Memphis Depay remains Barcelona's preferred transfer option, while Manchester United want Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles in this window.

LaLiga giants Barca have been linked with numerous attackers as they rebuild under Ronald Koeman.

Depay has seemingly been the favourite to join, and it appears nothing has changed.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY THE FAVOURITE TO JOIN BARCELONA

Depay is in pole position to join Barcelona from Lyon, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says Depay, 26, fits the profile and salary expectations at Barca.

Depay and Koeman worked together while the latter was in charge of the Netherlands between 2018 and 2020.

ROUND-UP

- United are still hoping for two signings this transfer window. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking to land Borussia Dortmund star Sancho and Porto left-back Telles .

- Arsenal could be close to strengthening by signing Houssem Aouar . Telefoot says the attacker has agreed to join the club, with Lyon and Arsenal set for talks over a fee.

- As they continue their search for a defender, Manchester City may be close to making a decision. Goal reports the Premier League club are in talks with Benfica over Ruben Dias , in a deal that could see Nicolas Otamendi  go the other way. Meanwhile, ESPN says Sevilla are expecting an improved bid from City for Jules Kounde after an initial £50.2million (€55m) offer was rejected.

- Chelsea may not be done spending just yet. The Mirror reports they want to make another move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice , and it could lead to Jorginho joining Arsenal .

- Sergino Dest is expected to join Barcelona and Guillem Balague claims the Ajax right-back should officially join them next week. Barcelona sold Nelson Semedo to Wolves this week.

- Could there be late movement in the transfer window for Tottenham ? The Sun reports Spurs are in talks to sign Inter defender Milan Skriniar and are prepared to pay between £25m (€27.4m) and £30m (€32.9m), which is well below Inter's valuation.

Frank Lampard believes the arrival of Edouard Mendy at Chelsea can help push Kepa Arrizabalaga, though the Blues manager did not rule out the possibility of the Spain international leaving.

Kepa was entrusted to start the Premier League season, but Chelsea have been in pursuit of another goalkeeper throughout the window.

Mendy arrived this week in a £22million transfer from Ligue 1 club Rennes, with Kepa having made a calamitous error in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

While Mendy will not start against West Brom on Saturday, Lampard did not confirm whether Kepa would play, and also did not close the door on the world's most expensive goalkeeper potentially leaving on loan.

'There's no clarity on that one yet, about what will happen, and I'm not going to speak about the maybes of what might happen in the future," Lampard told a news conference when asked if Kepa could be loaned out. 

"I think the most important thing right now is the game this weekend, in which Mendy won't be involved in. I'll have conversations with all the goalkeepers and be very open about it and we'll see the way to move forward.

"I'm not going to talk about who starts because I need to speak to the goalkeepers themselves and I'd much rather it be a conversation I had with them rather than they read it from yourselves.

"I think with the dynamic of the goalkeepers, we know we've had problems in the goalkeeping area in the first two games of the season and at times last year. We know that and I think we can be very honest and open about that, and Kepa is in that search for the best performance levels.

"Mendy comes in of course to be big competition in that area. Now it's about how we move forward, about trying to get that performance level as best as can be."

Mendy has followed in the footsteps of Chelsea great Petr Cech, who joined the club from Rennes in 2004 and now serves as the Blues' technical and performance advisor.

Recently, Cech has also been out on the training pitch with the goalkeeping unit.

"I think a combination of both," Lampard said when asked if Cech was coaching or simply keeping himself fit. 

"With Petr, he has so much to give on that side of things. Obviously his day job here is to be technical advisor and he's a great help to me on that front.

"I think having Petr train with the goalkeepers and bring his experience is a great thing because he still has great quality. I think he retired pretty young to be fair. So he's training and keeping fit, which I think is healthy for him and the goalkeepers in the squad and that's as far as it goes. I've got absolutely no problem with it.

"It's something that I think is positive for the goalkeepers as a whole and Petr enjoys doing it, so why not give back and give that experience to the goalkeepers."

