Exclusive: Real Madrid Offer James Rodriguez to Premier League Top Six With Arsenal & Spurs Keen

The Premier League’s top six have been offered the services of Colombian superstar James Rodriguez by parent club Real Madrid, 90min understands.

Rodriguez is approaching the end of a two-year loan with Bayern Munich, and the German champions have the option to make the move permanent for around £40m as part of the initial agreement, which was struck in 2017. However, James has started just nine games this season for Bayern and it’s unlikely they’ll take up the option.

James Rodriguez

The 27-year-old has just over two years left on his deal with ?Real, but they are ready to move the player on permanently this month if the opportunity arises, and if there is sufficient interest. 

90min understands both Arsenal and Tottenham are keen on the attacker – it was even suggested on Tuesday that Real could ?use the player as bait to convince Spurs to sell Christian Eriksen – whilst Chelsea and Manchester United have been asked to be kept informed of the situation after intermediaries made contact about the South American.

Liverpool are also thought to be interested, but Jurgen Klopp has already distanced the club from any potential incomings this month.

Rodriguez himself is believed to be keen on sampling life in the ?Premier League, and especially in the capital, where the interest in him is strongest.

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?Arsenal coach Unai Emery would love the chance to land ?Rodriguez, but they may have to wait until the summer to be able to accommodate Rodriguez’s huge wage packet. That is, unless they can move on their own biggest earner, Mesut Ozil, who is attracting attention from clubs in Turkey.

However, with just over a week left in this window, both Ozil and Rodriguez’s next moves may have to wait until the summer.

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Chelsea vs Tottenham Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Chelsea host bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday.

Spurs go into the game with a 1-0 aggregate lead thanks to a controversial penalty decision after Harry Kane was ruled onside by VAR and fouled by Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

Kane converted from the spot but replays at full time courtesy of Chelsea’s backroom staff appeared to show the Spurs striker in an offside position.

Harry Kane,Dele Alli

Mauricio Pochettino will be forced to field a weakened side due to injuries to several key players, including Kane, after struggling to beat relegation candidates Fulham at the weekend.

It’s a potentially very significant night for Maurizio Sarri as pressure continues to mount following a particularly weak performance against Arsenal on Saturday, as he publicly criticised his team for being “extremely difficult to motivate”. 

Spurs simply need to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge to face – barring a ten-goal swing for Burton Albion in the other semi final – Pep Guardiola’s ?Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in February’s final.

Eden Hazard

Check out 90min’s preview of ?Thursday’s clash below.


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick Off? ?Thursday 24 January
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?19:45 (GMT)
?Where Is It Played? ?Stamford Bridge
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Sky Sports Main Event
?Referee? ?Martin Atkinson

Team News

?Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns as ?Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still sidelined with a worrying back problem and it is not known when the 22-year-old will return.

Sarri will be hoping that his club can push through the signing of ?Gonzalo Higuain in order to give the Argentina striker his debut against Spurs. Failing that, Eden Hazard may be forced to lead the line once more.

??Callum Hudson-Odoi is expected to start despite ?reports that he will reject a new contract at Stamford Bridge in favour of a move to Bayern Munich.

Pochettino’s Spurs will be without key players in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, as well as ?Dele Alli who suffered a hamstring injury in their 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday.

Alli was replaced by French winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and it was the 23-year-old’s cross that found Harry Winks for his 93rd minute winner, but Spurs may opt to replace Alli with defensive midfielder Eric Dier on Thursday to conserve their 1-0 lead.


Fernando Llorente turned the ball into his own net against Fulham but is expected to start up front in ?Harry Kane’s absence.


Predicted Lineups


?Chelsea ?Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Emerson; Jorginho, Kante, Barkley; Pedro, Hazard, Hudson-Odoi.
?Tottenham ?Gazzaniga; Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose; Winks, Dier, Eriksen; Lamela; Llorente

Head to Head Record

Spurs had famously gone 28 years without a win at Stamford Bridge before a 3-1 victory in April 2018 thanks to a Dele Alli brace, and managed to repeat the scoreline at Wembley in November.

