Rumour Has It: Chelsea to launch record bid for Leicester defender Fofana

By Sports Desk August 09, 2022

Chelsea are in the market to bolster their defence following the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Thomas Tuchel's side have already added Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £35million.

The Blues are eager to add another centre-back to their ranks before the closure of the transfer window.

TOP STORY – BLUES TO MAKE WORLD-RECORD BID FOR FOFANA

Chelsea are preparing to make a world-record offer for Leicester City's French defender Wesley Fofana, reports Football London.

The Blues' bid would be the highest fee paid for a defender, having had a previous offer declined by the Foxes.

It is believed Chelsea's previous bid was £70m with Leicester insisting he is not for sale. Harry Maguire, sold by Leicester to Manchester United, holds the record for a defender at £80m.


ROUND-UP

– Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, having reached an agreement with the Italian club for an initial £15m fee, according to The Guardian. France international Rabiot is in the final year of his contract with Juventus.

– 90min reports that United target Benjamin Sesko is close to agreeing to a deal with German club RB Leipzig. The report claims that 19-year-old Slovenian forward Sesko will move from Salzburg to Leipzig in 2023.

– United have also reached out to Real Betis on Guido Rodriguez's status according to AS, while the Red Devils are still considering Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, reports The Telegraph.

– Tottenham have reached an agreement with Udinese for winger Destiny Udogie for more than €20m, claims Fabrizio Romano. Udogie, however, will still on loan at Udinese this season.

– Monaco are keen on signing Manchester United defender Eric Bailly on loan, claims L'Equipe. The Ligue 1 club want the Ivorian, who is under contract until 2024, with an option to buy.

– Fiorentina will rival Villarreal for the signature of Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The Argentina international spent time on loan with Villarreal last season.

Valencia will revive its interest in Tottenham's Bryan Gil following Goncalo Guades' move to Wolves, claims Diario AS.

– The Telegraph claims Milan have re-opened talks with Chelsea's Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech who has been transfer listed.

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  • Maguire 'under more scrutiny' at Manchester United as defender thrives on World Cup stage Maguire 'under more scrutiny' at Manchester United as defender thrives on World Cup stage

    Harry Maguire feels he is "under a lot more scrutiny" with Manchester United than England, as the centre-back continues to impress at the World Cup.

    The Red Devils skipper has been a standout performer for Gareth Southgate's side at Qatar 2022, starting all four of their games to date and helping them to three clean sheets.

    It makes a marked contrast for the defender, who has struggled at club level over the past season-and-a-half, and has been deposed as a first-choice pick under new boss Erik ten Hag amid an injury layoff.

    Maguire himself has few complaints, acknowledging United were well under-par last term, and said he feels he is under the microscope more at Old Trafford than with the Three Lions.

    "At Manchester United, I'm under a lot more scrutiny," he added. "Everything I do gets analysed. Every pass I make gets analysed. Every goal we concede is a defender's fault.

    "If you're playing week in, week out as I did for three years, the last year hasn't been good enough. Everyone in the team didn't play well enough, and we came under a lot of scrutiny as players."

    Under Ten Hag however, United have overcome a shaky start - and the saga of Cristiano Ronaldo - to head into the World Cup break looking close to their best for two years.

    Maguire is delighted to see the turnaround, even if he is down the pecking order, and is relishing the chance to battle to get back into the Dutchman's thinking.

    "No one came out of the season with plaudits, so it was a general team issue last season, but this one has been much better," he added.

    "This is the first year I've really sat on a bench in a few games. I obviously got an injury as well, a thigh injury that kept me out for four weeks, but I'll fight to get my place back."

    Maguire will be expected to line up when England face off with defending champions France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

  • Former Man Utd target Rabiot reiterates Premier League desire Former Man Utd target Rabiot reiterates Premier League desire

    Adrien Rabiot would like to play in the Premier League one day, the Juventus midfielder has reiterated.

    Rabiot was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United earlier this year, but reports suggested that even though a fee of an initial £15million (€17.4m) had been agreed, terms could not be reached with the player and the Red Devils instead opted to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid.

    The 27-year-old is currently with France at the World Cup and ahead of their quarter-final with England on Saturday, Rabiot said he would like to play his club football in the Premier League at some point.

    Referencing the short period he spent at Manchester City's academy in 2008, he told reporters: "It was a very good experience. I didn't do a whole season, though.

    "Everything went well while I was there. I really liked the atmosphere. It's really something that is only in England. It's different from France and Italy.

    "I have always said that I'd like to play in England in my career. I still have that desire. I'd like to evolve in the Premier League."

    Rabiot moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Juventus in 2019 and has made 145 appearances for the Bianconeri, with 11 goals and eight assists, though he has particularly excelled this season, scoring five goals in 16 games, with two assists.

    Although he is in the final year of his deal with the Serie A club, Rabiot seemed to suggest he has not made a decision on his future, but was clear he is open to a move to England one day.

    "I haven't got a Premier League team in mind right now," he added. "I haven't chosen a team or anything. It's a general thing.

    "It's the league, it's the level of play that's going on, that's what attracts me most. It corresponds to my qualities."

  • Gakpo on Man Utd interest: 'When they come, I'll think about it' Gakpo on Man Utd interest: 'When they come, I'll think about it'

    Netherlands and PSV forward Cody Gakpo will "think about" a move to Manchester United should the Premier League side come calling again.

    Gakpo has been one of the stars of the 2022 World Cup so far and is reportedly a January transfer target for United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich among others.

    The 23-year-old became only the second player in the competition's history, after Italy's Alessandro Altobelli in 1986, to open the scoring three times in the same group stage.

    He fired a blank in the 3-1 win over the United States in the last 16, but the in-form attacker still boasts a return of 17 goals and eight assists in 30 games this season.

    United are reputed to be the frontrunners to sign Gakpo, having already reached out in the past window, and he will consider any fresh interest in the coming weeks.

    Asked about missing out on a move to the Premier League earlier this year, coinciding with PSV failing to qualify for the Champions League, Gakpo said: "That was tough.

    "I've learned a lot from that. Next time I'll do it differently. I thought about Manchester United before, but when that didn't happen I didn't know anymore and started to doubt.

    "Then Leeds United came and I wondered if I should go there. Now I'll wait for everything. I haven't heard from Manchester United yet, but when they come, I'll think about it."

     

    Gakpo's goals and all-round attacking play have helped the Netherlands through to the quarter-finals in Qatar, where Argentina await in a mouth-watering tie on Friday.

    The Oranje have lost just one of their nine meetings with Argentina, though the most recent of their four draws resulted in a penalty shoot-out loss in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

    Argentina have found their groove with wins over Mexico, Poland and Australia since suffering a shock opening loss to Saudi Arabia, with Lionel Messi playing a starring role.

    "We shouldn't think only about him," Gakpo added in the interview with Dutch outlet NRC. "We need to win and it doesn't matter who we are facing.

    "Argentina are here for one reason and so are we. We are aware we have to play better than them, and we can do that.

    "But in a tournament like this, all that counts is the result. We have to find the right moments on the field to use each other's strengths."

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