Christian Pulisic is nearing a return to action for Chelsea but Frank Lampard is wary of "overcooking" the winger and leaving him prone to injury. 

United States international Pulisic struggled with muscle issues in his first campaign at Stamford Bridge and missed two months at the start of the year with an abductor tear. 

The 22-year-old was impressive upon his return after lockdown, contributing five goals and two assists in all competitions. 

Pulisic is yet to feature this term after going off in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal with a hamstring injury in August, but Lampard said on Friday that a return is on the horizon. 

"No, Christian isn't ready for the squad, nor is Hakim Ziyech, but they're both training with us now, which is good news," he told the media ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with West Brom. 

"We hope to have them with us in proper match contention over the next week or two."

Lampard is keen to bide his time with Pulisic in particular, aiming to avoid any further injury setbacks when he eventually returns to action. 

"There's always a concern about a player's fitness when the history says there's been some injuries. Last season we did have them with Christian, I was questioned many times on him, when he did and didn't play," said Lampard. 

"Of course, when you look at a player with his recent record, you're trying to find the right balance of getting the best out of him, which we saw in big periods last year, and making sure you don't overcook him and leave him susceptible to injury, particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance. It's a fine line. 

"We're working on that and Christian's also very open to that. He wants to play, he's so hungry to play and he's very nearly fit now, but it's certainly something we have to manage with him this season. 

"We've all seen the talent and it's something we want to get right. I'm not saying it's a fundamental, chronic issue because it's not, but we want to get as many minutes of Christian – the really great Christian that we saw lots of last season – on the pitch."

New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell made their first Chelsea appearances in the 6-0 EFL Cup victory over Barnsley on Wednesday. 

While Lampard confirmed the pair could start at the Hawthorns, he is again wary of asking for too much too soon from players who are still working towards peak fitness. 

"I believe they are fit enough to start, but I do also have to take into consideration the fact that we play another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday, then another on Sunday, and then the international players will maybe go and play three games for their country, so I'm managing that one," he said. 

"Having come through that game the other day as they did, I think particularly Thiago did start that game and had 60 minutes in the bank, so that was good to see. 

"With Ben, I'll maybe be a little more cautious just to make sure, his injury's been a bit of a challenging one, so I'll make those calls. But they're in a good place at the moment."

Antonio Conte knows he will not be able spend big in the transfer window but did not rule out a move for N'Golo Kante and appeared to dismiss the prospect of selling Christian Eriksen.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta stated during a press conference on Friday that the club will "try to seize opportunities" in the transfer market but will not make large investments.

Achraf Hakimi and Arturo Vidal are among the new signings for the Nerazzurri ahead of their first game of the Serie A season against Fiorentina on Saturday.

Inter have also been linked with Chelsea midfielder Kante along with the likes of Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic.

It has been reported that midfield duo Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic could be allowed to leave, while Tottenham are said to have held talks with Inter over a deal for Milan Skriniar.

Conte gave little away when asked about potential deals after the head coach committed his future to Inter following an outburst at the end of last season that put his future in doubt.

Asked about Inter's strategy in the transfer market and the possibility of signing Kante, he said: "Times have changed compared to [Romelu] Lukaku [who joined Inter in a big-money move from Manchester United last August].

"It was an important operation and we managed to convince the president to take him. Operations like those give us credibility. Marotta has already spoken a lot about the market. We know the strategy, we are united and we have embraced this project.

"When we are clear and always tell the truth, then we find benefits from a similar situation."

He added: "The players who have arrived can bring experience, Hakimi will be important. In total agreement with the club we have evaluated and chosen a strategy taking into account what the owners have just said, that is the situation we are going through like all the other clubs. serenity and harmony.

"We must consolidate the credibility of last year. We are implementing a strategy for the good of Inter."

Marotta made it clear Inter would have to cut their cloth accordingly amid a coronavirus pandemic that has had a significant impact on the finances of clubs all over the world.

