Andreas Christensen hopes he will soon be able to announce his next club after leaving Chelsea, as the Dane fuelled speculation he will join Barcelona by hailing the Blaugrana as one of Europe's biggest clubs.

Chelsea announced Christensen's departure last week, with the defender having been strongly linked with Barca.

Christensen joined Chelsea from Brondby in 2012 and after a spell on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach, went on to make 161 appearances for the Blues, winning the Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Having played the full 90 minutes during Denmark's 2-0 Nations League win over Austria on Monday, the 26-year-old hopes to announce his next destination shortly, having made his decision some time ago.

"I know where I have to play," the defender told reporters.

Pressed on when an announcement regarding his future could be expected, he responded: "Unfortunately, it's not entirely up to me. There are also other things that need to fall into place.

"Hopefully soon. But I have known what I was going to do for a while. I'm just waiting for the right time."

Barcelona have been beset by financial difficulties in recent years, with LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently suggesting Xavi's team must sell prized assets – such as midfielder Frenkie de Jong – in order to fund any rebuild of their squad during the transfer window.

However, Christensen, who has been touted to provide competition for current Barca centre-backs Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo, says Barca are a team that would interest any player. 

"It is one of the biggest clubs in Europe," he added. "I think it is for everyone.

"Whether they have had their problems or not, it is still one of the biggest clubs for a player to get to."

Chelsea have confirmed that defender Andreas Christensen will leave the club at the end of his contract later this month.

The Denmark international has been linked with a move to Barcelona, and the writing appeared to be on the wall when he recently ruled himself out of Chelsea's FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool for "private" reasons.

The Premier League side have also confirmed the imminent departures of Danny Drinkwater, Charly Musonda and Jake Clarke-Salter, in addition to Antonio Rudiger who had already been announced to be signing for Real Madrid at the start of next month.

Christensen joined Chelsea as a youth player from Brondby in 2012, before spending two seasons on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach between 2015 and 2017.

He made 161 appearances for the Blues, winning the Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in his time at Stamford Bridge.

Drinkwater also leaves Chelsea after an underwhelming five years at the club, having signed for a reported £35million in 2017 from Leicester City.

The midfielder made just 23 appearances in all, while also being sent on loan moves to Burnley, Aston Villa, Kasimpasa and Reading.

Thomas Tuchel has no idea if Andreas Christensen will play for Chelsea again after the defender ruled himself out of the FA Cup final for "private" reasons.

Christensen's contract expires at the end of the month and Barcelona are the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

The Denmark international started in the 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United, but was not in the squad for a defeat to Liverpool on penalties on the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

Blues boss Tuchel on Wednesday confirmed the centre-back told him he was unavailable on the morning of the game.

Tuchel is unsure if Christensen will play in the London club's two remaining Premier League games against Leicester City on Thursday and Watford three days later, as they strive to secure third place. 

Asked if Christensen will return, the German said in a press conference: "Not sure yet if he's involved tomorrow and at the weekend.

"Andreas came on the morning of the match and told me he was not ready to play.

"He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks we had some of the same situations why he did not play so regularly.

"We thought that we are in a good progression and good development because he played very strong in the match before the final against Leeds but the conversation took place and we have to respect it and we of course respected it and he has our support.

"It is unlikely for the weekend, it was on very short notice before the cup final and other matches in the weeks before. So no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow and the weekend."

Timo Werner will miss the clash with Leicester due to a thigh injury, while Kai Havertz also has a thigh problem and will be monitored ahead of the game.

Paul Pogba's departure from Manchester United at the end of this season has been long assumed.

The French midfielder's 2016 arrival for a second spell at Old Trafford came in a world-record breaking deal, but he has not delivered on the expectations that accompanied the £89million price tag.

As a result, the World Cup winner could well make a return to Juventus, the club where he first came to serious prominence.


TOP STORY – JUVENTUS LINE UP POGBA RETURN

Juventus have made a contract offer they believe puts them in the box seat to sign Paul Pogba, according to the Mirror.

Pogba is set to leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of this season, and Juve have reportedly offered an £8million annual salary.

With Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini's impending departures freeing up salary room, the Pogba offer is also said to include a substantial signing-on fee and bonus package to complement the base deal.

The 29-year-old Pogba has missed the Red Devils' past four Premier League games due to calf trouble, and he was absent for two months earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.

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- Paris Saint-Germain would want to trim their playing squad before considering any more for United's Pogba, RMC Sport is reporting.

- United will seek to replace Pogba by signing cash-strapped Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero.

- According to the Telegraph, Tottenham are interested in Everton's RicharlisonAnthony Gordon and Ben Godfrey.

- In order to compensate for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger's departures, Calciomercato reports Chelsea will look to sign Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel is not concerned about Andreas Christensen's commitment to the cause at Stamford Bridge.

