In Brief

Chelsea transfer news: Blues target Sandro and Sanchez in bid to keep Conte

Board want to ‘prove their commitment’ to the Italian manager

Alarmed by recent rumours suggesting Antonio Conte is ready to to walk out on the club at the end of the season, Chelsea are eyeing a sensational double swoop for Alex Sandro and Alexis Sanchez.

That’s the claim in the Daily Mirror with the paper reporting that the Blues want to “prove their commitment” to Conte by splashing the cash big time in the new year. 

It’s claimed that the Blues boss was unhappy with the club’s transfer approach in the summer and is mulling a return to Italy in June with AC Milan apparently interested.

That’s caused serious palpitations in the Chelsea board room and consequently the club “are ready to make a fresh move” for Sandro.

It will mean shelling out in the region of £60million for the Juventus left-back but given their defensive inconsistency this season it’s a price worth paying.

The Mirror says that the Italian champions “rejected a string of bids” from Chelsea in the summer and are now in talks with the Brazilian blocker in the hope he’ll sign a new £5m-a-year deal. However, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is ready and waiting with his cheque book to lure Sandro to London.

If Chelsea have their work cut out to sign Sandro, the same can be said for Sanchez with Manchester City in pole position to land the Arsenal frontman.

PSG have also been mooted as a possible destination for the Chilean in the new year, but the Mirror claims that Conte now has his eye on Sanchez.

Although Alvaro Morata has adapted well to life at the Bridge, there is a lack of depth to the Blues frontline and Conte is aware that Arsenal will listen to offers in January rather than risk losing Sanchez on a free transfer when his contract expires in June.

An additional plus for Conte, says the Mirror, is that Sanchez will be eligible to play in the Champions League knockout phase because of Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the tournament this season. 

Blues linked again with Kalidou Koulibaly

3 October

Given Chelsea’s stuttering start to the season it was perhaps only a matter of time before the Blues would once more be looking to sign Kalidou Koulibaly.

And talkSPORT duly delivers with the broadcaster reporting that the Napoli defender’s agent has scotched rumours linking the Senegal stopper with a move to Stamford Bridge. 

In conversation with Radio Crc, agent Bruno Satin was asked to comment on reports that Antonio Conte was going to make a concerted effort to prise Koulibaly from Italy in January.

“We renewed his contract a year ago and it’s valid until 2021,” explained Satin. “He’s calm and happy, he’s playing for Napoli in a great team which is top of the league.”

It was reported that Chelsea failed with a £58million offer for the 26-year-old in the summer. Satin said he saw little chance of a second bid because he “loves playing in this team”.

The Daily Mirror reports that the Blues have also fallen short in their attempt to persuade Giorgio Chiellini to join them. 

Quoting Italian outlet Calciomercato, the Mirror says that the Italian international defender is poised to sign a fresh deal with Juventus that will keep him in Turin for the foreseeable future.

The Sun says Chelsea have been kicked in the teeth by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang with the Borussia Dortmund striker saying he has no intention of playing in the Premier League. 

The Gabon goal machine has been suggested as a possible Blues target on several occasions but in an interview with Telefoot he said he is “never tempted by the Premier League”. Aubameyang has also been linked to PSG and Real Madrid, but he declared he was “happy to have stayed at Dortmund because I realise that it’s my family”.

Eden Hazard set for £300,000-a-week deal

28 September

Chelsea will offer Eden Hazard a £300,000-a-week deal to keep him at Stamford Bridge, reports The Sun.  

In recent months rumours have constantly stalked the Belgian playmaker, who dazzled in last night’s dramatic Champions League victory against Atletico Madrid, that Real Madrid had their beady eye on him.

In light of those stories the Blues have decided to launch a pre-emptive strike against their Spanish rivals.

Assuming Hazard signs on the dotted line, he will “overtake Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba as the richest footballer in England” and earn bragging rights in the English top-flight, the newspaper says.

Currently on a modest £220,000-a-week at the Bridge, the 26-year-old Belgian is expected to accept the offer as he enjoys London and life at the Blues. Additionally, Real are said to be caught in two minds between making a move for Hazard or trying to lure Paulo Dybala from Juventus.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror says Arsenal are “weighing up a move” for Charly Musonda. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder is enjoying his first season in the Blues senior squad having benefited from a stint on loan with Real Betis in La Liga, and his progress hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Gunners. 

