Barcelona Eye Surprise Move for Alvaro Morata as Chelsea Flop Seeks Stamford Bridge Exit

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata is pushing for a move away from Stamford Bridge, with reports in Spain claiming that the striker’s agent has offered him to Barcelona.

Despite Chelsea’s improvement under Maurizio Sarri this season, Morata has been unable to find his shooting boots on a consistent basis, with five goals in 14 Premier League appearances since August.


?Barcelona-based outlet ?RAC1 has reported that ?Morata’s agent has offered the Spaniard to Ernesto Valverde’s side after meetings between the two parties to ‘sound out the situation’.

?AS adds that Barcelona have viewed these talks in a ‘positive light’ and will now decide if and when negotiations will commence for Morata to join the club next summer.

Morata joined Chelsea from Barca’s hated rivals ?Real Madrid in 2017 and scored six goals in his first six Premier League appearances. However, he has been unable to rediscover that form, with just ten goals in his subsequent 39 league outings.

It remains to be seen how Morata would fit in at the Camp Nou amid Barcelona’s attacking riches which include ?Lionel Messi, ?Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Munir El Haddadi.

Although he has failed to take his goalscoring form into the Premier League, Morata was much more comfortable in La Liga, where he scored 31 goals in two spells at Real Madrid.

Deportivo de La Coruna v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

In between those spells, he scored 27 goals in two seasons for ?Juventus, including the strike which knocked out Real Madrid in the 2014/15 Champions League – the last time Los Blancos were eliminated from the competition.

Morata also has a decent strike rate at international level, with 13 goals in 27 appearances for Spain.

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Chelsea Keen to Secure £40m Move for Serie A Midfielder as European Giants Circle

?Chelsea are keen to beat the likes of Atletico Madrid in the race for Cagliari’s 21-year-old midfielder Nicolo Barella, and hope a bid of around £40m will be enough to secure a deal.

Barella has been a key player for Cagliari this season and has even captained the side on three occasions. He has made 16 appearances since the start of the current campaign and has even earned four caps for Italy since making his debut in October.

Italy  v USA  -International Friendly

News of ?Chelsea’s interest in Barella comes from Italian outlet ?SardegnaSport, who state that Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is hoping to secure a January move for the midfielder as he seeks to close the gap on ?Liverpool and ?Manchester City at the top of the ?Premier League.

Barella is widely regarded as one of Italy’s most promising players and is said to have attracted interest from many European giants. Both ?Inter and ?AC Milan are believed to have expressed an interest in Barella, whilst ?Atletico Madrid failed in an attempt to sign the midfielder during the summer.

SardegnaSport claim that Cagliari will now give Barella the chance to decide on his future. The club are said to be aware that he may wish to test himself in the Premier League and they will not stand in his way if the 21-year-old chooses to leave the club.

Barella is a versatile midfielder who is capable of operating in any area in midfield. He boasts an impressive blend of technique and power, allowing him to win back possession and kickstart attacks. He has drawn comparisons to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who used similar qualities to establish himself as one of the world’s finest central midfielders.

Chelsea are also hoping that assistant manager Gianfranco Zola’s connection with Cagliari will help convince Barella to move to Stamford Bridge. 

Burnley FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Zola, who was born in Sardinia, returned to the region in 2003 to sign for Cagliari after leaving Chelsea, and spent two years at the club before announcing his retirement.

He then went on to manage the club in 2014, but lasted just three months as Cagliari found themselves in a relegation battle. However, he is regarded as an iconic player at the Sardegna Arena, and Chelsea are believed to be hoping that he will be able to influence negotiations for Barella.

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Eden Hazard: Why it’s Finally Time for Chelsea’s Talisman to Make the Switch to Real Madrid

?Eden Hazard has made his admiration of Real Madrid clear for some time now and well, why wouldn’t he? 

With the Belgian dragging his feet in current contract negotiations at Chelsea, Hazard’s head may well be starting to turn elsewhere with Madrid being the explicit direction of his gaze.

Hazard’s season, from a personal perspective, has almost been a microcosm for Chelsea’s as a whole. When Hazard plays well, the team plays well. In their biggest results of the season, the Belgian winger’s impact has been obvious.

He assisted both goals in the win over City, scored the opener in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool and provided the assist for Alonso’s winning goal against Arsenal at the very start of the term. 

During his six-year tenure at Chelsea, the 27-year-old has won four major trophies, including two Premier League titles. But has Hazard achieved all he can with the west London outfit? 

The next step for him, as it is with Guardiola and City, is to win the Champions League. Since winning Europe’s top prize in 2012, Chelsea have rarely troubled the latter rounds of the Champions League and now reside in the tournaments unfashionable litter brother: the Europa League. 

Realistically, Chelsea will not be a frequent name in the Europa League draw at the start of each year. Nonetheless, a player of Hazard’s talent, who came eighth in this year’s Ballon d’Or rankings, should never be playing football on a Thursday night.

