Serie A Giants Lining Up Move for Maurizio Sarri if Chelsea Fire Ex-Napoli Boss

​Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is reportedly being lined up for the Roma hot seat should he be shown the door at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian has failed to build on his good start to life in England and is now feeling the heat more than ever after a below par season for the club’s extremely high standards.

Maurizio Sarri

Former ​Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri was appointed as Roma’s interim head coach until the end of the season and, according to Goal, the ​Serie A club have expressed an interest in replacing him with Sarri should Roman Abramovich axe the 60-year-old.

Sarri’s future in west London looks in the balance after a rather unsuccessful season to date, but he can revive some trust if he delivers ​Champions League football to Chelsea next season.

The Blues currently sit sixth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed ​Arsenal, and their 8-0 aggregate win over Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League makes them strong contenders for lifting some European silverware.

However, with Abramovich’s cut-throat managerial policy looming large, the Italian is already walking on thin ice in 2019 after missing out on Carabao Cup success to ​Manchester City and performances in the league have dwindled with a recent 2-0 loss to ​Everton.

Maurizio Sarri

Add to that the serious questions marks raised over Sarri’s control over the squad – following his spat with Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in that cup final loss – and the discontent shown amongst the Chelsea faithful about ‘Sarri-ball’.

A key relationship in pushing the deal forward is between Sarri and Roma advisor and former ​Tottenham Hotspur technical director Franco Baldini, with the pair growing close during​ Napoli’s signing of Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches from Spurs.

Sarri’s close ties with those at Roma would put him as one of the favourites to take over at the Stadio Olimpico but he has denied there was a deal in place to take him to Italy.

Maurizio Sarri

“I have a contract with Chelsea for the next two seasons, so it is impossible to have another contract,” he said. “I read in an Italian newspaper something about a meeting with Baldini but I think for the moment Franco is in South Africa, so it is very difficult.”

Given Abramovich’s impatience and the apparent discontent at Stamford Bridge, his tenure beyond this season hangs in the balance and a move to Roma could offer the Italian a chance to rebuild his reputation.

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Transfer Rumours: Kovacic Set for Premier League Stay, Everton Eye Rondon, Roma Keen on Nacho & More

​The international break might be in full swing, but so is the never ending cycle of transfer rumours. From the very best sensationalist claims – including those few supposed ‘ITK’ Twitter accounts who have a masked football agent as their profile picture (seriously?) – to the ones actually borderline realistic, there is nothing more that football fans love more than basking in the fantasy land of transfers.

So, with today being a new day, here’s the latest round-up of some of the biggest transfer rumours from around the world.


Milan Open Talks With ‘New Steven Gerrard’

Nicolo Barella

Compared to both Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo, Nicolo Barella is seemingly on his way to ​Milan. The Cagliari midfielder was linked with a move to Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea in both the summer and winter transfer windows earlier this season, but is now on the verge of making the step up to a more established ​Serie A side.

According to Sky Italia (via ​SempreMilan), the Rossoneri have begun negotiations over a potential move for the Italy international, but could face an intriguing battle with city rivals Inter for his signature.

The report further claims Barella carries a price tag of around €50m on his shoulders, and with his most ardent Premier League suitors Chelsea facing a transfer ban, the 22-year-old looks set to stay in Italy for the time being.


Everton Plan on ‘Hijacking’ Newcastle Deal for Salomon Rondon

Salomon Rondon

Not satisfied with having one inconsistent striker in their ranks in Cenk Tosun, reports now suggest ​Everton are considering making a move for Salomon ‘leaps like a salmon’ Rondon. 

The Venezuelan has admittedly done well in his time with ​Newcastle, netting nine goals in the league this year and, according to the ​Daily Star, has done enough to attract interest from the blue half of Merseyside.

The report claims if Rafa Benitez leaves St James’ Park this summer or is denied the £16m needed to make Rondon’s loan move permanent, then the Toffees could well sneak in to pounce. 


​Manchester Clubs to Battle Over Ronaldo

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Carlos Tevez 2.0? As per the ​Evening Standard, both City and United could be locked in another high-profile transfer war as they target Benfica’s latest young prodigy, the oh-so brilliantly named Ronaldo Camara. A bit of Cristiano, and a bit of Henri. Destined for the top this one.

The 16-year-old attacking midfielder is considered one of the most sought-after talents in European football, and has featured for Portugual’s Under-17s side.

The report adds ​City are the current frontrunners for Camara’s signature, and are hopeful that the prospect of joining their much-vaunted academy and working under Pep Guardiola might just swing things in their favour.


