Eden Hazard is due to return to training with Chelsea today as speculation persists that the Belgian could be on his way to Real Madrid this summer.
The 27-year-old asked new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri for the extra time off following his World Cup exertions with Belgium, who he helped to a third-place finish at the finals in Russia.
Hazard has been linked with a move to Spain, with his contract at Stamford Bridge expiring in the summer of 2020.
Hazard’s team-mate, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, could also be targeted by Real Madrid and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is waiting to hear from him on Monday.
Agent Christophe Henrotay has publicly pleaded with Chelsea to allow Courtois to leave for Madrid this summer, but Sarri said after Sunday’s Community Shield that he wants to speak to the player before deciding if he should remain in his plans.
English clubs only have until 5pm on Thursday to add to their squads, but could still lose players after that with the deadline in the big European leagues still set at August 31. Full Story
Willian has rejected Manchester United and Barcelona and will instead stay at Chelsea.
United had been set to launch a last-ditch bid to land Jose Mourinho’s top target.
Mourinho was set on beating Barcelona to the punch for the Brazilian attacker before the transfer window shuts on Thursday.
But the 29-year-old is now set to stay at Stamford Bridge after talks with new boss Maurizio Sarri.
After Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in the Community Shield, the Brazilian broke his silence over talk he could leave the club this summer.
“This is just the beginning,” he told football.london. “I’ve been only in three training sessions. We have a new season with a new philosophy, everything is new for everyone. But this team has everything to improve in all aspects”
Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui will not allow Luka Modric to leave the club this summer.The Croatian has been linked with a move to Inter Milan following an impressive World Cup.But Lopetegui expects to have Modric at his disposal for the Spanish Super Cup clash against Atletico next week.
He said: “Modric’s an extraordinary player, we await him with open arms. I talked to him after his excellent World Cup and we’ll see if he can play on August 15.
“I told him he was a player I’m passionate about, I love him and he knows it. He’ll be happy with the proposal he receives here. He’ll be happy to play football, like he already was, at Real Madrid. Luka is a Madrid player and will continue to be, I have no doubt. We’ve enjoyed having him and we’ll continue to do so.” Full Story here
Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon is similarly surprised more suitors have not emerged for .
Only Celtic have bid so far for McGinn, who set up Hibs’ second goal in a 3-0 win over Motherwell on Sunday, but the Edinburgh club have rejected three offers.
Brighton and Blackburn have also been linked with interest in the 23-year-old Scotland midfielder, who is in the final season of a four-year deal, and Lennon is braced for movement before the English transfer deadline at 5pm on Thursday, hours before his side’s Europa League clash with Molde.
“The only concrete bid we have had is from Celtic and that hasn’t met our valuation,” said Lennon after praising his side’s “marvellous” performance in their Premiership opener.
“I would be amazed if we didn’t get more offers in for him. He is outstanding, he is at the peak of his powers, and he has handled the situation brilliantly. That speaks volumes, not only of the player he is, but the personality as well because it can’t be easy for him. He was outstanding again.
“But he has a value. It’s a bit like Van Dijk’s situation, I couldn’t understand why no-one took a punt on him earlier.
“He is one of the best I have worked with in terms of what he brings to the team and his influence. If he does go, he will leave a huge hole. But whether he is here on Thursday or not, it’s going to be a fraught couple of days.”
Maldini back at Milan
Paolo Maldini has been named AC Milan’s Sporting Strategy & Development Director.
The club legend made his debut in 1985 and went on to win 26 trophies over a stunningly successful 25 year career.
Milan’s executive Paolo Scaroni said: “There are few words to describe what Paolo Maldini represents for AC Milan. It was a privilege watching him as a player, winning countless trophies on the pitch, and I am excited and honoured to be working with him today in this new role.
“Paolo’s leadership and experience will benefit the club greatly, as will his passion and energy. Today’s appointment is yet another sign of Elliott’s commitment to build a strong foundation for long-term success.
“It will not be easy and it will take time, but we have ambitious objectives, and Paolo’s appointment is an important step toward returning AC Milan to where it belongs.”
Mullen wants chance to prove himself
St Mirren striker Danny Mullen is ready to welcome added competition in Paisley after insisting he belongs in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Buddies boss Alan Stubbs is set to step up his pursuit of fresh attacking options this week.
But Mullen wants the chance to prove he can lead the line for the Championship winners in the top flight.
He opened his Premiership account on Saturday as his double fired Stubbs’ newly-promoted side to a 2-1 opening day win over Dundee.
Mullen has no problem with his manager looking for fresh faces – but will not be handing over his jersey without a fight.
The former Livingston frontman said: “I feel myself that we need another striker in.
“There is a bit of speculation about Ross Stewart leaving but for me, it’s all about healthy competition for the team.
“Hopefully I’ve done enough to stay in the starting line-up.
“I feel I’ve got a point to prove. I’ve always felt I belonged in this league and that I can do it at this level. “I’ve worked my way up, I’m here now and I just hoping I can kick on from these first two goals.”
Burnley have clinched the £15million signing of Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough.
The Teessiders confirmed the centre-back, 25, had joined the Premier League side on Sunday.
A product of Boro’s academy, he joined as a 12-year-old and made his first team debut against Coventry City in 2011.
That was the first of his 203 appearances for his hometown club, the last which came at Ipswich on the final day of last season when he made his 250th appearance of a career that also included loan spells with Plymouth, Tranmere, and York City.
He was an integral part of the record-breaking backline on which Boro built the promotion success in the 2015/16 season and was one of only three top-flight players not miss a minute in the Premier League in 2016/17.
Gibson, who played 50 times for Boro in the Championship last season, will now link up with Sean Dyche’s side ahead of their Premier League opener against Southampton on Sunday.
West Ham are battling Arsenal for the transfer of Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes – and may have an ace up their sleeve.
The Irons are prepared to offer 18-year-old wonderkid Domingos Quina as a sweetener in any deal for the Portuguese playmaker, 25.
Barcelona hold a longstanding interest in Quina, considered one of the most exciting young wingers in Europe, reports football.london.
And according to Mundo Deportivo , Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini could offer the Portuguese youngster – who previously spent time in the academies of Benfica and Chelsea – as a makeweight in a deal for Gomes.