Chelsea have been crowned European and world champions since Thomas Tuchel's appointment just over 12 months ago.

The Blues, however, finished fourth in the Premier League last season.

Chelsea are third this term but 16 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, and it seems recruitment is in the offing.

TOP STORY – BLUES SET TO SPLASH THE CASH

Chelsea are set for an off-season transfer splash as they prepare to back Tuchel fresh from their Club World Cup triumph, according to The Telegraph, 

The Blues have their sights firmly set on signing long-term target Jules Kounde from Sevilla as a priority in the upcoming off-season.

Chelsea are also interested in West Ham United's England international Declan Rice and Monaco's 22-year-old French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.


ROUND-UP

- Football London reports Arsenal are plotting a move for Chelsea forward Armando Broja, who is currently on loan at Southampton. The Gunners are short on attacking options after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's exit and with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah running down contracts.

- Fichajes also claims that Arsenal are interested in Milan forward Rafael Leao, along with Newcastle United.

Barcelona are trying to agree new deals with star young pair Gavi and Ronald Araujo amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester United, reports ESPN.

Juventus are willing to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Alex Sandro according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fichajes claims that West Ham want to sign Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan and Real Sociedad centre-back Robin Le Normand.

Chelsea are not content to stick with what they have. 

The Blues are top of the Premier League but poised for major moves in January.

Three young stars and a veteran are high on their radar. 

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE REINFORCEMENTS

Chelsea have their sights set on moves for Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt and Lorenzo Insigne, reports Marca, while another report has them as the favourites to land Aurelien Tchouameni

The Blues are poised to revisit their talks with Sevilla over Kounde in January with multiple centre-backs set to be out of contract at the end of the season. 

Thomas Tuchel's side could also dip into Serie A and try to lure De Ligt from Juventus and Insigne from Napoli.

Chelsea are prepared to offer €60million (£51m) to Monaco for Tchouameni, says TuttoJuve, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus also possibilities. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are eyeing Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech as possible loan options from Chelsea, says Sport. 

- Manchester United are pushing to line up Zinedine Zidane to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, reports The Sunday Times.

- United are prepared to sell Jesse Lingard for as little as £10m in January, says The Sun. 

- Roma are in negotiations with United over a loan deal with an option to buy Diogo Dalot, claims Corriere dello Sport. 

- Inter will bring aboard Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on a four-year deal, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Newcastle United will try to land Adrien Rabiot from Juventus for €10m to €15m (£8.5m-£13m), says Calciomercato. 

Newcastle have the wealthiest owners in the world following their £300million takeover last week.

The Magpies have since been linked to a host of top players including Niklas Sule and Philippe Coutinho, with Timo Werner now joining that list.

The Premier League club are 19th in the table, winless this season with only three points from seven games, which suggests they need significant strengthening.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE KEEN ON GERMAN STRIKER

Newcastle are set to splash the cash and could make a bid to sign Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner, says Bild.

The report claims Newcastle have been "in regular contact" with Werner's agent ahead of the January transfer window.

Werner joined Chelsea in a £47.5million deal in June last year from RB Leipzig.

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- Juventus are willing to sell France international midfielder Adrien Rabiot, with Newcastle linked as a suitor, as they raise funds for moves for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni and Manchester United's Donny van de Beek.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are looking to sign Chelsea's Germany international defender Antonio Rudiger, who is out of contract at the end of this season.

- Liverpool are open to the idea of bringing Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield from Barcelona in January, claims the Express.

- Fichajes claims Liverpool are also considering a £68million (€80m) swoop for Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix, while they also progress contract talks with Mohamed Salah.

- Barcelona and Milan are top of the queue in the pursuit to sign Jesse Lingard if he leaves Old Trafford on a free transfer at the end of this season, according to the Daily Mail.

- Phil Foden has agreed terms on a new six-year contract with Manchester City, reports Goal.com.

Adrien Rabiot has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Nations League final between France and Spain on Sunday as a result.

The Juventus midfielder started as Les Bleus came back from 2-0 down to beat Belgium 3-2 in the semi-finals, coming off for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni with the scores level in the 75th minute.

Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku struck in the first half but Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe hauled France level before Theo Hernandez hit a dramatic winner in the 90th minute.

However, Rabiot will not be able to participate in Sunday's showdown in Milan and is now in isolation away from the rest of the squad.

The news of the midfielder's unavailability will come as a blow to France boss Didier Deschamps, who has already lost left-back Lucas Digne to a hamstring injury and was unable to call up N'Golo Kante for the tournament, with the Chelsea star having also contracted COVID-19.

