In Brief

Chelsea transfer news: £89m for Higuain and Rugani

Abramovich flies in to seal deal for Juventus stars, but Barca want Hazard

Chelsea close to £89m swoop

Roman Abramovich has flown to Italy to help Chelsea secure the signings of Gonzalo Higuain and Daniele Rugani from Juventus in a deal worth £89m, reports the Daily Mail.

“The Russian tycoon, who does not currently have a UK visa, is said to have travelled to Italy in order to help agent Fali Ramadani in talks with the Serie A champions,” says the paper.

“Ramadani, who has a close relationship with Juventus, was hired by Chelsea to act as an intermediary between the two clubs and has succeeded in taking talks to the brink of an agreement.

“Now, Abramovich appears to have flown in to oversee the final details with Chelsea hoping to complete the double signing in time for Higuain and Rugani to link up with the team on their pre-season tour of Australia.”

Argentine striker Higuain, 30, is expected to cost £53.5m, while Italian defender Rugani, 23, will set the Blues back £35.5m.

Sarri to meet wantaway stars

New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says he wants to meet Chelsea’s wantaway stars face to face before deciding their futures – even though they will only return to Stamford Bridge days before the transfer window closes.

“Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Willian are among Blues players with uncertain futures, but they won’t meet new boss Sarri until the eve of the season because they will be on holiday after their World Cup exploits with Belgium and Brazil,” reports the Daily Mirror.

Speaking at his first Chelsea press conference the Italian said: “I would like to meet these players face to face to understand them and what the best thing is to do for everyone.”

Hazard to Barcelona?

Despite Sarri’s desire for talks, the battle to sign Hazard is hotting up. Real Madrid are said to be interested and the Mirror says La Liga rivals Barcelona are also keen on the Belgian.

“Barcelona are reportedly prepared to offer Ousmane Dembele in part-exchange for Eden Hazard,” reveals the paper, picking up on Spanish radio reports.

Dembele “has struggled to settle at the Nou Camp since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer” and could be allowed to leave.

Loftus-Cheek and Batshuayi out on loan

Yet another Chelsea rumour to find its way on to the pages of the Mirror concerns Everton’s efforts to secure the services of England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi on loan next season.

New Toffees boss Marco Silva “wants to know if either are in Sarri’s plans with a view to getting one of the stars to Goodison”, says the paper.

Everton can only have one loan star from Chelsea under Premier League rules, and Loftus-Cheek, who spent last season at Crystal Palace, appears to be their primary target.

Zola returns

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has been confirmed as Sarri’s deputy at Stamford Bridge, and has described his return to the club as “an amazing thing”.

The Blues legend told the official club website: “It is going to be a difficult challenge, but I am pleased to be here, and to work hard with Maurizio to be successful.”

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