Musonda, who scored his first goal for Chelsea last week in the league cup win over Nottingham Forest, has two years to run on his current deal. 

Antonio Conte rates the young playmaker highly but Wenger hopes to tempt him across London with the promise of more regular game-time at the Emirates.

Diego Costa seals return to Atletico Madrid

22 September

So it’s done and dusted and Diego Costa is once more an Atletico Madrid player.

The news that the sulky Spanish sharpshooter has finally left Chelsea is carried by all the British media with The Guardian reporting that the 28-year-old will complete his return to La Liga “subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical”. 

Costa last played for the Blues in May’s FA Cup final and since then he’s spent most of his time in Brazil, whining about his treatment at the hands of Antonio Conte.

The Chelsea manager made it clear that Costa wasn’t part of his plans for this season but a deal between the Premier League champions and Atletico couldn’t be agreed last month.

It has now, however, with the Guardian saying that the Spanish outfit have paid Chelsea “in the region of £57million” for Costa.

The London Evening Standard is more specific, saying the deal is worth an “initial £48.4m with up to £8.8m in possible add-ons included”. 

That’s not a bad mark-up for Chelsea, who bought Costa from Atletico for £32m three years ago.

In a statement Atletico said the two clubs have reached an initial agreement that is “pending the formalisation of the contract between our club and the Spanish international forward. The English club has authorised Diego Costa to travel to Madrid in the coming days to undergo medical tests and settle his contract with our club”.

Costa, who scored 59 goals for Chelsea, won’t be able to play for Atletico until after Christmas because of their transfer ban, but the move adds spice to next week’s Champions League clash between the two clubs with the Standard saying they are “relieved to have reached an agreement”.

As for Costa, he spoke briefly to reporters at Sao Paulo airport last night as he prepared to return to Europe. Quoted by the Standard, Costa said: “I’m not upset with anybody. I have no bitterness towards anyone. Everything is cool.” 

Chelsea eye PSG star Edinson Cavani after Neymar bust-up 

21 September

There’s nothing like a dressing room bust-up to set transfer tongues wagging, and the latest unseemly squabble involves Neymar and Edinson Cavani.

The South Americans squared up at the weekend during Paris Saint-Germain’s win over Lyon, the pair unable to decide who should take a penalty, and it’s alleged they then had to be separated in the dressing room.

It’s subsequently been claimed that Neymar has demanded Cavani be sold, and Arsenal were linked to the Uruguay frontman earlier in the week.

Now the Metro says that Chelsea are monitoring events in the French capital with the paper claiming Cavani’s future is “in serious doubt”. It’s not the first time he’s been linked with a move from PSG but Metro believes he “could be offloaded as soon as the transfer window re-opens in the winter”. 

Chelsea are apparently jockeying for position at the front of the queue with Everton, Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund among their rivals.

The problem, says Metro, is that the Blues might not be able to offer Cavani a weekly start with Antonio Conte likely to use him on a rotational basis with Alvaro Morata. That might be good enough for Cavani although on the plus side for Chelsea, the Italian clubs will struggle to match his current weekly pay packet of £120,000, as will Borussia Dortmund.

Elsewhere and the Daily Mirror claims that Chelsea are on the tail of Genoa teenager Pietro Pellegri. Inevitably described as a “wonderkid”, the 16-year-old underlined his potential by scoring twice against Lazio last week and he’s being eyed up by a number of clubs. 

The two Manchester teams are said to be keen, and according to the Mirror so now is Antonio Conte.

Rafinha issues ultimatum to Bayern Munich

20 September

Chelsea target Rafinha has sent a ‘start me or sell me’ to message to Bayern Munich, reports the Metro, re-igniting the Blues’ hopes of signing the South American stopper in the near future. 

The full-back was heavily linked to Stamford Bridge in the summer and although he remained loyal to the German champions he’s intimated that every man has his price.

The 32-year-old had expected to take on more responsibility in the Bayern back-four following last season’s retirement of Philipp Lahm but instead his favoured right-back role has gone to Joshua Kimmich.

Clearly miffed, Rafinha told Bild: “I want to play, but I also have to think about my future.”

Asked what that meant, the Brazilian said he’d “had offers from England and Spain” over the summer and while he remained committed to Bayern he couldn’t rule anything out.