Caglar Soyuncu Set to End Leicester Misery With Return to Turkey

Leicester City v Southampton - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Linked with a move to Arsenal last season, and seen as one of the Bundesliga’s brightest defensive prospects, Soyuncu’s star has fallen somewhat dramatically.

Since arriving in a £19m deal from Freiburg last August, the Turkish international has featured just three times for the Foxes in the ​Premier League, and will face added competition for a centre-back spot when Filip Benkovic returns from his loan spell at Celtic.

According to the ​Leicester Mercury, Soyuncu has been given a potential escape route back to more familiar waters, with Fenerbahce keen on bringing the 22-year-old back to Turkey as a replacement for the out-of-contract Martin Skrtel. 


Roma Keen on Nacho Fernandez After Real Madrid Spend Big on Eder Militao

Nacho Fernandez

Despite sporting director Monchi leaving the Giallorossi to go back ‘home’ to Sevilla, Roma are still pressing on with their transfer plans for the summer.

With ​Real Madrid agreeing a €50m deal to sign Porto’s highly rated centre-back Eder Militao, Spanish publication ​AS claim Nacho Fernandez might be one of the victims of Los Blancos’ summer overhaul.

The Spaniard’s contract expires in the summer of 2020, and despite being a Madrid youth product, an exit from the Santiago Bernabeu looks on the cards, with Roma the current frontrunners.


Jean Seri Set for Quick Fulham Exit

Jean Michael Seri

​Fulham went all in last summer with some big moves in the transfer window for their return to the top-flight, but unfortunately for the Cottagers, it has been a massive bust. Two managers sacked before the end of the season, and now, per ​The Guardian’s Ed Aarons, Jean Seri looks set to lead an inevitable player exodus.

The Ivorian’s capture was seen as a real coup at the time, with ​Arsenal and Barcelona interested in the midfielder, but has struggled to replicate the form he displayed whilst at Nice. It now appears the 27-year-old might be on his way back to France, and with Fulham braced for relegation, Seri’s departure might be the first of many.


Chelsea to Turn Down Permanent Mateo Kovacic Move & Eye Matias Vecino

Mateo Kovacic

In one of the most inconsequential transfer moves of the entire season, just what on earth has Mateo Kovacic done at Stamford Bridge this season? Apart from being the perfect symbol of Maurizio Sarri’s failed ‘Sarri-ball’ approach?

Despite his struggles on the pitch, ​MARCA report that the Croatian is intent on making himself a hit in the Premier League, even if that means somewhere other than for the Blues. They add that he’s been made to feel ‘comfortable, happy and important’ in England, and that several English sides have already registered their interest.

In better news for ​Chelsea, Tuttosport (via ​Sport Witness) claim that Inter midfielder Matias Vecino has ‘become a target’ for the Blues, and at €30m, could be set for a reunion with a manager he previously played under at Empoli.


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9 Pre-Roman Abramovich Cult Chelsea Heroes of the Premier League Era You’ve Probably Long Forgotten

​Let’s put this to bed once and for all: Chelsea were not a terrible side before Roman Abramovich took over. 

Of course, they weren’t winning league titles, but in the build-up to the Russian billionaire’s arrival, the Blues secured seven top six finishes on the trot, including three in the top four. And a host of cup wins to boot; that’s hardly Manchester City territory, now, is it?

Anyway, the west Londoners are now a massive, global football club with supporters scattered across the world, and it seems crazy to think they were on the brink of going bankrupt before Roman rocked up in SW6.

Back in the day, Chelsea had a host of exotic talents arrived at the club as the Premier League era was beckoned in, but sadly many of them have been unforgivably forgotten over the years.

Well now, we’ve unearthed eight of the club’s finest cult heroes for your delectation and appreciation, so sit back and enjoy!


9. Carlton Cole

Cole shoots past Jaaskelainen

For a while, Carlton Cole was to ​Chelsea fans what Harry Kane was to ​Spurs in the early stages of his career – a bright, new dazzling youth academy prospect who would go on to unparalleled glories with club and country for decades to come. 

While this might turn out to be the case for the latter, young Carlton never really made the grade at ​Chelsea. Still, he was heartily encouraged during his four season spell with the Blues, and ended up with seven England caps to boot! That’s one less than Matt Le Tissier, people.

He went on to spend most of his career with ​West Ham United, before finishing up with Indonesian side Persib Bandung, as one does.


8. Winston Bogarde

Winston Bogarde, Sammy Koejoe

To be honest, I seldom go a day without thinking about Winston Bogarde, and the £10m in wages he picked up over four years, while making just 12 first team appearances.

The defender arrived at Stamford Bridge to much fanfare and excitement – a CV boasting spells with Ajax, ​AC Milan and ​Barcelona, plus a solid 20 caps for the Netherlands national side, what could go wrong?