The first leg of this tie was their third consecutive win over the Blues but Chelsea have a superior overall record in this fixture, winning 68 games compared to Spurs’ 54. 

The two sides met in the final of this competition in 2008, with Spurs coming from behind to win 2-1 at Wembley.


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Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea fell to a 2-0 away defeat at Arsenal on Saturday in what was a particularly poor display from the Blues. Since their Carabao Cup quarter final win over Bournemouth, Chelsea have scored just seven goals in eight games and have two wins from their previous five. 

Tottenham were beaten at home to Manchester United after the first leg victory over Chelsea and scraped past Fulham on Sunday with a last-gasp winner from Winks.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

?Chelsea Tottenham?
?Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea (19/1) ?Fulham 1-2 Tottenham (20/1)
?Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle (12/1) ?Tottenham 0-1 Man Utd (13/1)
?Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea (08/1) ?Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea (8/1)
?Chelsea 2-0 Nottingham Forest (5/1) ?Tranmere Rovers 0-7 Tottenham (4/1)
?Chelsea 0-0 Southampton (2/1) ?Cardiff City 0-3 Tottenham (1/1)

Prediction

Christian Eriksen,Antonio Rüdiger

Chelsea were the better team in the first leg but the story of their season has been a lack of penetration in the final third. Blues fans will be hoping Higuain is signed and available to make his debut on Thursday to solve their problems in front of goal.

If Pochettino chooses to defend their lead from the first leg, the aggregate score may be enough for Spurs to progress to the final as Chelsea continue to struggle to break teams down.

Prediction: Chelsea 0-0 Spurs

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Transfer Rumours: Bernardo Silva to Real Madrid, Benatia to Fulham, Martins to Arsenal and More

As the transfer window enters its 10-day countdown, we’ve got another fresh dose of rumour goodness for you to catch up on.

Kick back and enjoy this latest dosage of gossip from the world of football…

1. Bernardo Silva in Real Madrid Cross-Hairs Ahead of Potential Summer Move

Bernardo Silva

Real Madrid completed a hit-and-run on Manchester City for Brahim Diaz earlier this month, and rumour has it they could be about to ransack the Premier League champions once again in the summer, with a move for 24-year-old playmaker Bernardo Silva. 

The Mirror claim the Portuguese midfielder has become Los Blancos’ primary target as they plan to evolve the face of their side in the summer, with a reported fee of £70m banded about. 

Having become one of Pep Guardiola’s star creators in midfield since his £45m move from Monaco at the beginning of last season, it’s difficult to see why they would let him go for anything short of an astronomical fee – but that hasn’t stopped Real in the past. 

2. Roman Abramovich Makes Late Move for Barcelona Starlet

Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich is reported to be very keen on Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba, so much so that SPORT are reporting the Stamford Bridge side have made a late move to bring the 16-year-old to London this month. 

Talk is that a meeting between Chelsea representatives and the highly-rated midfielder’s agent went well, and while a deal isn’t quite done yet, they’ve become firm favourites to sign him on a professional deal ahead of Barca and Manchester City.

If it does come off, fans of Vitesse Arnhem will have a lot to be excited about ahead of his loan there in 2020/21. 

3. Watford in for Lyon Winger and South Korean Defender as Javi Gracia Looks to Bolster Squad

UEFA Champions League'Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City'

Watford are interested in moves for Lyon forward Maxwel Cornet and South Korean defender Kim Min-Jae, according to Sky Sports .

Both 22, the former scored twice against Manchester City in the Champions League earlier this season, while Min-Jae is affectionately nicknamed ‘the Monster’ by fans of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. That’s always encouraging for a centre-back. 

East Asia’s Virgil van Dijk? Time might tell. 

4. Fulham Make Ambitious Offer for Juventus Defender Medhi Benatia

Gonzalo Higuain,Medhi Benatia

Claudio Ranieri is reported to have approached Juventus over a potential move for out-of-favour defender Medhi Benatia, as he seeks to reinforce his new side’s defensive options. 