Centre-back Christensen was a crucial part of Chelsea's success under Tuchel last season.

However, the Denmark international is out of contract at the end of this season and so far no extension has been agreed.

According to reports, a move to Barcelona is already lined up, with Christensen thought to be one of the players Joan Laporta referred to when he confirmed that the Catalan giants had secured the signings of two out-of-contract players for next season.

Christensen last featured against Lille on March 16, having been left out for what Tuchel explained as tactical reasons on Saturday, when Chelsea were thrashed 4-1 by Brentford.

The 25-year-old's future was brought up in Tuchel's news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid, with the issue of a potential lack of commitment mooted.

"No. No concerns," Tuchel replied. "Maybe it is a bit more challenging for him than normal, in a moment where everything is clear or you're fully committed to the club you play for, which is us and Chelsea.

"Maybe he cleared his future, I don't know it yet, but for me it was very clear when I started, and the bottom line in conversations I had with him was that as long as you're my player I expect you to be 100 per cent committed and I will not accept anything less.

"I will not start digging into how committed is he now, this only leads to distraction. This is what I demand from him. That he was out on Saturday was only a tactical choice to play with a back four.

"He is our player and we want to have the most of him. He needs to be focused, he needs to be determined, and this is what we expect from him. And I think it is what we can expect from him."

Christensen has featured 26 times in all competitions for Chelsea this term, starting seven games out of the eight the Blues have played in the Champions League.

While it seems likely this season will be Christensen's last at Chelsea, Tuchel has no ill feelings towards him.

The German does, however, believe that Christensen should remember the opportunities he has had to develop at Chelsea.

"The situation of the club was pretty sure. I think I gave you an honest statement that he is in exactly the right place for his journey," Tuchel said.

"That he could continue with this club and become the defender that he can be, the real personality and the playing minutes figure that he wants to be.

"In my opinion, he shouldn't forget where he comes from, where his education comes from, where is home and that's just my opinion. He needs that kind of environment to bring the best out of him.

"That's just my opinion and I gave it some weeks ago but the talks in autumn and the summer were constant talks. We are in exchange with our players of course. I hope that my talks didn't make him want to leave but I don't think so.

"You cannot take these things personally. If he decides to take his career elsewhere, it is his decision. We understand it, maybe we don't need to agree. We will not take it personally.

"As long as he is our player, he is our player and I will not stop demanding from him. He needs to be fully, fully committed, this is what we expect and have experienced. You will have to ask him about his decision and what the reasons are."

James Maddison's importance to Leicester City is of little debate, but the Foxes are considering selling the playmaker.

Though the 25-year-old's sole senior England cap came in 2019, he has provided 13 goals and eight assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this season.

However, Maddison's sale might be required to facilitate the Foxes strengthening in other areas.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON SALE TO FUND LEICESTER REVAMP

Leicester are weighing up the prospect of Maddison's sale in order to make new signings, the Daily Mail has reported.

Manager Brendan Rodgers wants three new additions to propel the Foxes up the Premier League following a season in which they have plateaued.

Leicester will reportedly back Rodgers, but the impact of coronavirus on their finances would likely mean outgoing as well as incoming transfers, and Maddison holds one of the higher market values at the club.

The 25-year-old's £50million price tag would provide serious flexibility in the transfer market, while the club also has to make decisions on Caglar Soyuncu and Youri Tielemans.

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–  Barcelona want to confirm a contract extension for Ronald Araujo , who has received an offer from Manchester United, according to Sport, but the 23-year-old has viewed this club's pursuit of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen with caution.

–  Arsenal and Tottenham are keen to sign Lautaro Martinez , but Inter will only sell if they meet a transfer demand in excess of €80million (£67.3m), per Calciomercato.

– The Sun is reporting Newcastle are preparing a £20million offer for Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, while also showing interest in Watford's Ismaila Sarr.

–  Manchester United target Manuel Akanji wants to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season and is considering a move to the Premier League, according to Sport1.

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho was prominent as Aston Villa went on a recent three-match winning streak in the Premier League.

Despite losses to West Ham and Arsenal coming into the international break, Villa have steadied since the November appointment of head coach Steven Gerrard, who took over from Dean Smith.

Villa are thought to remain interested in turning Coutinho's loan into a permanent arrangement, but another suitor could yet strike a deal, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE LINKED WITH COUTINHO RAID

Newcastle United are said to be ready to swoop for Coutinho if Villa, who have an option to buy, cannot piece together a long-term agreement for the Brazilian winger.

Villa signed Coutinho on loan in January and to take him off Barcelona's hands would reportedly cost around €40million (£33m).

The 29-year-old has immediately become an integral part of Gerrard's attack, providing four goals and three assists in 10 Premier League appearances since arriving.