Eden Hazard has ruled out a switch to Paris Saint-Germain, reports after rumours once more erupted earlier in the month about a possible move across the channel. 

But in an interview with French broadcaster SFR Sport, the 26-year-old Belgian rubbished suggestions he would ever sign for PSG.

“Big stars want to play in Ligue 1, and that is a good thing,” said Hazard. “But if I am to return it will be to play for Lille – they are my club.”

Hazard left Lille for Chelsea in 2012 and with the club currently fourth from bottom in Ligue 1 it’s unlikely he’ll be returning any time soon.

Chelsea could miss out on Juventus ace Alex Sandro

18 September

They drew a blank yesterday against Arsenal and Chelsea could also fail to get their way with Alex Sandro, reports the Daily Express.

The paper says that Blues boss Antonio Conte “may be heading back to the drawing board” after the Italian press revealed that the defender was close to agreeing new terms with Juventus.

Conte has had his eye on the Brazilian wing-back for a while and speculation was rife that he would look to bring Sandro to Stamford Bridge in January.

But the Express says that the South American stopper is set to sign a new deal with Juventus this week and “remain in Turin until 2022”.

Apparently Conte actually tabled a £73million bid for Sandro earlier in the year but that was rejected by the Italian champions. Undeterred, Conte planned to have another crack at the 26-year-old in the new year but it will be to no avail.

Sandro is said to be content at Juventus and uninterested in Chelsea’s offer of riches were he to move to London. As a result, claims the Express, Conte will look elsewhere and the next name on his shopping list is Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand.

Elsewhere the Daily Star says that Robert Lewandowski is set to leave Bayern Munich in January and that news has quickened the pulse of Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. 

As the Blues demonstrated in drawing 0-0 with the Gunners yesterday, they still lack firepower up front and Conte would jump at the chance to land the Polish international.

It’s claimed by the Star that the 29-year-old is “nearing the end after questioning Bayern’s ambition” and the German giants will listen to offers after Christmas.

But while Conte is interested, it’s believed City are in the driving seat with Pep Guardiola keen to “rekindle his relationship” with Lewandowski.

The pair worked together at Bayern two years ago and they have a mutual respect which could prove decisive in any transfer tussle.

Under-fire Zinedine Zidane targets Eden Hazard

15 September 

Zinedine Zidane has been given until Christmas to turn things around at Real Madrid, reports the Daily Express, and if things haven’t improved by then the Frenchman will be told to make major changes to his squad next summer. 

Currently seventh in La Liga and distinctly unimpressive in beating Cypriot minnows Apoel in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Spanish giants look a shadow of the side that conquered Europe last season.

The Express says there are concerns within the club that Zidane should have made one or two big signings in the summer, namely Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard. Instead he stayed loyal to his squad and is already regretting the fact.

Consequently Real “are ready to step up their interest” in De Gea and Hazard with Spanish media outlet Don Balon saying that Zidane is already drawing up plans to sign the paper in the summer. Money is likely to be no object with Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema all likely to be shipped out to the highest bidder.

Still with Real Madrid and says that the European champions have moved to ensure that Isco remains in the Spanish capital. 

Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were all linked to the 25-year-old over the summer, but Isco had just signed a new five-year contract. Not only will it earn the Spain international a cool €6million-a-season but written into the contract is an eye-watering €700m release clause. 

Finally, the Daily Star reports that Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has said all the speculation surrounding Diego Costa is pointless until the new year. 

Addressing rumours that the wantaway Chelsea frontman could arrive in Spain in the coming days on a £54m transfer, Cerezo said: “Costa is a Chelsea player and until January, there is time to talk to his club and with anybody else [but] we will not do anything until January.”

Diego Costa will join Atletico Madrid this week

13 September

Diego Costa will officially join Atletico Madrid this week, reports the Daily Express, one of several newspapers to make the claim. 

Although the La Liga outfit are barred from signing players until January because of a Uefa transfer embargo, Spanish paper Marca says that the Blues “have softened their stance” and are now ready to enter negotiations with Atletico.

Apparently Chelsea will let him leave Stamford Bridge in return for £53million, which would represent a record signing for Atletico. That sum would comprise a £40m transfer fee plus £9m in add-ons and a £4m bonus payment for Costa's early release.