France are unable to name replacements for the pair and will be forced to face Spain at San Siro with a 21-man squad.

Giorgio Chiellini is urging Juventus not to focus all of their attention on Romelu Lukaku when they face Chelsea on Wednesday, also highlighting the qualities of Jorginho, who he is backing to win this year's Ballon d'Or.

Juve made a winning start to their Champions League campaign two weeks ago with a 3-0 victory over Malmo, though they will expect a rather trickier challenge as Chelsea visit Turin on matchday two.

The contest will see Chiellini renew hostilities with Lukaku, their pair having enjoyed some bruising tussles during the Belgian's time in Serie A with Inter.

But the Chelsea player Chiellini seems to hold in the highest regard is Jorginho, a player he featured alongside as Italy won Euro 2020 earlier this year.

That success coupled with Chelsea's Champions League win in 2020-21 saw Jorginho win the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award in August, and Chiellini believes he deserves to add the Ballon d'Or to his collection as well.

Asked about the prospect of going up against Lukaku again, Chiellini said: "Lukaku is a great player, we will have to be careful.

"It will be important not to allow the qualities of champions like Lukaku to come out. He's a great player, whom they paid a lot for. He's not there by chance, but maybe it's a bit diminishing to talk about just the meeting of me and Lukaku – it's not just Lukaku.

"Chelsea have many champions: let's think of our great friend Jorginho, who is the 'lighthouse' of this team.

"I truly hope he can win the Ballon d'or because he's a good friend of mine and it's also an award that would feel like it's mine as an Italian and a player who was involved in the [Euro 2020] win."

Jorginho has not always had it easy at Chelsea, with many critics sceptical of his suitability to the club and English football in general, but Chiellini believes the fact he has outlasted both Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge is telling.

"I always thought he was a good player but after two or three sessions in the national team under [Roberto] Mancini, I realised just how good he is," Chiellini continued.

"What a top player he is. He maybe doesn't have great physical qualities, but the real difference is in his head, his mentality, and I was really happy because many said he could only play with Sarri.

"Instead, two other coaches arrived at Chelsea and then in the national team. Wherever he goes he plays as a regular, so I'm happy for him and he definitely deserves an award, so I truly hope he wins the Ballon d'Or."

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri was questioned on the form of his own midfielders, specifically Adrien Rabiot.

The Frenchman has only impressed in spells since joining from Paris Saint-Germain two years ago and Allegri clearly wants more – though he is adamant Rabiot has the capacity to improve.

"It's similar to [Federico] Bernardeschi," Allegri said. "The difference among players is when they come to Juve – if a big club chooses them, there's obviously a reason, but the difference in their career depends on mentality, their specific objective in helping the team and the capacity to improve, being determined in training sessions, scoring, defending.

"These are the elements that make the difference. How many good, technical players haven't been able to explode in their careers because maybe there was something missing?

"Rabiot is a player, if I was him, I'd be very angry with myself because he's a player who's been here two years, how many goals he scored? Ten [six] in two seasons? That's not acceptable. He needs to improve in order to get much better and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to do that this year."

Andrea Pirlo expects to stay on as Juventus coach next season after guiding them to a top-four finish.

Juve beat Bologna 4-1 on Sunday, a victory that confirmed they will finish fourth in Serie A, a point ahead of Napoli after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Hellas Verona.

A win for Napoli would have left Juve out of the top four regardless of the Bianconeri's result, though Gennaro Gattuso's men were only ahead for a short while.

It was plain sailing throughout for Juve at Bologna, with Federico Chiesa opening the scoring early on to ensure he finished the season as the second youngest player after Marcus Rashford to record at least nine goals and assists across the top five European leagues this term.

Adrien Rabiot and Alvaro Morata, who got a brace, did the rest of the damage, with the Spaniard reaching the 20-goals mark across all competitions for the first time since 2016-17 as he deputised effectively for Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was Juve's 342nd and final game as reigning Serie A champions, a record, and although Pirlo was unable to continue their domination of Italy's top flight, he expects to be in charge again next term.

"I've always put in the maximum commitment, and this is the end result. Those who must decide [about my future] will do so," he told DAZN.

"I see myself in the Juve dugout next season. I would confirm it myself, but now we have to just enjoy what we have achieved.

"For me, it was important to finish the job: winning the Coppa Italia and qualifying for the Champions League. It was a very important goal."

