Rumour Has It: Dortmund brace for Haaland exit with Martial swoop as Man City target Mbappe

By Sports Desk September 25, 2021

Anthony Martial has reportedly been permitted to explore his options by Manchester United.

Martial has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford since Cristiano Ronaldo's return.

France international Martial scored four league goals for United last term, after netting 17 times in the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND PLOTS MARTIAL MOVE

Borussia Dortmund are bracing for Erling Haaland's departure by plotting a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, claims 90Min.

Haaland, who has a release clause in his contract that activates in mid-2022, is being chased by a host of top clubs, including Premier League champions Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Liverpool and United.

Martial is still contracted to the Red Devils until 2024, having penned a five-year deal in January 2019, amid reported interest from Barca, Tottenham and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Transfer Window podcast claims City owner Sheikh Mansour wants to hijack Madrid's bid for PSG star Kylian Mbappe and sign him "at any cost". Mbappe has also been linked with United and Liverpool.

- Barcelona are looking at Reims' Spanish head coach Oscar Garcia as a replacement for under-pressure boss Ronald Koeman, per RMC Sport.

- Madrid midfielder Isco has held numerous rounds of negotiations with Serie A challengers Milan about a move to Italy, according to Todo Fichajes.

Barca are considering a move for Porto's Colombia international forward Luis Diaz next off-season, claims El Nacional.

- Diario AS says Theo Hernandez is ready to commit his long-term future to Milan amid interest from PSG and City.

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    Romelu Lukaku's second spell with Chelsea lasted just one season.

    Inter have confirmed the return of Lukaku in a season-long loan deal just 321 days after selling him to Chelsea for just under £100million.

    It reunites Lukaku with the club with whom he won the Scudetto in 2021 and writes another chapter in the history of the Blues signing a high-profile striker, only for them to fail to produce.

    As the London club perhaps wonder what might have been with Lukaku, Stats Perform looks back at the string of forwards who saw their goals dry up after moving to Stamford Bridge.

    Mateja Kezman

    Kezman did not arrive for big money by today's standards, joining from PSV for a £5.3m fee in 2004, but he came with significant expectations after a goal-laden spell in the Eredivisie in which he plundered 105 in 122 league appearances and won the title twice.

    However, he came nowhere close to living up to the billing in his sole season in the Premier League, finding the net seven times in 41 games in all competitions. His most important goal was the ultimately decisive third in Chelsea's League Cup final win over Liverpool as the Blues did the double, going on to claim a first Premier League crown under Jose Mourinho.

    He was subsequently sold to Atletico Madrid and had spells with Fenerbahce and Paris Saint-Germain that delivered more trophies, though he never managed to recapture his PSV form.

    Andriy Shevchenko

    Few strikers in world football were as feared as Shevchenko during his golden years at Milan, for whom he remains the second-highest goalscorer in the club's history with 175.

    Chelsea's £30.8m move to lure him from San Siro in 2006, then a record fee paid by an English club, reflected his reputation. Yet Shevchenko's transition to the Premier League did not go to plan.

    In his final season in Serie A, Shevchenko averaged a goal every 116 minutes. Across two seasons with Chelsea, that dipped to one every 284 minutes in the Premier League. He netted 22 in 77 games in all competitions, with the appointment of Avram Grant as Mourinho's successor in 2007 limiting his game time. Shevchenko won the FA Cup and League Cup with the Blues but was an unused substitute as they lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United.

    He was sent back to Milan for an unsuccessful loan spell before finishing his career back at boyhood club Dynamo Kyiv.

    Fernando Torres

    Torres' 2011 move from Liverpool to Chelsea was one of the most famous January transfers in Premier League history. As with a lot of January moves, it did not have the desired impact.

    In his final two full seasons with Liverpool in 2008-09 and 2009-10, 'El Nino' scored 32 Premier League goals from 166 shots that had an expected goals (xG) value of 13.3. In 2010-11, he scored nine for Liverpool from an xG value of 8.5. Across three and a half seasons with Chelsea, Torres scored 20 league goals from 217 shots with an xG value of 26.5.