He said: "The club's task is to set up the squad in the best possible way while respecting the limitations that exist. We are in a pandemic and all clubs are turning their attention to financial sustainability.

"All clubs have lower revenues, closed stadiums, disputes. it is not it is a coincidence that no team has invested heavily in the market.

"We will do everything possible following the policy we are implementing. We will try to seize opportunities but there will be no large investments and large operations."

Jose Mourinho will face his former club Chelsea in the EFL Cup fourth round after Tottenham's bye through to the last 16 was confirmed on Friday.

Spurs had been due to play Leyton Orient in round three of the competition; however, a COVID-19 outbreak in the League Two club's ranks meant Tuesday's game could not go ahead this week.

The EFL did not make an immediate decision on the fate of that tie, but has now announced Tottenham will be given a walkover.

It means Mourinho's Spurs will host Chelsea next Tuesday - September 29 - with a quarter-final place at stake.

The EFL said in a statement: "The round three tie scheduled for Tuesday 22 September between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur could not take place following the issue by Waltham Forest Borough Council of an order preventing the match being played as planned. This followed a number of Leyton Orient players testing positive for COVID-19."

Citing rule 5.1 of the competition's regulations, which is specific to the non-fulfilment of fixtures, the EFL board ruled that Orient would be eliminated.

"The club was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture by virtue of the council’s order and shall therefore forfeit the tie," the EFL statement read.

Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United, but he remains in Germany.

Sancho's valuation has proved a stumbling block for United, who have made the England international their number one transfer target.

United, though, are not giving up hope as they reportedly make one last attempt to sign the 20-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET FOR FINAL SANCHO OFFER

Manchester United will make a take-it-or-leave-it offer for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star and the Mirror.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their €120million (£108m) asking price.

But United are preparing a final and non-negotiable £90m (€98m) offer, with £75m (€82m) up front with an additional £15m (€16m) in add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS reports Real Madrid face competition for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. Eyeing a move for Camavinga in 2021, Madrid are set to face a battle from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe could be available for around €100m, says L'Equipe. The PSG star, who is reportedly seeking an exit, is wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- The Sun claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to leave Stamford Bridge on loan following Edouard Mendy's arrival.

- Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has agreed to join Serie A side Roma, reports DiMarzio.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Juventus are weighing up a €60m move for Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked to Milan.

- If Milan Skriniar leaves for Tottenham, DiMarzio claims Inter could target Schalke star and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are making a late push to sign long-time target and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez following Luis Suarez's switch to Atletico Madrid.

Barca are confident they will sign Ajax full-back Sergino Dest ahead of Bayern, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that Atletico will not negotiate with Arsenal regarding Thomas Partey as they believe he will stay in the Spanish capital.

Chelsea made Kepa Arrizabalaga the world's most expensive goalkeeper when they shelled out £71.6million to sign him in August 2018.

Club director Marina Granovskaia said upon the announcement of his arrival: "Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.

"He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years. His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism."

Just over two years later, though, and Kepa's long-term future at the club is far from certain, with the Blues having paid £22m to bring in Edouard Mendy from Rennes.

Chelsea said Mendy had joined to "complement our existing group" of keepers, but he will be expected to swiftly make the starting spot his own after Kepa committed two errors leading to goals across the opening two games of the Premier League season.

With the help of Opta, we look at what Chelsea can expect from Mendy and how he compares to Kepa.

Safe hands

Mendy (24) made nine fewer league appearances than Kepa (33) in 2019-20, with the coronavirus pandemic having curtailed the Ligue 1 season when most teams still had 10 more fixtures to fulfil.

He conceded 19 goals and kept nine clean sheets as Rennes qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history, while Kepa let in 28 more and shut out the opposition one time less.

Mendy registered a far higher save percentage than the Blues keeper (76.3 per cent to 53.5 per cent) and blew him out of the water in terms of goals prevented.

