Chelsea 'only signed Saul Niguez as favour', Haaland 'chooses Premier League transfer', Azpilicueta 'eyed by Barcelona'
18th November 2021

ERLING HAALAND might be out of action injured at the moment – but that is not stopping speculation about his future.

A number of Premier League clubs are said to be circling the Dortmund superstar, with reports from Spain suggested Real Madrid are expecting him to head to England next.

Chelsea have been handed a boost with Romelu Lukaku returning to training from his recent injury, putting him in contention to face Juventus and Man Utd after the international break.

However, one man who appears a long way away from the Blues first team is Saul Niguez.

And reports from Spain suggest the Blues only signed the Atletico Madrid man on loan as a "favour" to his representatives.

Meanwhile, veteran defenders Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta could be set for moves away from Stamford Bridge when their contracts end this summer.

Get all the latest football news, updates and transfer gossip below…

  • Joshua Jones

    OVERNIGHT FOOTBALL ROUND-UP

    Chelsea and Manchester United target Jules Kounde shares this morning's transfer spotlight with Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe.

    Sevilla centre-back Kounde sent exit talk soaring with an enigmatic tweet.

    The France star reportedly has a £69million release clause but posted a song lyric: “Can’t stop gotta claim what’s mine.”

    Meanwhile, Newcastle, Everton and Crystal Palace are being linked with a January move for Pepe.

    Arsenal and Leeds are rated potential bidders for Ajax's Morocco right-back Noussair Mazraoui.

    Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has hinted the Spanish giants will wait until the summer to sign Kylian Mbappe for free after PSG rejected their £170million offer.

    And Perez's counterpart at Barcelona, Joan Laporta, says he "won't rule out" re-signing legends Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

    That follows new Barca manager Xavi bringing back 38-year-old right-back Dani Alves.

    Lastly, it's claimed ex-Real chief Zinedine Zidane has told Manchester United he is unavailable until the summer.

  • Ian Tuckey

    UTD TURN UP HEAT ON OLE

    Manchester United turned up the heat on boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – with a reminder that on-field success is still the No 1 priority.

    The club’s wage bill has rocketed by almost 25 per cent to a huge £354MILLION a year.

    And United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told under-fire manager Solskjaer it is time to give value for money.

    Woodward declared: “Our top priority is success on the pitch.

    “The manager,  players, everyone at the club are determined to achieve that objective.”

    Solskjaer will be without injured Paul Pogba for Saturday’s crunch at Watford as the midfielder recovers from a thigh injury.

    The summer arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho helped to push up United’s wage bill by 23.1 per cent.

    Revenues for the three months to September 30 were up 16 per cent to £126.5m as supporters finally returned to Old Trafford.

  • Ian Tuckey

    RAHEEM DREAM

    Barcelona plan a January fire sale to fund a move for Raheem Sterling.

    And one player who could be shown the door at the Nou Camp is former Manchester City target Frenkie de Jong.

    New Barca boss Xavi is a huge fan of England hero Sterling – and would love to bring him to the Catalan giants in the New Year.

    This week, Barcelona brought Brazilian Dani Alves, 38, back to the club – meaning at present they are not allowed to register any new players due to their financial woes.

    As it stands, they would struggle to land Sterling, even on loan, due to his City wages of £300,000 per week.

    But Barcelona are hopeful the landscape will have changed by the time the transfer window reopens in January.

    Director of football Mateu Alemany said: “The reality is we can register Xavi and his coaching staff.

    “But beyond that, we can’t do anything else right now.

    “We are working on some different situations.

    “And we will see if we can make room to still remain within the fair-play regulations.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    IT'S PLANE SULLING FOR ANTONIO

    David Sullivan paid a staggering £100,000 to fly West Ham ace Michail Antonio home from Jamaica on a private flight.

    Hammers’ majority owner Sullivan dipped into his pocket to get his star striker back from international duty yesterday.