There were conflicting rumours about the reasoning behind Ronaldo's absence, which was seen as curious given the importance of the game for Juve.

While some reports suggested Ronaldo made himself unavailable due to fatigue following the Coppa Italia final, others said it was Pirlo's decision, but the coach insisted they had agreed he would start on the bench.

"It was a joint decision," Pirlo said. "Ronaldo was tired after the match on Wednesday, so I opted to start Morata, who is another great player.

"Ronaldo was available. I've got a strong squad and I can pick many different players."

Nevertheless, Ronaldo finished the season as Serie A's most-prolific player with 29 goals, becoming the first player to achieve that feat in Italy's top flight, LaLiga and the Premier League.

Juventus have qualified for the Champions League on the final day of the Serie A season thanks to beating Bologna 4-1 and rivals Napoli only managing a draw at home to Hellas Verona.

Andrea Pirlo's men went into the weekend in danger of missing out on the Champions League for the first time since finishing seventh in 2010-11, but Verona did them a favour as they held on to a 1-1 draw in Naples, meaning Juve take fourth a point ahead of Napoli.

Juve certainly held up their end of the bargain, dismantling Bologna with consummate ease despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, with Adrien Rabiot and Federico Chiesa adding to Alvaro Morata's brace to have them 4-0 up by the 47th minute.

Riccardo Orsolini's late consolation had little bearing – the Bianconeri just had to see what happened elsewhere with Milan also in the hunt with Juve and Napoli, the latter of whom eventually became the team to miss out on the top four.

Juve looked like a team on a mission and were in front within six minutes as Chiesa converted somewhat scrappily after Dejan Kulusevski had caused havoc down the right flank.

It took them a little while to double their advantage but the second goal did arrive with half an hour played, Paulo Dybala doing brilliantly as he left the Bologna defence in knots before a chipped cross found Morata to nod home.

Rabiot then made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, the Frenchman slotting past Lukasz Skorupski from Kulusevski's lay-off at the end of a lovely flowing move.

Juve quickly picked up where they left off in the second period, Morata producing an exquisite first touch on the spin to bring Wojciech Szczesny's long ball under his spell, then holding off a defender before squeezing a powerful shot under the hands of Skorupski.

Morata nearly got his hat-trick just before the hour when hitting into the side-netting from a Juan Cuadrado cross, though former Juve talent Orsolini did score at the other end with a well-taken finish late on.

Not that it had any major impact on Juve, who never looked like dropping points and that did the job as they ensured they will be at Europe's top table next term.

Erling Haaland is hot property right now with a long list of suitors keen on the Norwegian forward.

Financially powerful clubs Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea are among those jostling for the Borussia Dortmund man but Barcelona are in contention too.

Haaland and his agent Mino Raiola visited Barcelona along with Madrid in April as talks commenced.

 

TOP STORY - MESSI PAY CUT TO FUND HAALAND DEAL

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is willing to take a pay cut in order to help Barcelona land Erling Haaland according to Eurosport.

Messi wants to renew with Barca under the assumption the club is ambitious and contending for top honours.

Contract talks have commenced between Messi and the Catalans, with reports that they will offer Messi a new 10-year contract.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca reports that Real Madrid are looking to extend Lucas Vazquez's contract with a new and improved offer.

- Raheem Sterling could be offloaded by Manchester City this off-season, in order to fund moves for Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish, claims Football Insider.

- Chelsea are in the race for Juventus' French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, along with Barcelona, reports Calciomercato.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Napoli have made a €10 million offer to Club Brugge for 20-year-old Belgium international Charles De Ketelaere.

- Gazzetta dello Sport also reports that Juventus wants to lure Massimiliano Allegri back to the club to replace head coach Andrea Pirlo.

Juventus winger Federico Chiesa insists the Bianconeri did not deserve to be eliminated from the Champions League by Porto, adamant they did enough to progress.

The Old Lady were dumped out of Europe's elite competition on Tuesday as their 3-2 victory after extra-time in Turin saw Porto qualify for the quarter-finals on away goals with the tie level at 4-4 on aggregate.

On a rollercoaster night at Allianz Stadium, Juve were left with an uphill battle after Sergio Oliveira's 19th-minute penalty had Porto 3-1 up in the tie, but a brace from Chiesa early in the second half initially spared the hosts.

In doing so, Chiesa became the first Italian to score twice in a Champions League knockout game for Juve since Filippo Inzaghi in April 1999.

And it was enough to take the game to extra-time – Mehdi Taremi's sending off in the 54th minute seemingly giving Andrea Pirlo's men the edge.