According to expected goals on target data (xGoT), the shots on target faced by Mendy were enough to concede 21 goals. However, he only let in 18 (excluding own goals) and was therefore responsible for preventing three goals.

For Kepa, the numbers tell a far different story. An xGoT value of 34 compared to the 45 goals he let in (excluding own goals) means he conceded 11 more than expected.

On that basis alone, it is easy to see why Chelsea were keen to seek out an alternative.

On the deck

The move to Chelsea means Mendy may have to adapt to a different style of goalkeeping, though.

In the Premier League last season, 51 per cent of Kepa's 198 goal-kicks ended inside his own box.

 

However, Mendy sent far more of his long, with only 21 per cent of his 163 goal-kicks finding a recipient in his area.

Furthermore, over half of Mendy's passes (56.7 per cent) were classified as long balls, with Kepa's ratio down at 33.7 per cent. Despite that, though, his average of 20.1 successful passes per 90 minutes was just 2.6 fewer than the Spaniard.

Unless Chelsea specifically want greater emphasis on long-range distribution, Mendy could require some time to adjust to playing a shorter passing game.

But if he is able to adapt, Kepa may find his game time at Stamford Bridge severely limited.

Chelsea have signed Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes on a five-year contract, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

The big-spending Blues have reportedly paid just over £20million to bring 28-year-old Mendy to Stamford Bridge.

Mendy's arrival in London will cast doubt over the future of the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga, who made another costly mistake in Chelsea's Premier League defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

The towering Mendy helped Ligue 1 side Rennes qualify for the Champions League for the first time last season and now becomes Frank Lampard's eighth new recruit in the transfer window.

Mendy said: "I am so excited to be joining Chelsea. It's a dream for me to be a part of this exciting squad and to work with Frank Lampard and all of his coaching staff.

"I look forward to meeting my team-mates and can't wait to get started."

Blues director Marina Granovskaia explained that Petr Cech, Chelsea's former goalkeeper and current technical and performance adviser, picked out Mendy as an ideal candidate.

Granovskaia said: "As soon as Petr Cech and our technical team identified Edouard as the most suitable goalkeeper to complement our existing group, there was only one player we wanted to bring in.

"Edouard arrives following a season of real success with Rennes, he is ambitious for more, and we welcome him to our club."

Mendy, who will also compete with Willy Caballero for a starting berth, impressed during a three-year spell at Reims before making the switch to Rennes.

He kept 13 clean sheets and conceded just 31 goals in 33 matches in his only full season with Rennes before the French campaign was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cech also moved from Rennes to Chelsea, making that switch 16 years ago.

Chelsea have signed Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes on a five-year contract, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard promised Kai Havertz's three-goal haul against Barnsley will be the first of many impressive displays from the club's new signing.

Havertz put in some underwhelming performances in his first two Premier League appearances, but came to the fore with a hat-trick in Wednesday's 6-0 EFL Cup demolition of Championship side Barnsley at Stamford Bridge.

The Germany international star also played a part in another goal as Lampard's side made light work of Barnsley in London midweek.

Lampard has consistently urged patience with the 21-year-old, and suggested his treble showing is merely a sign of what is to come.

"I was delighted with Kai and everything of the night that I wanted from him," Lampard told a news conference.

"It was a great exercise for him, another game to see how we want to work off the ball, but also have freedom on the ball and combinations.

"It's the first of many great nights for him."

Tammy Abraham played ahead of Havertz and opened the scoring, with Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud also getting in on the act.

In defence, Lampard handed a debut to former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva, while Ben Chilwell came on for Havertz midway through the second half.

"It's exciting for us," Lampard said of Silva's debut, which lasted just over an hour.

"He has just had a weeks training with us. But he gave something off for us with a leader of authority. At the minute, the fact he can't speak the language doesn't matter too much."

Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were both left out of Chelsea's squad, and Lampard acknowledged the duo could move on before the transfer window closes if it suits Chelsea.

