in having it shortened.

The Telegraph notes that the thinking at Chelsea may be that it is ‘better’ to start serving the ban if the club’s lawyers do not believe there is a chance it will be overturned.

In a sense, why delay the inevitable, rather than get it over and done with?

But that would only be an agreeable idea if the club believes itself to be in a strong enough position to be able to ride out two transfer windows next season without bringing in new players, especially as Eden Hazard looks almost certain to leave for Real Madrid.

Eden Hazard

It has been established that Chelsea would be allowed to confirm the permanent signings of loan players Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain if they wish, even while banned, although it was rumoured earlier this week that Chelsea have no plans to keep the latter.

There is also the fact that David Luiz has recently signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge, while Chelsea have access to plenty of players on loan at other clubs. That includes the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James, all of whom are aged 21 or younger.

On top of that, Chelsea already secured the £58m signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January, with the American a player who could potentially serve as a direct replacement for Hazard as the team’s chief creative force and attacking outlet.

Christian Pulisic

What’s more, if the individuals that Chelsea would want this summer are not on the market, it makes no sense to have the ban frozen to then not use the opportunity to sign players to improve the squad, especially if there is a chance the ban will later be enforced anyway.

If Chelsea believe they can survive next season by using players already available to them, it may the smart thing to do to just get the ban over with as soon as possible rather than pushing it back, only to have to serve it eventually, because CAS isn’t in the habit of overturning.

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Chelsea Provide Injury Update on Ruben Loftus-Cheek With Midfielder Set for Surgery

​Chelsea have offered an update on Ruben Loftus-Cheek after he sustained an injury in a charity match against New England Revolution on Wednesday, with the England international now set for surgery.

Loftus-Cheek was representing the Blues in their pre-arranged game with the MLS outfit entitled ‘final whistle on hate’, in an effort to combat the recurring discrimination in football. 

However, the event was tarnished when Loftus-Cheek went down clutching his ankle in the 69th minute, after catching his foot in the uneven surface of the pitch.

And, as revealed by the club in an ​official statement, the player will now undergo surgery, after it was discovered he had ruptured his Achilles’ tendon. The statement explained: “Ruben Loftus-Cheek has seen a specialist today (Thursday) and will have surgery on his ruptured Achilles’ tendon this evening.

“The Chelsea midfielder left the pitch during the second half of yesterday’s game in Boston, USA.”

 As of yet, it is unknown how long the 23-year-old will be absent for, but initial ​reports had claimed it could be up to a year until he is seen playing in a Chelsea shirt once more. The disparaging news comes just three weeks after fellow academy graduate Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered the same injury against Burnley in the Premier League.

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Both players have enjoyed breakout seasons at Stamford Bridge, with ​Loftus-Cheek netting a record 10 goals across competitions, while also providing a handy five assists.

This leaves Maurizio Sarri with more than a few pressing personnel concerns, with ​N’Golo Kante only just returning to training following his spell out and standout centre back Antonio Rudiger ruled out following his knee injury sustained against Manchester United.

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