Negotiations are expected to be concluded by the end of the week with the Express saying that Chelsea want to get shot of their surly Spanish sharpshooter so that he “doesn’t become a greater distraction to Antonio Conte’s plans”.

Costa has reportedly landed in Spain from his Brazilian bolthole - although there were rumours last week that he was in London, which turned out to be false - and the two clubs will make an official announcement within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile ESPN says that Saudi Arabian outfit Al Hilal “hope to take advantage of Costa’s situation” by agreeing to a loan deal with Atletico that would see them welcome Costa on a short-term loan deal until January. 

That might suit all parties with the 28-year-old Costa anxious to work his way back to match fitness so that he can play his way into Spain’s World Cup plans next year once he’s free to play for Atletico.

Besiktas plan audacious loan bid for Diego Costa

7 September

The next day or so could decide the short-term future of Diego Costa, says talkSPORT, with the broadcaster claiming that Turkish Super League giants Besiktas are “pressing forward with audacious plans” to land Costa from Chelsea on a loan deal.  

Turkey’s transfer window closes tomorrow and apparently there are frantic negotiations going on with Besiktas “ready to offer him first-team football until January”. 

According to The Sun, the sulky Spanish sharpshooter jetted into London on Tuesday after his self-imposed exile in Brazil to discover that in his absence Chelsea had moved his plush car from the senior squad car park to the development squad's lot.  

That told Costa all he needed to know about his diminished status at the Premier League champions. The Turkish club’s interest could therefore work out well for all parties.

Costa is keen to start playing football again, ahead of his expected January move to Atletico Madrid. A short spell in Turkey would keep him fit and also remind the Spain manager of his credentials ahead of next year’s World Cup. 

Meanwhile the Daily Star claims that Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all considering whether to make a move for Bacary Sagna. 

In the case of the Gunners, it would mean re-signing the French defender, who left the Emirates for Manchester City in 2014, but the 34-year-old has also caught the eye of Antonio Conte.

The experienced right-back is out of contract and Conte believes his savoir-faire in the back four could be a boon to the Blues as the club juggles domestic football with their return to the Champions League.

Diego Costa on verge of Bridge return

6 September

Diego Costa may be prepared to bury the hatchet in the Stamford Bridge turf and return to the Blues, says The Guardian

According to the paper, the Spanish striker is “on the verge of ending his self-imposed exile from Chelsea” having realised he’s doing himself no favours by idling away his time in Brazil.

Earlier in the week it was claimed that Atletico Madrid had started to suggest it might be in his best interests to return to London in order to stay in shape for what it expected to be his move to La Liga in January.

That was then followed by a warning from Spain manager Julen Lopetegui that Costa “risks missing the World Cup in Russia next summer if his future is not resolved”.

According to Spanish paper Marca, the warnings have had the desired effect and Costa flew into London on last night and the paper claims he could be seen at Chelsea's training ground later today. 

With Atletico banned from transfer activity until January, the only option for Costa is to make his peace with Chelsea. That would also ease the financial hit he’s enduring with the Guardian reporting that the Spaniard is “incurring fortnightly fines while he continues to remain absent without leave”.

Chelsea have demanded his return to the Bridge and while they are in negotiations with Atletico about a January move, “both clubs are understood to have impressed upon the player the need to return to London and reintegrate himself into professional football”.

Marca says that Costa will spend the next few months training with the Chelsea reserves, working on his fitness and ensuring he is in the best possible shape in January when he’ll finally secure his long-awaited return to Atletico Madrid.

Was switched-off phone the reason for Ross Barkley's decision?

5 September 

Did Ross Barkley back out of a move to Stamford Bridge because Antonio Conte had his phone turned off on deadline day?

That is the claim of former Burnley midfielder Joey Barton, who told talkSPORT the word on the grapevine was that the Everton midfielder couldn’t get through to the Chelsea manager last week, and therefore called off the move.  

“I heard a really interesting thing about what happened with the Ross Barkley transfer,” said talkSPORT pundit Barton.

“Conte turned his phone off and Barkley’s representatives were trying to contact him. He wanted to say, ‘Look, where am I going to play?’, and Conte turned his phone off.

“That is why Barkley got cold feet and never signed. He thought, ‘Well, if the manager isn’t answering the phone to me he clearly doesn’t want me’, and that is why he went back to Everton.”