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If the rumours are to be believed, who can blame Hazard for seeking consistent Champions League football elsewhere? Not only is Champions League football almost a guarantee at Real Madrid, winning it has been just as likely in recent years.

If you’re looking for European glory, Madrid isn’t a bad place to start. Furthermore, with the extraordinary sale of ?Cristiano Ronaldo to ?Juventus last summer, there is a gaping void in the Real Madrid attack that is yet to be filled by their back-up brigade.

With the Spanish giants struggling domestically this season, they are set for a complete overhaul in the summer. Whilst manager Santiago Solari is set to stay at the helm until 2020, he will set about rebuilding his squad which will require at least one marquee signing next year. 

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Undeniably, Eden Hazard would fit into Real Madrid’s starting lineup like a hand to a glove. The attacker, who typically favours the left side of midfield, would not have to adapt his position or the way he plays, as many marquee signings do for big clubs. Instead, he would walk straight into the left side of Madrid’s attack that used to be vacated by Ronaldo, and complement the abundance of attacking talent that would surround him.

According to reports from ?Sky Sports, Hazard has labelled Real Madrid “the best club in the world”, but Chelsea are willing to make him the highest paid player in their history in order to retain the attacker’s services. The Belgian winger, who has 18 months remaining on his current contract, has made it clear that he does not intend to leave in the winter transfer window and will make his decision after the season has run its course.

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If Hazard decides to take up Madrid’s offer and complete his ‘dream move’, he would not be the first, and will unlikely be the last, to have made the switch from Premier League football to Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ two best attacking players of this decade, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo joined the club from Tottenham and Man United, respectively.

Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso and David Beckham are just three more who have made a successful switch from English football to the Bernabeu.

There is the question then: how great a transfer fee someone of Hazard’s calibre would attract.

With PSG signing Neymar for just under £200m last year, could a player, who is arguably better than the Brazilian, demand a fee even greater? In today’s market, it is a distinct possibility, and when figures like that are involved, Madrid never seem to be too far from the conversation.

If the question is should Eden Hazard bite the bullet and make the switch across Europe, then the answer, quite simply, is yes. 

Clearly, the player’s head has been turned and should Madrid decide Hazard is the man to fill the Ronaldo-shaped hole in their attack, then it may be too good an offer to refuse for the Belgian. As we have seen so frequently in recent history, when Madrid come calling, very few people can resist picking up the phone. Barring Chelsea fans, of course, it would be hard for anyone to advise Hazard not to trade in his blue strip for an all-white one with Real Madrid dominating European football for almost an entire decade. 

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Chelsea vs Vidi Preview: How to Watch, Kick Off Time, Team News & Prediction

Chelsea travel to Hungary on Thursday to play MOL Vidi, hoping to maintain their perfect start to this season’s Europa League. The Blues go into the game knowing their route through the group stages is already guaranteed, having won all five of their games.

Manager Maurizio Sarri has so far used a variety of fringe players in order to keep his squad fresh and it is likely several key players will be rested for the match, seeing as the result is of no consequence.

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League

There is consequence, however, for the home side, who sit third in Group L, level on points with second place BATE Borisov. The result is out of Vidi’s hands, who need to win and hope BATE Borisov drop points to PAOK Salonika in order to progress to the next stage.

Here’s 90min’s preview for the fixture:


How to Watch

When Is Kick Off?? Thursday 13th December
?What Time Is Kick Off? 17:55 GMT
?Where Is It Played? Groupama Arena
?TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport?
?Referee? ?Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)

Team News

Sarri will rest a number of players for their trip and will likely play a second string team. However, ?Mateo Kovacic will more than likely not feature after suffering an slight thigh injury in Saturday’s victory over Manchester City. ?Marcos Alonso is also a fitness doubt, but it is likely Emerson Palmieri will start at left back anyhow. Several youngsters including Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi may feature.

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League

Vidi have a full strength side with no major injury concerns. They have it all to play for and need a win, with results elsewhere needing to go their way. 


Predicted Line Ups

?Chelsea Caballero, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Pedro, Morata, Hudson-Odoi?
MOL Vidi? ?Kovacsik, Fiola, Juhasz, Vinicius, Stopira, Nego, Hadzic, Patkai, Hustzi, Milanov, Scepovic 

Head to Head Record

The only previous fixture between the two sides came in the reverse fixture this group stage. ?Chelsea triumphed 1-0 with a goal from ?Alvaro Morata, who may feature for the Blues on Thursday.


Vidi did trouble Chelsea at times as the English side had a poor game on the night. Morata scored a goal midway through the second half to seal an unconvincing win, but Vidi on home soil will want to prove they have what it takes to match the talent of Sarri’s Chelsea.


