Chelsea eye £30m Drinkwater, but Barcelona circle Hazard
Blues ponder move for Leicester City midfielder after selling Matic and Chalobah and missing out on Sanches
With Nemanja Matic and Nathaniel Chalobah having left Chelsea in recent weeks, Antonio Conte is scouting high and low for midfield replacements and the latest name to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge is Danny Drinkwater.
According to the Daily Star the Premier League champs "are willing to pay £30m" for the Foxes midfielder, who is said to be "excited by the prospect" of a move to the capital.
It's no secret that Conte wants to bring a few more homegrown players to the Bridge and although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was at one time mooted as a possible target it looks like he'll be staying at Arsenal for at least another season. Hence the interest in England international Drinkwater who, says the Star, was first courted by Chelsea 12 months ago.
Instead Conte went for N'Golo Kante but now the Italian wants to reunite the former Leicester teammates. Drinkwater is "open to a move to Chelsea following his six-year stay in the Midlands" and while Leicester are reluctant to keep selling off their title-winning squad of two seasons ago, the board nonetheless realise it would be foolish to turn down an offer in the region of £30m, particularly as jettisoning Drinkwater would "help ease their wage bill which swelled significantly following their Premier League title win".
And according to Italian sources another reason for the renewed interest in Drinkwater is because the Blues have drawn a blank in their pursuit of Renato Sanches. Apparently Chelsea wanted to take the Bayern Munich midfielder permanently but the German giants said it was a loan deal or nothing. With the clubs unable to agree, Mediaset Premium reports that the Portugal international is now likely to be farmed out for a season to AC Milan.
Talking of AC Milan, The Sun says that Chelsea "could end up paying Diego Costa £185,000-a-week until January". Why? Because he cannot sign for Atletico Madrid until the new year because of their transfer ban and the Spanish striker is set to snub the prospect of a loan move to AC Milan.
The Italian outfit are keen on hiring Costa until January, when he could then head back to Atletico Madrid on a full-time basis. But the plan is not to Costa's liking and so it seems the Blues are going to be lumbered with him for the next five months.
And Chelsea are not immune from the chaos caused by Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain. The Sun joins in the wild speculation as to who Barcelona will look to sign with the £198m they are about to bank. According to the paper one of their targets is Eden Hazard and Nou Camp officials "have already asked a third party to sound out the Belgian forward over a potential move to Spain".