DONE DEAL: Chelsea squad set for huge facelift

By Mirror: Monday, July 30th 2018 at 10:17 GMT +3 | Football
[PHOTO: COURTESY]

Chelsea have switched centre-back targets from Juventus centre-back Daniel Rugani to... his team-mate Mattia Caldara.

The Blues have offered the Italian champions £40million for Caldara having cooled their interest in fellow 24-year-old Rugani, who would be at least £5m more expensive.

Chelsea's director and transfer guru Marina Granovskaia had talks over several potential deals with Juve counterpart Fabio Paratici on Sunday in the south of France — aboard owner Roman Abramovich’s yacht.

They also still want Juventus' striker Gonzalo Higuain and have offered the £65m-rated Argentina international more in wages than rival suitors AC Milan.

Higuain, whose future is in doubt after Juve's swoop for Real Madrid megastar Cristiano Ronaldo, is due back in Italy on Monday after his holidays, and will hold talks with the club.

Elsewhere, Chelsea are also in negotiations with Germany's Borussia Dortmund over attacking midfielder Christian Pusilic, who would cost around £65m.

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New boss Maurizio Sarri is thought to be keen to further strengthen his midfield — Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey is another target, as is Matias Vecino of Inter Milan.

Real Madrid have become the latest club linked with Chelsea's Brazil international winger Willian, after Barcelona had a £70m offer rejected last week.

The European champions are also intent on landing long-time target Thibaut Courtois, although Chelsea will not let the Belgium goalkeeper, who is keen on the move, go until they have signed a replacement.

Now-Championship Stoke’s Jack Butland a contender, as Everton are set to resist any offers for New England hero Jordan Pickford.

Striker Olivier Giroud, who only joined in January from Arsenal but proved a big hit as Chelsea lifted the FA Cup, is another player who could be on the way out, with French club Marseille on his trail.

Tiemoue Bakayoko is wanted by Spaniards Sevilla, but they want to do a loan deal for the £40m star and Chelsea are reluctant.

Misfit fellow midfielder Danny Drinkwater, whose £35m move from Leicester last summer flopped as injuries limited him to just five Premier League starts, is also up for sale.

Southampton, Crystal Palace and previous club Leicester are all keen.

Meanwhile, AC Milan are ready to offer Antonio Conte a £5.5m-a-year contract to take over as their new manager.

Conte, sacked by Chelsea three weeks ago, is being lined up by the Italians to replace Gennaro Gattuso, whose position is under threat despite the fact the former San Siro midfield legend was only appointed in April.

Former Italy and Juventus boss Conte turned down an offer to resume his old role with the national team earlier this summer, and looked set to have time off after his departure from Stamford Bridge.

Any appointment by Milan could be held up because Conte is still battling Chelsea for the £9m he is due for the remaining year of his contract.

The 48-year-old has embarked on a legal battle with the Londoners over the terms of the pay-off.

 

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