A lot, basically. Bogarde never played, and no club could afford his wages (though to be fair, ​he did actually want to go out on loan), so he did basically nothing for four seasons.


7. George Weah

George Weah

Yes, he was only at Chelsea for one season on loan, that can’t be denied. But, he only went a scored a derby winning goal against ​Spurs on his debut! And for that, he makes the list.

He went on to net a solid five goals in 15 games for the Blues, and despite being over the hill, went down an absolute storm with the Chelsea faithful.

What’s he up to these days, you ask? Bit of coaching perhaps? Maybe tending a nice little portfolio of stocks and shares? Nah, mate. He’s just the ​President of Liberia!


6. Mikael Forssell

Mikael Forssell

Speaking of goals against Spurs, here’s Mikael Forssell, who, after leaving Chelsea, once scored a hat-trick against the north Londoners for Birmingham City. What a boy!

Anyway, his time with the Blues was more frustrating than anything else, as he failed to live up to his great potential.

Still, the Finnish flop did has some excellent outings in a royal blue shirt, before becoming one of the founding members of the club’s notorious ‘Loan Army’.


5. Jody Morris

Patrick Vieira and Jody Morris

What a busy bee this cheeky chappy was back in his playing day!

Jody Morris went on to be a youth coach at Chelsea (he’s now at Derby with some fella called Frank Lampard), but back in his heyday he was part of the most unrelentingly cockney central midfield partnership in Premier League history, whenever paired alongside Denis Wise..

Unfortunately for Morris, he could never get a look-in, as Roberto Di Matteo, Didier Deschamps and Gus Poyet were all above him in the pecking order. A real pity, it must be said.


4. Jesper Grønkjær

Jesper Gronkjaer

Jesper Grønkjær was an extraordinarily frustrating player; capable of terrorising defences with his dribbling skills, he’d dazzle his way through the backline, before – much like Theo Walcott – fluffing his lines at the last minute, and either skewing his shot wide or ballooning his cross out for a throw in.

Still, ol’ Jesp was a real fans favourite at the Bridge, and his dynamic style of play was perfectly complimented by Damien Duff on the other wing. Eventually, he was moved on in place of Arjen Robben, which was, to be fair, a sound decision.


3. Ed de Goey

Ed de Goey

It’s about time we had a goalkeeper in the mix, isn’t it?

Right then, here’s superb stopper Ed de Goey, who excelled for Chelsea a solid four seasons, before being eventually phased out to bring in Carlo Cudicini, who was, in truth, a better keeper.

Anyway, de Goey won a mighty five trophies between the sticks at Stamford Bridge – more than could be said for, say Thibaut Courtois. We are counting the old Charity Shield here mind…


2. Mario Melchiot

Mario Melchiot

Speaking of the Charity Shield! Who was it who scored his first Chelsea goal to win his side that very same prestigious competition against ​Manchester United? You’re absolutely right, Mario Melchiot.

Unfamiliar with the defensive live-wire? Why, he’s only the right-back Cafu could have been.

The Netherlands ace was a full-back stalwart for the Blues, before José Mourinho committed a crime even more severe than letting Mohamed Salah go, and sold Super Mario to Birmingham City. Shame on you, José!


1. Celestine Babayaro

Celestine Babayaro, James Scowcroft


I’ve had some rotten first days at jobs in my time; in my teenage years, a chef pinned the blame on me for suffocating some mussels in a fridge with clingfilm. It was him (I was surprisingly well clued up on health and safety regulations) and I will one day have my sweet vengeance.

Think that’s a bad first day? That’s got nothing on Nigerian ace Celestine Babayaro, who managed to break his leg on his pre-season debut for the Blues, after trying to perform his iconic backflip celebration after his side scored (nope, it wasn’t even his goal) against er, Stevenage Town!

The tenacious left-back went on to be a regular fixture in the side for a whole nine seasons. A true and unappreciated Chelsea great, that’s for sure!


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Transfer Rumours: Hudson-Odoi to Liverpool, Spurs Eye Gomes, Barça Want ‘New Pogba’ & More

Did you really think the international break would stop the rumours train? Oh no. Nothing stops the rumours train. It’s like the train in that Denzel Washington film where the train doesn’t stop… except at the end, when it stops.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of the latest transfer rumours from around the web…


Liverpool Still Keeping an Eye on Callum Huson-Odoi

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Callum Hudson-Odoi is still a wanted man in Germany, with not only Bayern Munich but Borussia Dortmund keen on a summer move for the teenage prodigy.

While you may have heard that already, the new claim courtesy of ​SportBild (not to be confused with Bild) is that ​Liverpool too are keen on CHO.