Recent Form

Chelsea enjoyed perhaps the result of their season so far with a 2-0 win over Premier League favourites ?Manchester City. However, the result over City comes after a disappointing defeat to ?Wolves as Chelsea have blown hot and cold recently. Sarri’s Chelsea sit in fourth place in the Premier League at the moment. 

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?However, their European results have been perfect as they have won five from five, with simply too much quality for their opponents.

Vidi sit second in the Hungarian Nemzeti Bajnoksag 1 as they chase once more the domestic title they won last year. They have won four of the last six, but have lost in their most recent domestic and European fixture. They sit third in Group L with their qualification out of their own hands.

Here’s a look at the sides most recent fixtures:

?Chelsea MOL Vidi?
?Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City (08/12) Ujpesti 2-0 ?Vidi (08/12) 
?Wolves 2-1 Chelsea (05/12) ?Vidi 2-0 Budapest Honved (02/12)
?Chelsea 2-0 Fulham (02/12) ?BATE Borisov 2-0 Vidi (29/11)
?Chelsea 4-0 PAOK Salonika (29/11) ?Debrecen 0-1 Vidi (25/11)
?Tottenham 3-1 Chelsea (24/11) ?Vidi 1-0 Ujpesti (21/11)

Prediction

Chelsea are unbeaten in the group stages up to this point and have performed well with a mostly second string team. Sarri will rest a number of players, but the Blues will likely have too much quality for MOL Vidi. 

Chelsea v Vidi FC - UEFA Europa League - Group L

Vidi have the home advantage with everything to play for, but some of Chelsea’s players will want to put in a good performance to prove they have what it takes to be a regular in Sarri’s first choice XI. 

Prediction: MOL Vidi 0-2 Chelsea

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6 Possible Destinations for Romelu Lukaku if He Leaves Manchester United

Romelu Lukaku’s Manchester United career has been something of a rollercoaster so far. 

The Belgian had an explosive start to life at Old Trafford, scoring ten goals in his first nine appearances, and would end his first season with a respectable 27 goals. 

Second season syndrome looks to have hit the striker however. Lukaku has just six goals in 15 games, and looks bereft of confidence under a tumultuous Jose Mourinho regime. This has led to reports that the 25-year-old is considering his future at Old Trafford. 

Even though things haven’t been going his way, there is still an excellent striker there. And with that in mind, here are six potential destinations for Lukaku should he choose to leave United.

6. Chelsea

This transfer looked all set to happen in the summer of 2017 until United swooped in at the last minute. Chelsea instead signed Alvaro Morata, but he’s suffered from a lot of the same problems that Lukaku has faced in the north west.

Lukaku may have unfinished business at Stamford Bridge after he failed to get a look in when he first signed for the club. But now he’s closer to the finished article, things could be a lot different for him in London. 

Deals between the two clubs aren’t out of the question either, as the recent transfers of Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic have shown. 

5. Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid have a rather impressive track record when it comes to strikers. 

Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, and Antoine Griezmann have all enjoyed great success with the club, and maybe Lukaku could be the next name in that illustrious line. 

With Diego Costa turning 30 and Antoine Griezmann constantly linked with a move away from the club, Lukaku could eventually call the Wanda Metropolitano home.

4. Paris Saint-Germain

The French giants certainly have the money to sign someone like Lukaku, even while the threat of FFP regulations loom.

Whilst their formidable attacking triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are doing just fine at the moment, they may not be a trio for much longer. 

Cavani is approaching 32, which could lead manager Thomas Tuchel to seek out his long term replacement. Lukaku is already a proven goalscorer at the age of 25, and would be a perfect fit alongside a pair that would create a host of chances for him. 

3. Borussia Dortmund

Paco Alcacer has been able to kickstart his career at Dortmund after a move to a big club didn’t quite work out, so why couldn’t Lukaku? 

Although the Bundesliga leaders may struggle to afford the Belgian, he would be an ideal fit for Lucien Favre’s side. 

The Germans create a high volume of chances, so a poacher like Lukaku would be a good foil for the likes of Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho. 

2. Guangzhou Evergrande

Stranger things have happened. A player in his prime moving to China for a massive payday is nothing new; the likes of Oscar, Axel Witsel, Graziano Pelle and Jackson Martinez all left European football for the Far East, and Lukaku could do the same. 

Lukaku has spoken in the past of how a desire to look after his family motivated him to play football, and the money offered by the Chinese Super League may be too good to turn down. 

It’s a short career after all. 

1. Inter

Inter already have a world class number nine in Mauro Icardi, but for how long? 

Inter’s talismanic captain has been incredible for the club, scoring 108 league goals. It may be hard for Inter to hold on to him should the likes of Real Madrid come calling. 

If Icardi does depart and they have an enormous transfer budget to spend, then Lukaku could be a great alternative. Lukaku has spoken in the past of his desire to play in Italy one day, and Luciano Spalletti could offer him that opportunity. 

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