    And this means Antonio will be fresh and ready for training today ahead of Saturday’s trip to Wolves.

    The 31-year-old scored both the Reggae Boys’ goals in their 1-1 World Cup qualifying draws against El Salvador and the United States.

    Antonio is enjoying another good season at the London Stadium with seven goals in all competitions so far for David Moyes’ high-flying Hammers.

    Sullivan, 72, has also appointed his sons Jack and David Jr to the club’s board of directors.

    Daniel Cunningham, the son-in-law of joint-chairman David Gold, has also been added to the list of directors.

    It is part of a boardroom reshuffle following Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s purchase of a 27 per cent stake in a deal worth more than £180million.

  • Ian Tuckey

    GREALISH DATES THIRD BEAUTY

    Jack Grealish has been dating a THIRD beauty — Love Island winner Amber Gill.

    They have enjoyed several secret meetings, but Amber, 24, is said to be heartbroken at the England ace seeing TV’s Emily Atack, 31 — possibly at the same time.

    Emily Atack to be confronted by Love Island’s Amber Gill who claims to be dating Jack Grealish too

    She told a pal: “I’d like to get in touch with Emily and find out if there was any crossover.”

    The Man City player, 26, has also had showdown talks with Sasha Attwood, 25, over their on/off romance.

    The £100million Manchester City ace charmed castaway Amber on Instagram leading to several secret dates in recent months.

    A source explained: “Amber has been in contact with Jack for a while after they first got in touch online, and since then they’ve met up several times over the past few months at hotels, including one in Leeds.

    "She was clearly quite excited about it, she told her friends, but after the news about Jack and Emily came out recently the whole thing feels a lot less glamorous.

    “It was never a proper relationship, just a good time and some dates together, but now it feels as though he may have been in contact with a number of girls at once and that’s very disappointing for her. She really liked him.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    MADRID WILL KYL TIME ON MBAPPE

    Real Madrid will wait until the summer to sign Kylian Mbappe for free after PSG rejected their £170million offer, president Florentino Perez has suggested.

    The Spanish giants lodged a colossal bid in the summer, which was rejected by PSG despite Mbappe having only a year left on his contract.

    Speaking to Spanish journalist Ramon Alvarez, Real Madrid president Perez, 74, criticised PSG’s rejection of their offer and made a dig at their ownership.

    Perez said: “The state owned clubs don’t sell their players. It’s a madness.

    “Now we offer €200m (£170m) for a single player and they don’t sell him. When players finish their contract it’s better.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    RON’S A RED HOT DEVIL

    Manchester United hero Cristiano Ronaldo has yet again showed off his chiselled physique after sharing a snap of himself in the sauna.

    The 36-year-old took to his Instagram story to upload a picture in his underwear to his 367 million followers.

    In the photo, a sweaty-looking Ronaldo smiles for the camera in a selfie as he starts his preparations for the weekend trip to Watford.

    His former United team-mate Patrice Evra has lifted the lid on Ronaldo’s love for saunas in his bid to keep in peak condition.

    Recalling a time he popped round his house, he said: “Cristiano, first of all, as a person and human being, is so generous, so nice and people don’t see that face. But he is a winner. He is addicted.

    “For example, when we had training at 10am, Cristiano was already there for 8am. When we had finished training, he was still on the pitch practising.

    “When he invited me for lunch… don’t ever go for lunch, because you are going to have one of the most boring lunches at Cristiano’s. It is salad, plain chicken and water. There isn’t even fizzy water.

    “After that, we went into the garden, trained for a little bit, went swimming, went to the sauna and at one point I looked at him and said: ‘Bro, we have just finished a training session, why do we have to a second training session?'”

  • Ian Tuckey

    LEEDS AND ARSENAL EYE MAZRAOUI

    Arsenal and Leeds are rated potential bidders for Ajax right-back Noussair Mazraoui in January.

    ESPN claim the two Premier League clubs are among the Morocco superstar’s biggest admirers.