But a Sergio Oliveira free-kick made it 2-2 on the day and gave Juve too much to do despite Adrien Rabiot's header two minutes later, and Chiesa was left exasperated.

"I don't take any positives from this," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I wanted us to go through and we have great regret because after the first half, we did enough to deserve to qualify – from the many chances to Juan Cuadrado's shot hitting the crossbar.

"When you don't qualify, you have to analyse what happened, but it feels to me that we had a different mentality in the second half and we deserved to qualify.

"We wanted to be in the quarter-finals, but we're not. Now we have to focus on Serie A and the Coppa Italia."

The elimination leaves Juve's season with a rather bleak outlook considering there are 10 points adrift of leaders Inter in the Serie A table. Even if they win their game in hand, they will still have a significant gap to claw back.

Matthijs de Ligt acknowledged getting dumped out of the competition is difficult to digest, particularly after playing over an hour of the 120 minutes on Tuesday with a numerical advantage.

"This is tough, yes, really tough," he added. "When you're playing against 10 men for almost the whole match, it's always difficult to take when you then go out in this manner.

"I don't think we started poorly. Porto went ahead and then we started playing, so that was too late. We did well in the second half with our pace, creating chances, getting two goals, but ultimately the ball didn't go in the net [enough].

"Of course, this changes our season because we wanted to be in the Champions League and now we are out in March. This is very difficult for us."

Juventus only had themselves to blame as they crashed out of the Champions League on away goals to 10-man Porto, according to head coach Andrea Pirlo.

A thrilling tie finished 4-4 on aggregate after extra time in Turin, but a 115th-minute free-kick from Sergio Oliveira – who opened the scoring with a first-half penalty – meant Porto progressed despite losing 3-2 on the night.

The brilliant Federico Chiesa scored a second-half brace for Juve and Adrien Rabiot headed home after Oliveira's second to set up a grandstand finish.

But it was not enough, as Cristiano Ronaldo again drew a blank when faced with long-time international team-mate Pepe at the heart of a dogged Porto defence.

Pirlo felt Juventus failing to show similar robust qualities over the course of the tie cost them dear.

"We made four mistakes in two games," he told Sky Sport.

"When you make a mistake four times in the first knockout round of the Champions League, it is normal that you go out.

"We had a good start, there was immediately an opportunity for [Alvaro] Morata. 

"We did not score and the incident in the area cost us an error and a penalty kick. Then we could have conceded another but in the second half we did well."

Juventus had greater control after the interval, although that was aided by Porto striker Mehdi Taremi being sent off for two bookings in quick succession after Chiesa's equaliser.

Further questions will now be asked over rookie coach Pirlo's suitability for one of the top jobs in European football.

Inter are 10 points clear of Juve in Serie A having played a game more, with the Bianconeri's grip on the Scudetto looking far looser than it has at any other time over the past decade.

"It will take a few days [to get over the Porto game]," Pirlo added. 

"We have to focus on the championship by facing every match in the best possible way, to try to move up the table." 

Around the time Massimiliano Allegri guided them to Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017, there would have been a sense of inevitability in any game where Juventus needed a 1-0 home win.

They would approach task with confidence and efficiency and probably win 1-0.

Andrea Pirlo's Juve needed a 1-0 win to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday but had not won a single game by that margin all season. They ended up going out on away goals to 10-man Porto after a thrilling and unwieldly slugfest.

Holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg at Estadio do Dragao. Sergio Conceicao's side lined up with something approaching a back six whenever they were out of possession.

Before the opening half hour was up in Turin, they had managed eight shots and were ahead through Sergio Oliveira's emphatically dispatched spot-kick.

Juve were a rabble. A shadow of the sleek winning machine under Allegri and every inch a team on their way to relinquishing a decade of domestic dominance in Serie A. 

In the years since a judiciously run sporting operation decided to go Galactico, the team beaten by Barcelona and Real Madrid in their most recent final appearances have bowed out to Ajax, Lyon and Porto – each time failing to get the job done on home turf in the second leg.

If this is how Andrea Agnelli oversees the rebuild of a great squad, perhaps UEFA should think twice before letting him revamp the entire Champions League.

No six appeal for Ronaldo

Of course, it is not all Cristiano Ronaldo's fault. He entered the match with 10 goals in as many Champions League home games for Juventus. Were it not for his stunning hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in 2019, they would have three consecutive last-16 exits to their name.