However, the prospect of a permanent deal is based on Villa accounting for Coutinho's substantial wages, which Barcelona currently subsidise. With new ownership, Newcastle appear capable of finding such funds.

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Barcelona have tried to exploit sanctions affecting Chelsea by attempting to sign three of the club's defenders in Antonio RudigerCesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, according to The Telegraph.

– RB Leipzig are set to conduct contract talks with Christopher Nkunku, but according to ESPN they are willing to listen to offers in excess of €75million.

Edinson Cavani is set for a move to Boca Juniors when his contract with Manchester United expires at the end of the season, claims Todofichajes.

– Bruno Fernandes has signed a new contract with Manchester United, extending his existing deal by one season but with a substantial wage increase, The Guardian reports.

Barcelona have already secured the signings of two free agents, Joan Laporta says, and Leeds United winger Raphinha could be their next recruit.

Rejuvenated under Xavi, Barca are now setting in motion their plans for the transfer window at the end of the season.

In an interview with RAC1, president Laporta suggested the Blaugrana would struggle to afford Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe and ruled out a return for Lionel Messi.

But he did have positive news for Barca fans, too, revealing: "We have closed two players who end their contracts this season."

It is widely thought Laporta's comments relate to Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen – unable to renew terms at Stamford Bridge due to government sanctions – and Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

Meanwhile, Brazil international Raphinha would demand a fee, but Laporta confirmed his interest in a player who is represented by ex-Barca man Deco.

"We have had good reports," Laporta said.

"Deco has his work and informs us of details so that we do not commit errors. In some cases, he has helped us a lot."

Thomas Tuchel knows Andreas Christensen could be on his way out of Chelsea in light of reports he is set to sign for Barcelona.

Tuchel conceded that Christensen may have already decided to leave the European and world champions for pastures new at the end of this season, but made clear he wants the 25-year-old centre-back to stay.

Reports on Wednesday suggested the Denmark defender is on the verge of agreeing terms with Barca.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of the Blues' Premier League fixture at Norwich City on Thursday, Tuchel said when asked about Christensen's future: "It's in doubt, no?

"We hear the rumours and the situation with Andreas has clear for many weeks and we are not happy about it, because we think that it's best for him to stay and we rely heavily on him.

"He did not sign yet, so you cannot not communicate. This is also a signal to us and communication from his side is that he did not sign until now, so we have to consider the possibility that he leaves us.

"Will we like it? No. Will we live with it? Yes. Things are not personal [and] never should be personal, but this can happen and I have no further information."

Tuchel also confirmed Reece James is a doubt for the trip to Carrow Road after suffering a muscle injury in the 4-0 win at Burnley on Saturday.

The England right-back recently returned from injury and registered a goal and an assist at Turf Moor before being replaced by Mateo Kovacic in the 70th minute.

"Reece James has a bit of a muscular problem after his last three matches," Tuchel said. "Not in his injured leg, the other leg. We thought he could be on the [training] pitch today but he couldn't so we need further examinations to see what is going on.

"He felt it during the match so that's why we took him out and it didn't get better. It's obvious what he can give to our team, so not good news at the moment."

Tuchel is proud of the manner in which his players have gone about their business amid uncertainty at Stamford Bridge following Roman Abramovich's decision to sell the club.

"To have clarity is always better than to have uncertainty, but I have to say we produced performances and we produced results in times of global uncertainty and also club-wise uncertainties, that makes us proud," he said.

"It shows we can trust in ourselves and gives us a lot of trust in the culture of the club and here at Cobham. At the moment I have absolutely no more information than you have [on the sale], for sure."

Manchester United's search for a new manager continues after axing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

The Red Devils are taking their time with the appointment, with Ralf Rangnick in an interim role until the end of the season.

United hope the next man in can turn their fortunes around, having struggled to be Premier League contenders since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

TOP STORY – UNITED SHORTLIST HASENHUTTL

Manchester United have added Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl to their shortlist, according to The Mirror.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax’s Erik ten Hag remain the front-runners, but United face a battle to persuade either to head to Old Trafford.

Current United interim manager Ralf Rangnick worked with Hasenhuttl at RB Leipzig and the club are admirers of the Austrian.

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- Atletico Madrid are considering making a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, reports Mundo Deportivo. Wijnaldum is weighing up his future at PSG despite moving to France only last year.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea's Andreas Christensen has turned down offers from other Premier League clubs and is on the verge of agreeing to a deal with Barcelona.

Lazio could make a loan move for Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, with manager Maurizio Sarri keen to be reunited with the Spain international, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- The Sun claims West Ham are plotting a move for Lille's 20-year-old midfielder Amadou Onana, who is valued at £20m by the French club.

Crystal Palace have joined the pursuit for Marseille's out-of-contract midfielder Boubacar Kamara, alongside Newcastle United and West Ham, according to the Sun.