Benatia has been heavily involved in Bundesliga and Serie A winning sides in the past, but having found himself firmly behind Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in the pecking order, Tutto Mercato report that Fulham could be the next step in his career as the 31-year-old enters his twilight years. 

What that means about their heavily reported move for Gary Cahill remains to be seen. 

5. Stewart Downing Set for Middlesborough Exit Due to Contract Clause Dispute

Stewart Downing

In a move straight out of the Football Manager video-game handbook, Middlesborough are rumoured to be offloading Stewart Downing after 149 appearances with the club, because they don’t want to give the former Liverpool winger the pay-rise that would come with his 150th. 

The Telegraph say his current £35,000 per week wages would rise sharply if he made one more start for the club, due to a clause put in his contract when he signed for them in 2015, and they are not prepared to pay up due to the club’s financial situation.

They are keen to cut their wage bill, and after negotiations with the 34-year-old, they are reportedly set to transfer-list him and check ‘accept all offers’. 

6. Julian Weigl Staying at Dortmund Amid Reports of PSG Interest

Yussuf Poulsen,Julian Weigl

Disappointing news for those of a Paris persuasion comes as Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has ruled out Julian Weigl leaving in January, after it had been reported that PSG saw him as the solution to their midfield troubles.

Weigl had been used sparingly by Bundesliga leaders Dortmund this season, but played 90 minutes at centre-back in wins over Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig either side of the winter break, leading to Zorc speaking out on the player’s future via ESPN.

He said: “Julian Weigl will stay in Dortmund. He has already played very well against Gladbach before the winter break and once again showed a brilliant performance tonight — especially when keeping in mind that he usually plays in midfield.” 

7. Arsenal to Rival Thierry Henry’s Monaco for Signing of Gelson Martins

Gelson Martins

Arsenal look set to go toe-to-toe with club legend Thierry Henry over the signature of Atletico Madrid winger Gelson Martins, as reports have emerged linking both the Gunners and Monaco with the 23-year-old.

The winger signed for Atletico Madrid from Sporting Lisbon in the summer, but has since started just once in La Liga, and Sky Sports now say that they could be about to revive their interest and once again attempt to bring him to London – with Henry’s Monaco offering the biggest stumbling block. 

With Unai Emery saying only loan deals are likely in the January window, a loan with an option to buy in the summer doesn’t look entirely out of the picture should he somehow deem north London a more attractive destination than the south of France.

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Eden Hazard Admits to ‘Frustrating’ Maurizio Sarri as Well as Previous Managers at Chelsea

?Eden Hazard has admitted to ‘frustrating’ all the managers in his career with his goalscoring exploits, or lack thereof, including current boss Maurizio Sarri. 

Despite netting 12 times across competitions thus far, as well as providing 10 assists for his teammates, the ??Chelse?a man has still come under fire for not carrying the Blues more with his goals.

Eden Hazard

And, speaking to ?France Football about his relationships with managers past and present, Hazard admitted he has frustrated all of them at one point or another. 

Probed on his relationship with Sarri, the Belgian revealed: “I didn’t just frustrate Conte. In my career, I’ve frustrated all my managers, and now, I’m frustrating Sarri. I frustrated Mourinho. 

“They all think you need to score more, do such and such more. I’ll also frustrate the next manager I have.”

Expanding on this, ?Hazard went on to clarify his stance towards such statistical measurements, declaring: “If this season, I finish 30 goals and 20 assists, we will all say: ‘Oh yeah, exceptional’. Even if I make matches all rotten. But that’s not what I want. I do not care [about it]!”

However, the 27-year-old also conceded that he may be alone in this viewpoint among the fellow leading players of his generation, declaring: “I may be apart in the best players in the world. Because the best think goals, passes, trophies. And I have never been like that. So yes, maybe … After that, in professional football, there are a lot of players like me who want to have fun.”

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