But in a career full of vintage nights, this was nothing of the sort for the five-time Champions League winner.

Ronaldo failed to touch the ball in the Porto area during the first half, missed a glorious chance to head a decisive goal from one of many sumptuous Juan Cuadrado crosses and turned meekly away as Oliveira's drilled free-kick went through the wall and beyond Wojciech Szezesny.

Adrien Rabiot headed home Federico Bernardeschi's corner to set up a grandstand finish and give Juve a joyless 3-2 win on the night, but Oliveira's unlikely brace proved decisive.

For Ronaldo and Juventus, the dream was over. As Erling Haaland continued his phenomenal goalscoring feats in Borussia Dortmund's similarly unhinged aggregate win over Sevilla and on the eve of Kylian Mbappe probably putting Barcelona and Lionel Messi out of their misery, the era might also be over.

Chiesa shows his class

Whoever the leading lights of the next generation prove to be, Federico Chiesa looks worthy of being part of the conversation.

The 23-year-old winger entered this game with two goals and as many assists in his past five outings, including Juve's vital away goal in Porto. He left it having produced a magnificent breakout performance on the biggest stage.

With Ronaldo missing in action, it was Chiesa and Alvaro Morata who took the fight to the visitors, the latter drawing a couple of superb saves from Porto goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin.

Four minutes into the second half, Ronaldo found a touch inside the area and an exquisite one at that. The lay-off was into Chiesa's stride and he opened his body expertly to stroke home.

Then a game that had cracked with low-level excitement exploded into a cacophony of incident and near chaos.

Taremi, such a nuisance to Juve during the first period, became a maddening inconvenience to his own team with two bookings in as many minute – the second for booting the ball away. Everyone can hear the referee's whistle nowadays, Mehdi.

Chiesa looked to have smuggled his and Juve's second, only for the monumental Pepe to hurl his body towards the ball with all the composure of someone trying to smother a live grenade. It hit the post and went wide.

Juventus's most dangerous attacker got a goal more in keeping with the beauty of his overall performance, arriving late at the back post to head Cuadrado's delicious right-wing cross into the top corner.

Chiesa then skipped effortlessly past Jesus Corona, although Marchesin stood firm to prevent the hat-trick. He was more than worthy of the matchball and the win.

In this muddled present dwarfed by a towering recent past, Chiesa provides measure of comfort and a promise of better days ahead for Juve.

Pirlo appears to have passed up his chance of being a part of those, while the clock is louder than ever before on the great Ronaldo – humbled by his dogged and defiant countrymen.

Alvaro Morata scored twice to help Juventus to a 3-1 home win over Lazio on Saturday and keep alive their faint hopes of a 10th consecutive Serie A title.

The Bianconeri, who started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the substitutes' bench, had started sluggishly and fell behind inside 15 minutes courtesy of Joaquin Correa's third league goal of the campaign. 

Adrien Rabiot pulled them level with their first shot on target in the 39th minute, though, before Morata's quickfire double after the break – the second from the penalty spot – sealed a third win in four top-flight games. 

Andrea Pirlo's side remain in third, but have moved to within a point of Milan and seven of leaders Inter, having played the same number of games.

 

 

With Lionel Messi's future far from certain at the end of the season, his former team-mate Neymar has apparently reached out to the Barcelona captain about a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Brazilian superstar Neymar played alongside the six-time Ballon d'Or winner for four LaLiga seasons between 2013 and 2017, before sealing a world-record transfer to Ligue 1 giants

It is understood Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are ready to make a play to bring Messi to the Premier League, but Mauricio Pochettino's PSG appear to be taking the direct approach.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR PUTS IN A CALL TO MESSI

Lionel Messi's contract at his boyhood club expires in the off-season, less than a year after the Barcelona superstar sensationally tried to leave Camp Nou but found his exit plans blocked.

According to L'Equipe, Neymar – who is set to miss the Champions League trip to the Barcelona on Tuesday – has put in a call to convince Messi to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi will lead out Barca in the first leg of the last-16 tie, having stated he will wait until the end of the current campaign before making a decision on where he will play in 2021-2022.

ROUND-UP

- PSG star Kylian Mbappe has decided to stay put this off-season but is not planning on extending his current contract, which expires in 2022, claims ESPN.

Liverpool are looking for defensive reinforcements and they are monitoring Aston Villa's England Under-21 international Ezri Konsa, according to The Athletic.

- Bayern Munich's free-agent defender David Alaba has already agreed to join Real Madrid at season's end, reports Fabrizio Romano.

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