"They weren't in the squad and that was just a choice," Lampard said. "There may be movement, but don't read too much in to them not being in the squad. It will have to be right or the club."

Kai Havertz scored a hat-trick as Chelsea sealed their progression into the EFL Cup fourth round with a dominant 6-0 win over Barnsley.

Havertz had struggled to stamp his authority in his first two Premier League appearances, but the former Bayer Leverkusen star got up and running in English football in style on Wednesday.

With Tammy Abraham opening the scoring, Havertz doubled Chelsea's lead before playing his part in Ross Barkley putting the hosts 3-0 up.

Havertz added to his tally with a superb finish soon after, subsequently rounding off his first senior hat-trick 10 minutes later – Olivier Giroud making it six for Chelsea late on.

Callum Hudson-Odoi squandered a great chance in the opening two minutes and Chelsea were fortunate not to be made to pay when debutant Thiago Silva gifted possession to Patrick Schmidt, whose cross just evaded Cauley Woodrow.

Yet it was the hosts who struck first – Abraham slotting in after dispossessing Aapo Halme.

Mason Mount should have put Chelsea 2-0 up but Havertz made no mistake from the next opportunity, coolly dispatching beyond Bradley Collins from close range.

Willy Caballero kept Barnsley at bay three more times before the break, though hopes of a comeback were ended when Havertz forced Alex Mowatt into an error and Barkley drilled home.

Havertz had his second six minutes later, picking out the bottom-right corner with a wonderful strike.

His hat-trick goal came courtesy of a Collins howler – Barnsley's goalkeeper caught stranded on the edge of his box as Havertz nudged it past him and slammed into an empty net before being subbed off.

Barkley missed a glorious opportunity to add a sixth, but Giroud was on hand to pile further misery on Barnsley when he headed in Ben Chilwell's cross late on.

 

What does it mean? Mourinho reunion next up?

Tottenham may receive a bye to the fourth round due to several Leyton Orient players testing positive for coronavirus, and Chelsea's reward for their victory would be a meeting with their former manager if that proves to be the case. Frank Lampard's side came out on top in both league clashes with Spurs last season.

Havertz arrives with a bang

Lampard has urged patience with Chelsea's new signing and Havertz repaid his manager's belief with an excellent display. Across Europe's top five leagues, only Robert Lewandowski (35), Lionel Messi (32) and Cristiano Ronaldo (31) have been involved in more goals in all competitions in 2020 than the 21-year-old, who has 18 goals and eight assists.

Barnsley no match for the big boys

Gerhard Struber set his side up to attack, but though the Tykes caused Chelsea problems at times, they have now lost 15 of their last 17 EFL Cup matches against top-flight opponents.

What's next?

Chelsea travel to West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday, while Barnsley are in action against Coventry City in the second tier.

First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

Thiago Silva is proud to have joined Chelsea at the age of 36 after his career was threatened by tuberculosis.

While on loan at Dynamo Moscow from Porto in 2005, Silva experienced chest pains and was hospitalised for five months after being diagnosed with the illness.

The centre-back opted against an operation on one of his lungs that would likely have brought a premature end to his time in football and returned to boyhood club Fluminense the following year.

He has since gone on to win the Serie A with Milan, 23 trophies at Paris Saint-Germain – with whom he lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich last month – and the Copa America with Brazil.

Asked about the serious illness he suffered a decade-and-a-half ago, Silva said: "It was one of the worst experiences in my life because you have a dream as a child to be playing as a professional footballer and when I got TB, it seemed the dream would be over. But, thank God, I had the strength to overcome it and get well.

"It's difficult to talk about it because it brings back these memories, these moments. I remember my last day in the hospital, the doctor told me that I hadn't been cured, that I needed an operation on my lung and that my football career would be over.

"But, thank God, thanks to the qualified people and the specialists, little by little I got better. Little by little, with dedication I managed to return to playing football.