The report focuses on the German clubs’ interest but throws in a teasing mention of the Premier League leaders, claiming they ‘have kept an eye on Hudson-Odoi’.

It’s a tantalising claim. However, links to Liverpool were previously shot down by Liverpool ITKs, while the likelihood of ​Chelsea (who are being obstinate enough with the Germans) selling to a domestic rival, while potentially under a transfer ban, seems next to nil.


Kieran Tierney Plays Down Links to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester

Brendan Rodgers,Kieran Tierney

Meanwhile Celtic full back Kieran Tierney insists he has not been in touch with former manager Brendan Rodgers over a summer move south of the border to ​Leicester City.

Rodgers took the likes of Joe Allen and (ahem) Fabio Borini with him from Swansea to Liverpool and Kolo Toure from Liverpool to Celtic, and he is already being tipped to bring some familiar faces to the King Power Stadium this summer.

However, 21-year-old Tierney – who has been linked with a whole host of Premier League clubs – told the ​Evening Times that he has had minimal contact with Rodgers since his departure.

“No, I’ve not seen him since. I had a few text messages just after he left but that’s it,” Tierney said. So there.


Atletico Enter Race for Juventus & Man Utd Target Ruben Dias

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​Atletico Madrid are the latest club to be named as interested in Benfica defender Ruben Dias.

The 21-year-old centre back has picked up a host of admirers this season as Benfica sit pretty at the top of the Portuguese league. Those admirers include the likes of Juventus and ​Manchester United (which defender isn’t linked with United currently?), as well as Atletico.

According to Madrid daily ​AS, Atleti officials have been following Dias with ‘great attention’.

The Portugal international reportedly has a release clause of €60m in his contract for any club wishing to bypass the tedious process of negotiation.


Barcelona Eye ‘New Paul Pogba’

Lucien Agoume,Pakia Ware

Ruben Dias isn’t the only target Juventus won’t have a free run at this summer, with ​Barcelona tipped to challenge the Old Lady for 17-year-old Lucien Agoume.

The Cameroon-born France youth international midfielder currently plays for FC Sochaux and has 13 Ligue 2 appearances this season, but you already knew that didn’t you… you hipster.

Most intriguingly, ​Calcio Mercato – who bring word of Barça’s supposed interest – claim that Agoume is considered the ‘new Pogba’. No pressure then.

Meanwhile, the ​old Pogba has waxed lyrical about Barça, calling them ‘a team I always watch’, ahead of Man Utd’s Champions League showdown.

Could we have an Old Pogba-New Pogba midfield double act at the Camp Nou in years to come?


Everton Face Competition for Andre Gomes

Ross Barkley,Andre Gomes

And finally, Everton may not get a clear run at Andre Gomes this summer with Premier League rivals Tottenham apparently ready to dust off the old chequebook and try to tempt the Portuguese midfielder to New White Hart Lane/Tottenham Hotspur Stadium/Insert Sponsor Name Here.

​The Sun reckon that while Barcelona are keen to sell, Gomes’ eye catching displays for the Toffees mean there could be a bidding war, which is probably the best kind of war.

Inter have also been tipped to make a move for the £20m-rated midfielder.


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Eden Hazard Admits Zinedine Zidane Is His ‘Idol’ as Belgian Hints at Move to Real Madrid Again

​The prolonged saga linking Eden Hazard with a move to Real Madrid in the summer has another chapter, after the Belgian spoke about his admiration for Los Blancos’ boss Zinedine Zidane, admitting the Frenchman is the reason he started playing football.

Hazard is out of contract next summer, and speculation linking him with a move to the Spanish capital has been rife throughout the season so far, particularly following Chelsea’s recent dip in form and Real’s change in management. 

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Although the player has kept his cards close to his chest over a potential move, frequently ​reiterating a desire to focus on his immediate future in London, he admitted to his admiration for the returning ​Real boss in a recent interview with Belgian broadcaster RTBF, via AS.

Currently on international duty, when asked who he’d prefer to work with out of Zidane and Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, he said: “As a player there’s no comparison, I have so much respect for Zidane, he’s my idol. It’s thanks to him I started playing. 

“But for the victories we’ve achieved with Martínez I’d go with Martínez.”

Zinedine Zidane

Back in February, the ​Chelsea forward told journalists that ​he had already made a decision on his future, while a ​report last week claimed Real Madrid will open the bidding this summer at £70m.

Despite their disappointing season, Chelsea remain in contention for Champions League qualification and have their sights set on Europa League glory. Off the pitch however, it has been a difficult year so far, with the club slapped with a ​two-window transfer ban.

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