According to the Daily Express, the move collapsed despite Everton having agreed a £35m deal for Barkley. The paper disputed the player’s claim - made on social media over the weekend - that he “simply decided that due to my injury, it would be best to make a decision on my future and assess all my options in January when fully fit”. 

Meanwhile, the fate of Diego Costa appeared to have been sealed, with the Spanish striker omitted from Chelsea’s 25-man Champions League squad, says the BBC. His exclusion means he won’t be cup-tied for the knockout stage of the competition, making him a more attractive signing for potential suitors in the New Year. 

Atletico Madrid still confident of Diego Costa deal

4 September

Of all the summer transfer sagas none caused as much speculation as Diego Costa's situation at Chelsea, and it seems that the story will continue to run for the rest of the year. 

The Daily Mail says that Atletico Madrid are still confident of sealing a deal for the unwanted Blue in January, but in the meantime they "will encourage the striker to make his peace with Chelsea and help the transfer over the line". 

Barred from dabbling in the summer transfer market because of financial impropriety, Atletico have been in regular contact with Chelsea about finding a solution to Costa's predicament.

He remains in Brazil and shows no intention of returning to Stamford Bridge following his massive fall-out with Antonio Conte earlier in the summer.

The Mail says Chelsea want more than £50million but "Atletico are offering closer to £40m" and while the two clubs haggle over a fee, the latter are concerned that if Costa doesn't start playing regular top-flight football soon he'll be hopelessly out of shape by the time he arrives in Spain in January.

That's why, according to the Mail, the La Liga side are gently suggesting to Costa the time may have come to leave his Brazilian hometown of Lagarto "and thrash matters out with Chelsea", with perhaps a public apology to follow.

But that may be harder to achieve than Atletico imagine with reports from South America indicating that Costa is "insistent that Chelsea are in the wrong and it's Conte who must make an act of contrition".

However, according to the Daily Express Costa is edging closer towards burying the hatchet with the Blues. 

Quoting a source close to the Spanish striker, the paper reported that there "will have to be a reconciliation between Diego and Chelsea… Diego will have to come back to England because he does not want his career to end with him back in Brazil like this". 

The spur is said to be the realisation that the longer Costa stays sulking in South America the more he risks missing out on selection for Spain's World Cup squad next summer.

Leicester to block Jamie Vardy move

31 August 

Having lost out on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chelsea are now scrambling around for strikers in a last-minute bid to bolster their frontline options. 

The news that the Ox had decided he would leave Arsenal only for Liverpool came as a shock to the Blues and the Daily Mirror predicts more dismay for the Premier League champions in their pursuit of Leicester sharpshooter Jamie Vardy.

According to the paper the Foxes are "ready to block" any attempt by Vardy to leave the King Power Stadium amid interest from Chelsea and also Everton.

The latter are said to have been seen loitering in Leicester with Goodison Park boss Ronald Koeman still looking for a reliable goalscorer to partner Wayne Rooney.

If The Sun is to be believed the Toffees are "making a shock bid to hijack the Blues' £40million move for the England striker", although Leicester are ready to repel all invaders. 

The 30-year-old signed a new deal last year, reputed to be worth around £100,000 a week, but both Everton and Chelsea are ready to offer Vardy more.

Leicester, however, are adamant that Vardy will honour his contract and with only 12 hours remaining until the transfer window shuts it's looking unlikely Chelsea will be able to changes the Foxes' minds.

So might the Blues have better luck with Danny Drinkwater? The Daily Express says that the Blues are lining up a deadline day move for the Leicester midfielder, who handed in a transfer request on Monday. 

The paper says that Drinkwater will "increase his Leicester deal of £90,000-a-week to a likely £120,000 over a five-year contract", although it warns him that he could spent a lot of his time warming the bench while watching the likes of Cesc Fabregas, N'Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko strut their stuff for the Blues.

Finally, The Sun says that Antonio Conte is ready to raid Bayern Munich for right-back Rafinha.  

The Brazilian defender has slipped down the pecking order behind Joshua Kimmich at the German champions but all the same manager Carlo Ancelotti is "reluctant to let him leave".

Taking its cue from German paper Bild, the Sun claims that the 31-year-old veteran is considered crucial to Bayern because his experience, and even if he's not first-choice Ancelotti likes having him in the squad particularly as Philipp Lahm retired last season.