    And the 22-year-old’s contract with the Dutch giants runs out at the end of the season.

  • Ian Tuckey

    JT BACK WHERE IT STARTED

    Chelsea legend John Terry took a nostalgic trip back to the Stamford Bridge academy where it all began for the former England defender.

    JT was linked to the Newcastle job this month after departing as Aston Villa assistant manager over the summer.

    But he has readily admitted he dreams of bossing the Blues.

    And he posted a snap from Chelsea's youth system centre, saying: "Back at the academy today seeing some familiar faces."

  • Ian Tuckey

    UTD & CHELSEA TARGET KOUNDE IN EXIT HINT

    Sevilla defender Jules Kounde has posted a cryptic tweet hinting he’s ready to leave as Manchester United and Chelsea circle.

    The 23-year-old was heavily linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge in the summer, but the LaLiga outfit blocked his move after rejecting the £42.8million offer.

    The Spanish side were only prepared to part ways with the French centre-back should a potential suitor cough up his £69million release clause.

    Manchester United are the latest club to enter the race to secure his services, with it claimed they are keen to pair him up with Raphael Varance.

    And Kounde has left fans begging for him to join their club after he tweeted out a song lyric from Warren G’s 2015 track Keep On Hustlin’.

    He said: “Can’t stop gotta claim what’s mine.”

    Commenting on his post, one user messaged: “He’s still a target for Chelsea. Still very possible it happens in January.”

    Another remarked: “You’re talking about the Chelsea shirt huh?”

  • Ian Tuckey

    MARCELO SET FOR REAL MADRID EXIT

    Real Madrid legend Marcelo will reportedly bid an emotional farewell to the club at the end of the season.

    The 33-year-old is out of contract in the summer and is a target for Brazilian side Botafogo.

    According to Torcedores, via SPORT, Botafago are looking to tempt players in Europe into making the switch to South America.

    Ex-Chelsea man Salomon Kalou and AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda have both previously had spells with Botafogo.

    And a move for left-back Marcelo would provide an emotional homecoming opportunity for the four-time Champions League winner.

    The only stumbling block is they may not be able to afford his high wage demands, despite not having to pay a transfer fee.

    But chiefs at the Rio de Janeiro outfit hope luring a big-name like Marcelo will attract new sponsors, and therefore cover the funds to sign him.

    They are set to face competition for his signature though, with fellow Brazilian club Fluminese one of a number of teams monitoring his situation.

    And he may prefer a move to boyhood club Fluminese, who sold him to Real Madrid all the way back in 2007.

    After a whopping 532 GAMES for Los Blancos his time at the Bernabeu is finally coming to an end.

  • Ian Tuckey

    ZZ ‘NOT READY FOR UTD’

    Zinedine Zidane has told Manchester United he won’t be available until the summer.

    That’s the claim from German outlet Bild after suggestions the Red Devils are keen on the ex-Real Madrid chief if current boss Ole Gunnar Solskajer gets sacked

    It’s even been reported that United have approached ZZ about taking the job.

    Bild’s Christian Falk says Zidane told the Red Devils he wants time out from football until the end of the season.

  • Ian Tuckey

    TOON, EVERTON & PALACE IN FOR PEPE

    Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe is being linked with Newcastle, Everton and Crystal Palace.

    The £72million Ivory Coast star has failed to consistently impress since arriving at the Emirates from Lille in July 2019.

    And Jeunes Footeux suggest at least three Premier League rivals are keen on the 26-year-old.

    Pepe is currently out of the Gunners’ side after 25 goals in 98 games.

    Credit: Getty
  • Ian Tuckey

    WOODWARD VOWS UTD WILL FOCUS ON TEAM NOT PROFITS

    Ed Woodward insists Manchester United are still ‘prioritising success on the pitch’ after a 16% rise in club revenues was eclipsed by a 23% surge in wages.