"Definitely it's something that not many people have gone through in their lives and a lot of people didn't recover from a similar illness, so I think about it a lot, these moments and what I've been through and I thankfully had the strength to overcome it.

"I'm very grateful to my family, to my wife, who was very supportive. At the time she was my girlfriend and she was 17, and she helped give me the strength to get over it so I was able to then chase my dreams. Now I can say today that I'm a champion, not just in football but also in life."

With health at the forefront of many people's minds amid the coronavirus pandemic, Silva said: "I'd like to send a message to the young people to tell them to really make the most of their lives.

"If someone is playing football, to really dedicate themselves to playing football. Some people have football as a hobby, but football is a job and life is short and goes by quite quickly.

"In 2005 my life could have been over, but thank God I overcame that illness and today I can now say that I am victorious, both personally and professionally. It's a wonderful experience to now be 36 and a player in the Premier League and to put on a Chelsea shirt at 36. It's immense responsibility and a great source of pride."

Silva was signed to provide experience to Frank Lampard's youthful squad and it is not weighing on his mind that he is on a one-year contract at a club that does not typically hang on to older players.

The veteran defender - who could make his debut against Barnsley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday - hopes to prove he is still capable of being an asset at the highest level and earning a place in the Brazil squad for the 2022 World Cup.

"I think when you get to a certain age, the tendency is that you sign this type of contract. I have no doubt that I will give everything and do my best and contribute," Silva added.

"I prepare and work really hard in everything I do. I love football, I love preparation, and it's not a case of preparing on a Friday for the Saturday, this type of preparation goes way back, so I'm totally relaxed about the contract.

"Whether Chelsea will want to renew it or not, I don't know. If Chelsea feel I haven't met expectations or contributed, we'll sit down and talk about that. I'm not worried at all and I will prepare to do my best possible and really help to contribute to this new team and new project.

"I've accepted this new challenge. It's going to be really good for me. Everyone knows my ambition is to play in the World Cup in two years, when I'll be 38 years old."

Real Madrid and Liverpool reportedly lead the race for Kylian Mbappe if the France star decides to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 21, is contracted at PSG until 2022, making his future a talking point heading into next year.

It seems the France international's future lies at one of three clubs.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID, LIVERPOOL LEAD RACE FOR MBAPPE

Mbappe's future will be decided next year and the forward will be at PSG, Real Madrid or Liverpool, according to L'Equipe.

The World Cup winner has been heavily linked with Zinedine Zidane's Madrid previously, while Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions have also reportedly been interested in the past.

The report says Liverpool and Madrid are in regular contact with Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Luis Suarez is set for a Barcelona exit, but the forward's next club remains unclear. Sport reports Suarez has an agreement with Atletico Madrid, apparently for two seasons, but Barca are said to be intending to block him joining a direct rival for free.

- Manchester United could strengthen as soon as this week. The Guardian reports Porto left-back Alex Telles hopes to seal a move to United this week and it says the Premier League club are hoping to get the 27-year-old's price down to £23mllion (€25m).

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga again coming under fire, Chelsea are set to welcome a new goalkeeper. RMC Sport reports the Premier League club have finalised a deal worth £22million (€24m), plus £5.5m (€6m) in bonuses, with Rennes for Edouard Mendy.

- Staying at Chelsea and N'Golo Kante is reportedly wanted by Inter. Corriere dello Sport reports Inter coach Antonio Conte wants the midfielder, but a €50million (£45.9m) asking price is unthinkable for the Serie A club unless Christian Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic are sold.

- There could also be movement at Real Madrid. EFE reports Luka Jovic is pushing for a return to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan after struggling in his first season with the LaLiga giants. Meanwhile, Marca says former Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been offered to Madrid.

- While Suarez may arrive, Atletico Madrid are also considering their transfer options. AS reports they are waiting for offers for Diego Costa, while Marca says the LaLiga club need to see a player leave before potentially signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira.

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