Blues 'optimistic' of Llorente deal 

30 August 

With just 36 hours remaining in the summer transfer window, deals are going down to the wire but according to the Daily Mirror Chelsea are "optimistic" they will finally seal Fernando Llorente's transfer from Swansea.

The paper claims that the Blues tried to prise the 32-year-old striker from the Liberty Stadium in the New Year, and although they failed on that occasion they are increasingly confident that terms will be agreed before 11pm tomorrow.

Llorente played for Blues boss Antonio Conte at Juventus in the 2013-14 season and the Mirror says the Italian gaffer wants the veteran frontman to act as back-up to Alvaro Morata.

The paper says that the Premier League champions are "hopeful the Welsh club will now accept around £15m" for Llorente, a tidy sum for a player approaching the twilight of his career.

Nonetheless, he scored 15 Premier League goals last season and it's that steady reliability that Conte wants after the fiery unpredictability of wantaway striker Diego Costa.

Meanwhile Chelsea have announced that there is another Hazard at the club - Kylian, younger brother of Eden.

The 22-year-old has joined the Blues from Hungarian side Ujpest and while he's also an attacking midfielder it's fair to say he lacks his sibling's silky skills.

For the moment Hazard junior will ply his trade with the Blues development squad but he comes the third family member to be given a Stamford Bridge contract. Big brother Thorgan also had a spell in Chelsea before joining German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach permanently in 2015.

Finally, The Sun says that Chelsea are increasingly concerned that they could be "snubbed" by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with the Arsenal and England star "getting cold feet over a £40million move". 

Contrary to rumours earlier in the week the deal is far from done and dusted and Liverpool are now making overtures to the Ox in what looks like being a tug of war that could get tasty in the coming 36 hours.

Chelsea transfer news: Cahill future may depend on van Dijk deal

25 August

Has Gary Cahill got a future at Stamford Bridge? It may depend on what happens to Southampton central defender Virgil van Dijk, who is being tailed by the Blues but it also wanted by Arsenal.

There are claims, writes the Daily Express, that the Gunners have already met with the Dutchman's representatives, which might throw a spanner in the works of Antonio Conte's plans.

According to The Sun, the Blues boss does not consider Cahill his first-choice centre-back and he is said to be ready to talk to his old club, Juventus, about a possible deal for the England defender.

The Italian champions continue to search for someone to replace Leonardo Bonucci, now at AC Milan, and Cahill has come to their attention.

With Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta now ahead of the Englishman in the Chelsea pecking order, Juventus believe they could tempt Cahill to Turin, given that he will be anxious for regular game time in order to win selection for next year's World Cup.

The Sun says that Juventus are "keen on a loan deal for Cahill, but would be willing to part with around £16.5million to land the 31-year-old".

According to the Daily Star, Antonio Candreva will snub interest from Chelsea to remain with Inter Milan. The paper, quoting sources in Italy, says that the 30-year-old winger is wanted by Conte, a legacy of the time they spent together when the Chelsea boss was in charge of the Italian national team.

But Candreva, who joined Inter last year from Lazio, is enjoying life under new boss

Luciano Spalletti and will turn down the expected approach from the Blues.

Chelsea transfer news: Blues consider move for Jamie Vardy

23 August

We're into the home straight as far as the summer transfer window goes so be prepared for some sensational stories to break between now and August 31, and how about this one in The Sun.

Apparently Chelsea are "considering surprise move for Leicester striker Jamie Vardy". Why? Because with Diego Costa no longer welcome at the Bridge the hunt is on for a reliable goalscorer as Antonio Conte looks to add depth to his squad in a season that will take the Blues back into Europe.

Admittedly, says the Sun, Chelsea have signed Alvaro Morata this summer but Conte believes he needs another frontman given the imminent departure of Costa to somewhere or other.

The paper says that the 30-year Vardy "fits the profile for the type of forward Chelsea are looking for", having still enough pace for the top echelons of European football. Additionally, due to his age Chelsea believe they won't have to pay Leicester silly money as would be the case for some of the names being linked to the Premier League champs.

Meanwhile, the Sun says that Chelsea are also looking to wrap up a deal for Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater this week and Conte believes the transfer of the playmaker could be decisive in persuading Vardy to move south to the Big Smoke.