    Old Traffdord salaries rose £354million, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho having joined.

    Woodward, who is due to step down as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward at the end of 2021, said:

    Woodward, who is due to be leaving his role at the end of the year, said: “While these financial results today demonstrate our resilience through the pandemic, our top priority is success on the pitch.

    “The manager, players and everyone at the club are determined to achieve that objective.”

    Credit: EPA
  • Ian Tuckey

    GUNNERS WILL ONLY OFFER LACAZETTE SHORT DEAL

    Arsenal are reportedly only willing to offer Alexandre Lacazette a short-term deal as he approaches the end of his contract.

    The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent next summer and is free to speak to foreign clubs in the New Year.

    Having started the season playing second fiddle to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Frenchman has started the last three Premier League games.

    And according to The Athletic, Mikel Arteta’s side haven’t ruled out the possibility of extending his stay.

    Though they are refusing to offer him a long-term deal, and are only prepared to offer him a short-term contract.

    Arsenal do not want to be burdened with paying an experienced player a heavy salary and lengthy deal, as what happened with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi.

    The news outlet also states the North Londoners are fearful that Lacazette penning a new contract could have a ‘domino effect’ on the younger squad members.

    Should he remain at Arsenal, the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun could be hindered in their development.

  • Ian Tuckey

    RUDIGER 'FUMING' AT CHELSEA CONTRACT OFFER

    Antonio Rudiger reportedly feels Chelsea’s latest contract offer is a ‘slap in the face’.

    Bild claims the defender has been left fuming after the Blues fell short of his wage demands by £60,000-a-week.

    Rudiger, 28, has been one of Chelsea’s star men since Thomas Tuchel took charge at the start of the year.

    He played a key role in last season’s Champions League final triumph over Manchester City.

    And Blues fans were hoping his contract renewal would be taken care of promptly to prevent a free transfer next summer.

    But Chelsea are now facing the very real prospect of losing Rudiger for nothing after another round of contract talks ended in disappointment.

    It’s claimed Rudiger is looking for £10m-a-year, which works out to around £190k-a-week.

    However, Chelsea are only offering him £7m-a-year – which is around £130k-a-week.

    And Rudiger apparently feels disrespected by the gulf in figures, reportedly describing it as a ‘slap in the face’.

    Bayern Munich are known to be circling and are rumoured to be preparing a mega-money offer worth £400k-a-week.

    There’s also interest from Real Madrid and Juventus.

  • Ian Tuckey

    IRAN KEEPER HITS BACK AT 'BULLYING' CLAIMS SHE'S A MAN

    Iran women's star Zohreh Koudaei has vehemently denied claims from the Jordanian FA that she is a MAN as she vowed to take legal action.

    The governing body demanded a 'a gender verification check' from the Asian Football Confederation following September's clash in Uzbekistan.

    Koudaei, 32, saved two penalties in the 4-2 shootout victory as Iran secured their place in the Women's Asia Cup for the first time.

    Speaking to Turkish news outlet Hurriyet, Koudaei said: "I am a woman. This is bullying from Jordan. I will file a lawsuit."

    Before adding: "I will sue the Jordan Football Federation. This is bullying they did."

    Discussing the shocking claim, a spokesman for the AFC refused to confirm whether they are investigating the request.

    A statement read: "The AFC does not comment on ongoing investigations and/or proceedings, whether actual or potential."

    According to Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya via the Times, Koudaei has previously faced questions over her gender.

    Iran's boss Maryam Irandoost has also dismissed the serious allegations.

    She remarked: "The medical staff have carefully examined each player on the national team in terms of hormones to avoid any problems in this regard, and so I tell all fans not to worry,

    "These allegations are just an excuse not to accept the defeat against the Iranian women’s national team.

    “The Jordanian team considered themselves the big favourite to qualify.

    "And when they lost, it was natural to seek relief under false pretences, and to escape responsibility for this failure.