    In terms of silverware, Torres was still successful with Chelsea, winning three trophies. His crowning moment came as he scored the decisive goal at Camp Nou against Barcelona to send the Blues into the Champions League final, where they beat Bayern Munich on penalties.

    But his overall output was never close to good enough, and he too had a brief spell at Milan before heading back to where it all began with Atletico Madrid.

    Alvaro Morata

    Of all the players on this list, Morata's relative lack of goalscoring success was the least surprising given he made the move to Stamford Bridge having never scored more than 15 league goals in a single season in his career.

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    Timo Werner

    Werner still has the chance to turn his Chelsea career around, but the former RB Leipzig striker's time at Stamford Bridge has followed a very similar trajectory to Chelsea's high-profile misfires.

    Having scored 95 goals in 159 games for Leipzig, Werner has netted only 23 in two seasons for Chelsea since his £47.5m move, with his 191 shots carrying an xG value of 33.7, illustrating just how poorly the Germany international has performed in front of goal.

    He has brought value in other areas, serving as a high-energy focal point of the Chelsea attack, but Thomas Tuchel will surely want to see more in terms of end product for Werner to free himself from the 'flop' tag.

    Romelu Lukaku

    Unable to cement a place in the Chelsea first team during his first spell with the club, Lukaku's second act at Stamford Bridge was expected to be much more profitable.

    Chelsea forked out a club-record £97.5m on that proving to be the case but have now moved to cut their losses and allow Lukaku to return to Inter, if only on loan.

    Lukaku scored a goal every 120 minutes in helping Inter to Serie A glory in 2020-21 but managed just eight in the Premier League at one every 198 minutes.

    Between Werner and Lukaku, Chelsea could not afford to carry two struggling strikers, with the latter becoming the latest in a long line of misguided attacking investments to make a swift exit.

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    Romelu Lukaku has returned to Inter on loan after a disappointing first season back at Chelsea.

    The Belgium striker only scored eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances after his club-record £97.5million move back to Stamford Bridge last August.

    Lukaku's second spell at Chelsea took another turn for the worse when he said stated in an interview with Sky Italia late last year that he was not happy with his role at the London club.

    The  29-year-old declared: "I know I will return to Inter, I really hope so. I am in love with Italy."

    He has now got his wish, sealing a switch back to San Siro for the 2022-23 season less than a year after leaving for a huge fee.

    "We're back baby. I'm very happy, thanks for the compliments. Remember three years ago, we were here? We're back," he said in a social media video alongside Inter chairman Steven Zhang.

    Asked by Zhang whether he promises to 'score lots of goals at San Siro', he added: "That's what we're here for. I keep my promises."

    Lukaku will try and help Inter wrestle back the Serie A title from city rivals Milan after he played a huge part in their Scudetto triumph in the 2020-21 season, scoring 24 goals in 32 league games.

    During his previous two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

    The former Manchester United and Everton frontman formed a fearsome partnership with Lautaro Martinez under Antonio Conte as Inter lifted their first league title in 11 years.

    Lukaku is likely to also be joined by forward Paulo Dybala, who will reportedly join Simone Inzaghi's side after leaving Juventus as a free agent.

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    The Argentina forward has been linked with a host of clubs as former strike partner Lukaku returns to San Siro, including Tottenham and Chelsea, with Inter's attacking ranks having the potential to be bolstered further with the addition of free agent Paulo Dybala.

    However, despite considerable competition, Martinez's agent Alejandro Camano has made it clear his client will remain at the Nerazzurri and is delighted to reunite with Lukaku.

    "There's a link between them, that's evident. Wearing this shirt isn't for everyone," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's a great thing.

     

    "Lautaro is happy in Milan, he feels like he's at the centre of things, he's loved.

    "Why would we want to leave? To where? We're already at the top."

    Martinez was Inter's leading scorer in Serie A last season, when they finished second behind rivals Milan, and his tally of 21 goals was only bettered in the division by Lazio's Ciro Immobile (27) and Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic (24), who joined from Fiorentina in January.

    Inter commence their Serie A campaign on August 14 away to Lecce, with their first home game at San Siro coming the following week against Spezia.

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