In Brief

Chelsea transfer news: Dembele boost for Conte

Reports say prolific Celtic striker prefers move England over return to his native France

The prospect of Moussa Dembele playing in the Premier League has increased with the Daily Star reporting that the player they describe as a "Celtic sensation" would rather head to England than France.

The 21-year-old French frontman scored 32 goals in 48 games last season in the admittedly third tier competition that is the SPL.

His eye for goal has nonetheless made him the object of Marseille's affections but, according to French broadcaster RMC Sport, Dembele "doesn’t want a return to his homeland".

He'd rather head to the Premier League and that's good news for Chelsea, who are still on the look-out for a striker. Arsenal were also namechecked as potential suitors but their failure to qualify for the Champions League means they're a less attractive proposition for Dembele, who knows London well having signed for Celtic from Fulham 12 months ago. 

Asked about the latest rumours, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers said: "I counted the other day, Moussa has been linked with 10 clubs. It was Marseille the other day, I saw Arsenal the other week, there was Paris Saint-Germain, there was Chelsea. So there is nothing in it from our perspective." 

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror provides an update on the Diego Costa saga, reporting that the Spanish striker is currently in Brazil doing his "pre-season training on the beach". 

Describing Costa as being "in limbo", the Mirror says that he's no closer to finding a club after being told by Antonio Conte he's surplus to requirements at the Bridge. 

The Sun,  which also carries photos of Costa cavorting on the sand, says that "a return to former club Atletico Madrid is very much on the cards", although their transfer ban has complicated matters.

Chelsea transfer news: Steven N'Zonzi to replace Matic?

25 July

The latest player to be linked to Chelsea is Sevilla playmaker Steven N'Zonzi, reports Italian website Calciomercato.com. The problem for the Blues is that they face stiff competition from Juventus, who are also on the lookout for midfield reinforcements.

The Italian champions have been negotiating over the summer but apparently talks have stalled because Juve are refusing to countenance Sevilla's €40m release clause. Attempts to haggle the Spanish side down have failed and that's breathed new life into the Blues bid, particularly as Italian rag La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the 28-year-old Frenchman wants to leave Spain.

How Chelsea fans will react to the news that their club is considering paying £40m for a former Blackburn Rovers and Stoke midfielder, who was worth just £7m when he joined Sevilla in 2015 after six seasons in England remains unclear.

But if he does arrive, then it could be at the expense of Nemanja Matic. The Daily Star says that the Blues are "willing to sell" Matic to Manchester United despite interest from Juventus.

Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of the Serbia international and he's been linked with a move for the 28-year-old this summer. According to the Star, however, Juve are now circling and a bid is expected this week.

Finally, the Daily Express says that Antonio Conte has joined the race to sign Virgil van Dijk between and also has three others players lined up in a £250m spending spree.

The Dutch defender is widely expected to leave Southampton this summer and although Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with van Dijk, the Express claims that Conte is targeting him, along with Juventus blocker Alex Sandro and Inter Milan's Antonio Candreva. The fourth member of the quartet is Swansea striker Fernando Llorente, who the Express says Conte wants as back-up for recent signing Alvaro Morata.

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