    "We will provide any documentation that the Asian Football Confederation wishes without wasting time.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    MESSI RETURN TO BARCA 'NOT RULED OUT'

    Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta could follow Dani Alves back to Barcelona to give the Nou Camp an old revamp.

    That's the amazing claim of Barca president Joan Laporta after new manager Xavi re-signed Brazil right-back Alves, 38.

    Laporta insists fellow legends Messi, 34, and Iniesta, 37, might also be reunited with 41-year-old Xavi.

    That would give Barcelona a vintage rewind to their greatest team – despite their cash problems.

    And asked about an awesome foursome reunion, Laporta said: "I do not rule it out.

    "It has happened with Dani. And I want to thank him because he has seen the situation of the club and wants to come to help.

    "We are going to reverse this situation, but now he has made this effort. It has to be appreciated.

    "Messi and Iniesta are spectacular, I cannot predict the future, as they are still playing, but they have made the club great, we always keep them in mind, although now they have contracts with others clubs and you have to respect that, but in life you never know."

  • Ian Tuckey

    ROYALS DOCKED SIX POINTS

    READING have agreed to a six-point deduction with the EFL for breaching spending rules.

    The Royals will take the hit effective immediately and will have to comply with an agreed business plan that will be put in effect for the remainder of this season as well as next term.

    The Championship side will need to adhere by it in order to avoid another suspended six-point penalty being triggered.

    Reading are now set to drop from 16th to 19th place, but they will still be avoiding the relegation zone.

    The Chinese-owned club were penalised for going over the £39million threshold on losses.

    Championship clubs are not allowed to make more losses than the aforementioned figure over three years.

    A business plan has been agreed for the rest of this season as well as the next and high wages will be among a number of matters set to be addressed.

    Negotiations between Reading and the EFL have been described as "lengthy but amicable".

  • Ian Tuckey

    BURNING BRIDGES

    Chelsea fans were left in shock after hearing that their season tickets are set to triple to almost £4,000 after the club upgraded their facilities at Stamford Bridge.

    According to the Mail, supporters received an email from the Blues telling them that the current price of £1,250 will rocket to £3,900 per seat for a tier one ticket on and around the half-way line next season.

    Chelsea's hierarchy said the facilities in the West Stand upper tier, which is rebranded as Westview, have been vastly improved with bars, screens, food outlets, better wi-fi and new padded seats for fans.

    The west Londoners' prices divide seats into four areas, tier one is at the halfway line and costs £3,900, while tier two is at the 18-yard line and costs £3,000.

    Tier three is at the goal line with a price of £1,500, while the fourth tier is a match-by-match option.

    The message read: "As you will have seen, the concourse has been transformed to create a spacious area with lots of natural light.

    "There are two new 360-degree bars with faster service and a new food hall serving an expanded range of high-quality food.

    "In the seating bowl we’ve introduced three big screens to ensure all seat locations can view the screen content for the first time, and all seats have been replaced with new padded seating.

    "When the changes were communicated before the start of this season, we explained that a new pricing model for Westview would be implemented for the 2022/23 season.

    "To give you plenty of time to review your options, we are now writing to let you know how this pricing model will be structured."

  • Ian Tuckey

    MARCELO SET FOR REAL MADRID EXIT

    Real Madrid legend Marcelo will reportedly bid an emotional farewell to the club at the end of the season.

    The 33-year-old is out of contract in the summer and is a target for Brazilian side Botafogo.

    According to Torcedores, via SPORT, Botafago are looking to tempt players in Europe into making the switch to South America.

    Ex-Chelsea man Salomon Kalou and AC Milan's Keisuke Honda have both previously had spells with Botafogo.

    And a move for left-back Marcelo would provide an emotional homecoming opportunity for the four-time Champions League winner.

    The only stumbling block is they may not be able to afford his high wage demands, despite not having to pay a transfer fee.

