??Atletico Madrid are hoping to reunite a World Cup-winning striker partnership, as reports claim they want to bring Olivier Giroud to the Wanda Metropolitano on loan.
With Antoine Griezmann having rejected Barcelona to stay put this summer, he could find himself playing alongside his international colleague. ?Sky Sports reports that Atletico have entered into talks with ?Chelsea about signing Giroud.
This news comes despite ?the likely arrival of Nikola Kalinic, who is expected to join on loan from AC Milan with an obligatory purchase option at the end of his one-year deal. Giroud would also join on loan, but not with a purchase option.
It is believed that Chelsea would prefer to sell Giroud permanently so that they could reinvest the cash in a new striker. The Blues are lacking in the attacking department, with Giroud, Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi as their only centre forwards.
Giroud joined Chelsea from Arsenal in January, scoring three goals in 13 appearances for his new club. However, the change of manager at Stamford Bridge could see his stay cut short prematurely.
Despite France’s World Cup triumph, Giroud was not among their best performers. In 546 minutes of football he neither scored nor even registered a shot on target, in contrast to teammates Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, who scored four goals apiece.
However, that does not mean he contributed nothing. He provided the assist for one of the tournament’s best team goals: Mbappe’s second against Argentina.
He is usually lethal for France, scoring 31 goals in his 81 caps for Les Bleus.
The sensational ?World Cup performances of ?Chelsea and France star N’Golo Kanté have been put into even greater perspective, as news has broken that his older brother passed away shortly before the tournament.
Kanté was a key player throughout the tournament for Chelsea, but will have been sad that his older brother, Niama, was not there to watch him lift the trophy in Moscow.
According to ?sports.orange.fr, Niama suffered a heart attack and passed away a few weeks before the tournament. However, N’Golo managed to soldier on through the competition by leaning on the support of his strong family.
The Chelsea midfielder is from a family of four brothers and four sisters, and has overcome personal loss before – losing his father when he was just 11 years old. Two close family members who would certainly have been proud to see him lift the World Cup trophy – the greatest honour in world football.
The French team and supporters dedicated a song to Kanté during the tournament celebrations.
Kanté, a quiet and shy character off the pitch, has had a whirlwind few years, with his career devleoping faster than anybody could have expected.
In 2013, he was competing in the third tier of French football. Since joining Leicester in 2015, the midfielder has ?won the Premier League with Leicester, helped France to the final of the Euros, won the Premier League with Chelsea, lifts the FA Cup and then completes the season with an emphatic World Cup victory.
??Barcelona are reportedly closing in on a move to sign Brazilian winger Willian from ?Chelsea.
There has been rumours of bids from Barcelona in recent days, while Willian’s Brazil teammate Philippe Coutinho has apparently helped convinced the Chelsea star to make the move during their time together at the World Cup in Russia over the summer.
According to Spanish outlet ?Sport, who cite ‘Brazilian media’ as their source, Coutinho has convinced Willian and has made the move even easier now that he has an EU passport, obtained through his marriage. He now frees up a non-EU space in the Barcelona squad for Willian to take.
Willian has been at Stamford Bridge for five years, during which time he has made 236 appearances for the Blues, scoring 44 goals in a Chelsea career that has seen him win the Premier League twice, as well as the FA Cup and the League Cup.
“Well, they are excellent players with a lot of quality,” Willian told the Evening Standard when asked about potentially linking up with Brazil teammates at Barcelona recently. “In addition to great players, they are very good friends.”
He also briefly touched on the rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona, whilst also insisting that it was ‘not the time’ to address them properly.
“People speculate a lot. We see a lot of things on the internet, but this is not the time to talk about this. I’ve not received any information about that. I’m trying to focus on my performance, playing for Brazil.”
?Alvaro Morata’s chances of joining ?AC Milan have received a huge boost after it was revealed that the Rossoneri are targeting a ‘young striker’, which rules out some of the other players to whom they have been previously linked with.
At 25 years of age, Morata fits the profile much better than older players such as Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, who are both 30 years old. ?Alfredo Pedulla claims that this factor makes Morata target number one for Gennaro Gattuso.
Milan’s quest to sign the player will be helped by ?today’s news that their appeal against a ban from the 2018/19 Europa League has been successful.
The club were banned from the Europa League for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which would have forced them to sell important players and sign cheaper alternatives in order to comply.
Participation in the Europa League will boost the club’s coffers and also make them a more attractive proposition to potential signings, though Pedulla claims that this was never a concern for Morata.
It was only last summer that Morata joined ?Chelsea from Real Madrid, making a bright start at Stamford Bridge with six goals in his first six league games. However, after that he managed just five more goals in the remainder of the Premier League season.
He became an increasingly peripheral figure after the January arrival of Olivier Giroud and rumours of Higuain joining Chelsea have made Morata concerned that he will struggle for game time if he stays at the club next season.
?Juventus have made ‘initial contact’ with ?Chelsea over a potential move for Gonzalo Higuain.
Italian journalist ?Gianluca di Marzio reports that the Serie A champions are focused on selling players during the remainder of the transfer window, following the recent arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
With the club now looking to recoup some of their funds and make room for Ronaldo in their squad, the club have made ‘initial contact’ with Chelsea in an attempt to offload Gonzalo Higuain. While contact has been made, it is understood that formal negotiations are yet to start – although the Mail report that Roman Abramovich is in Italy this week to seal the deal.
Maurizio Sarri, who was officially confirmed as the new Chelsea manager earlier this week, is keen to be re-united with Higuain following the pair’s spell at Napoli together.
Sarri is keen to stamp his mark on the Chelsea squad ahead of the upcoming season, and is a huge admirer of Gonzalo Higuain, who scored 23 goals in 50 games across all competitions for Juventus last season.
The Argentine striker is reportedly on £240k-a-week, which would mean that ?Giroud and Morata could be forced to move on if he were to arrive at Stamford Bridge.
Higuain could become Chelsea’s second signing of the summer, and the second from Napoli, following the £50m ?arrival of Italy midfielder Jorginho. The 26-year-old signed a five-year deal with the Blues, just hours after the club confirmed the appointment of Maurizio Sarri as their new manager.