Metro is one of several papers to report that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has told Arsenal he won't be signing a new deal when his present contract expires in May. And that's good news for the Blues, says Metro, despite the fact the Ox has told Arsene Wenger he hasn't accepted an offer from Stamford Bridge.

Nonetheless, Chelsea are said to be ready £35m for the England wideman and it's likely that fee will be accepted by the Gunners, who otherwise run the risk of seeing him leave on a free transfer in nine months.

Chelsea transfer news: Conte prepares 'last-minute spending spree'

21 August

Antonio Conte is planning what the Daily Express describes as a "last-minute spending spree which could cost him as much as £200 million". The transfer window closes in ten days so time is of the essence for the Blues boss who believes his boys need bolstering for the season ahead despite their stirring 2-1 defeat of Tottenham on Sunday.

According to the Express Conte has his eyes on five new signings, and it's not good news for Southampton. The Saints defensive trio of Virgil van Dijk, Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand are all on Conte's list and he's said to be ready to fork out £150m to free them from their St Mary's contracts. Bertrand started his career at Stamford Bridge while van Dijk has handed in a transfer request and has in recent weeks been linked to Liverpool.

Meanwhile the Express says that Chelsea are poised to increase their offer for Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater after their first bid of £20 million was rejected by the Foxes. The second bid will be £25m and although Leicester have slapped a £30m price tag on the 27 year-old Drinkwater a "compromise" could be agreed in the coming days.

The fifth and final player in Conte's sights is Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates. It's not known what the Blues are willing to offer their London rivals but it's unlikely the Gunners will entertain any offers under £30m for the England international.

Elsewhere and the saga surrounding Diego Costa continues to rumble on with the Express saying AC Milan and the La Liga pair of Deportivo La Coruna and Real Betis are also interested in taking him on loan before the transfer window slams shuts.

Costa, who has so far refused to return to training because he hasn't been sold to Atletico Madrid, is in Brazil and while it's expected he will join Madrid in January, once their transfer ban has lifted, his immediate future remains unclear.

The Sun says that he recently turned down "£13million to move on loan to China until November" with the Spanish striker ignoring the offers of Shanghai SIPG and Tianjin Quanjian. Apparently Shanghai offered the 28-year-old Costa £3million to play for them until November with a £10m bonus if they won the Chinese Super League. But Costa knocked back the offer and the Sun says reports from Spain at the weekend suggest "that Atletico have agreed to pay £50 million to take Costa back to the club"

Chelsea ready to offer Spurs £50m for defender Danny Rose

16 August

Chelsea play Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday and according to The Sun the Blues intend to do a spot of business after the game by making an offer for Danny Rose.

The paper says that Chelsea "have made England man Rose their leading left-back target" and are readying a £50m bid for the 27-year-old defender.

Rose, who is recovering from knee surgery, last week criticised Tottenham's wage policy in an interview that encouraged Chelsea in their pursuit and will prompt club officials to start negotiations with their Spurs counterparts on Sunday.

Although the Sun says that Spurs "are yet to give any indication they are keen to sell", it's believed a bid of £50m would be too good to turn down in light of their financial situation and the extensive renovations at White Hart Lane.

The rumours have been given substance by the report in the Daily Express that Tottenham are ready to outbid Manchester United for Porto defender Ricardo Pereira, suggesting that they are resigned to losing Rose this month.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail claims that the Blues continue to draw a blank in their pursuit of Juventus defender Alex Sandro, which only adds more credence to the rumours about Rose.

Antonio Conte has being trying to prise the Brazilian from Turin for most of the summer but the Italian champs - who have already lost defensive duo Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves since the end of last season - have no intention of making it a hat-trick of departures. The Mail says that Chelsea "are expected to make further attempts" to snare Sandro but the Italian media claims the Blues are wasting their time and no amount of money will tempt them to part with their South American stopper.

Finally, one of the more outlandish rumours comes in the Daily Star with the paper claiming that Manchester City are chasing Eden Hazard. It seems that the Sky Blues aren't content with trying to entice Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, and are now also trying to convince the Belgium midfielder that life would be sweeter at the Etihad than at Stamford Bridge.

According to the Star, City boss Pep Guardiola "has already spoken to the Chelsea man's entourage" and he believes that signing Hazard would send out a "huge statement". A bank statement, presumably.


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