    But chiefs at the Rio de Janeiro outfit hope luring a big-name like Marcelo will attract new sponsors, and therefore cover the funds to sign him.

    They are set to face competition for his signature though, with fellow Brazilian club Fluminese one of a number of teams monitoring his situation.

    And he may prefer a move to boyhood club Fluminese, who sold him to Real Madrid all the way back in 2007.

    After a whopping 532 GAMES for Los Blancos his time at the Bernabeu is finally coming to an end.

  • Ian Tuckey

    ELNENY SET FOR GALATASARAY

    Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is poised for a January free transfer – with Galatasaray leading the race.

    The Turkish giants have reportedly already held talks with the Egypt star after having a September bid rejected.

    And Fanatik even claim negotiations are at the ‘signing stage’ – ahead of a possible deal in the next transfer window,

    Elneny has played just twice in the Premier League this season.

    And the 29-year-old’s contract runs out in June.

    His agent William D’Avila revealed this month the former Basel anchorman was keen to join Galatasaray.

    One small complication could be Elneny departing in January for the African Cup of Nations.

    But a reunion with Gunners legend Mesut Ozil in Istanbul still seems likely.

    Galatasaray boss Faith Terim is said to have demanded that his board pursue Elneny.

    Meanwhile, Spain ace Isco is tipped to follow fellow midfielder Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid to the Emirates.

    But Newcastle are also being linked with the playmaker, 29.

  • Ian Tuckey

    RED DEVILS BACK IN FOR TRIPPIER

    Manchester United are reportedly eyeing a swoop for Kieran Trippier.

    And a transfer would also see Diogo Dalot reunited with Jose Mourinho at Roma.

    Gianluca Di Marzio claims Trippier remains a target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after he was chased unsuccessfully by United over the summer.

    Atletico Madrid refused to sell the England right-back following his pivotal role in their LaLiga title win last term.

    But with Atleti now playing a new system and already falling five points off the summit, Trippier’s future in Spain is looking less secure.

    And that could finally pave the way for him to join United, who have also been less than convincing this term.

    It’s reckoned negotiations could start shortly ahead of a potential January switch.

    And should United get their hands on Trippier, it could see Portugal international Dalot leave Old Trafford.

    He is said to be a target for Roma boss Mourinho.

    The Special One signed Dalot for United in 2018.

    And Mourinho believes his compatriot can provide some much-needed depth at full-back.

  • Ian Tuckey

    PHLIPPING HELL

    Philippe Coutinho reportedly has no intention of leaving Barcelona in the January transfer window, dealing a blow to Newcastle who are desperate to bolster their squad.

    Newcastle have just five points after 11 games, and have looked at Coutinho as a player who could help fire them back up the table.

    But according to Sport, the Brazilian has no interest in leaving Barca in January.

    And no matter how much the club try to push him out the door, Coutinho is certain a move won’t materialise.

    The club will, however, look to move the £145million flop on in the summer with his huge wages an ongoing concern.

  • Justin Lawrence

    BURNING BRIDGES

    Chelsea fans were left in shock after hearing that their season tickets are set to triple to almost £4,000 after the club upgraded their facilities at Stamford Bridge.

    According to the Mail, supporters received an email from the Blues telling them that the current price of £1,250 will rocket to £3,900 per seat for a tier one ticket on and around the half-way line next season.

    Chelsea's hierarchy said the facilities in the West Stand upper tier, which is rebranded as Westview, have been vastly improved with bars, screens, food outlets, better wi-fi and new padded seats for fans.

    The west Londoners' prices divide seats into four areas, tier one is at the halfway line and costs £3,900, while tier two is at the 18-yard line and costs £3,000.

    Tier three is at the goal line with a price of £1,500, while the fourth tier is a match-by-match option.

    Chelsea fans were stunned after reading about the club's planned price hike.

    This supporter suggested there might be a typo: "That can't be right surely there's a typo in the email. How can they justify that?!"

    Source: Read Full Article