Manchester United still appear keen to sign Ousmane Dembele if the winger leaves Barcelona at the end of the season.

Dembele was told he could leave Barca in January after refusing to sign a new contract.

However, no clubs came in for the former Borussia Dortmund attacker, who will instead see out the remaining months of his deal at Camp Nou and looks set to leave on a free.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED ARE DEMBELE'S ONLY SUITORS

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, Dembele's options for when he leaves Barca are limited. In fact, the report claims that United are now the only team interested in the France international.

Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea were among the clubs reported to hold an interest in the 24-year-old previously.

However, according to Sport's report, United are in a queue of one as it stands.

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- Tottenham are now the favourites to sign Nottingham Forest's Middlesbrough loanee Djed Spence, ahead of Arsenal and Bayern Munich, Goal reports.

- Journalist Raffaele Auriemma told TeleClubItalia that Fabian Ruiz is likely to leave Napoli at the end of the season and that Arsenal have made a proposal.

- AS, meanwhile, believes that Barcelona could look to sign left-back Alex Moreno from Real Betis ahead of next season.

- Another defender who looks set to join Barcelona is Andreas Christensen. Fabrizio Romano reports that a deal is close for the centre-back to join on a free from Chelsea.

- Fichajes reports that Real Madrid could become involved in a three-way tussle with Barca and Arsenal for Lille forward Jonathan David.

Manchester United's search for a permanent manager continues to take up plenty of column inches, with a new name now entering the mix.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax chief Erik ten Hag have long been considered the two frontrunners to take over at Old Trafford.

But a somewhat surprise candidate is now reportedly being considered to succeed interim manager Ralf Rangnick on a short-term basis at the end of the campaign.


TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI A CONTENDER FOR UNITED

According to ESPN, United may look to appoint Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti as they explore contingency plans in their pursuit of a new manager.

While Pochettino and Ten Hag remain on the Red Devils' managerial shortlist, Ancelotti is said to be seen as an ideal short-term fix thanks to his vast experience.

The Italian has previously spent time in English football with Everton and Chelsea, winning a Premier League and FA Cup with the latter in 2009-10.

Ancelotti is currently in his second spell with Madrid and has another two seasons to run on his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.


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- PSG have offered Kylian Mbappe a contract worth €50million a year to fend off interest from rival clubs, according to Le Parisian. Madrid are the strong favourites to sign the France international should he depart the Parc des Princes as a free agent in July.

- Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are also set to be out of contract at Chelsea in the next few months and are not short of potential suitors. Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are confident of signing the pair, while Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui and Jose Gaya of Valencia are also targets.

- Madrid are hoping to replace Dani Carvajal at right-back ahead of next season and have a few potential options already lined up. That is according to El Nacional, with Man Utd's Diogo Dalot, Norwich City's Max Aarons and Pedro Porro of Sporting CP all mentioned.

- Sport claims that Barcelona are on course to wrap up contract extensions for Ronald Araujo and Gavi before the end of the month. Rising star Gavi will supposedly be offered a five-year deal that will include a mammoth release clause to ensure he stays at Camp Nou for the long term.

- Former Germany international Julian Weigl is nearing the end of his time at Benfica and has been offered to teams across the continent, according to Calciomercato. The Italian outlet suggests than Milan would prefer to sign Renato Sanches, potentially giving Roma a clear run for the €35m-rated midfielder.

Leeds United are being drawn into the relegation battle, mounting pressure on manager Marcelo Bielsa.

The Whites enjoyed a top-half finish in their return to the Premier League last season but have struggled this term.

Leeds have managed one point from their past six league games, conceding 20 goals in their past five.

TOP STORY – BIELSA EXITS STRUGGLING LEEDS

The Sun claims Marcelo Bielsa has quit as Leeds United manager with ex-RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch set to replace him.

Bielsa resigned after Leeds were hammered 4-0 by Tottenham on Saturday, having conceded 14 goals in their past three league games.

The Argentinean's exit from Elland Road is being thrashed out between lawyers, with Fabrizio Romano claiming that Marsch – who left Leipzig in December and previously managed Salzburg and New York Red Bulls – is the favourite to take over.

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- Chelsea have slapped a £50million price tag on goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who is wanted by Newcastle United, reports the Daily Star. The Blues signed Kepa in 2018 as the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

Manchester United are lining up two young talents according to the Mirror. The Red Devils are set to table bids for PSV's Cody Gakpo and Sporting CP's Joao Palhinha.

Liverpool target Darwin Nunez is interested in joining the Reds according to Football Insider. The 22-year-old Uruguay international is currently with Benfica.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona are ahead of Bayern Munich in the race to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen.

Andreas Christensen heaped praise on team-mate Hakim Ziyech after the winger delivered the crucial strike as Chelsea battled to victory at Crystal Palace.

Ziyech popped up in the 89th minute at Selhurst Park on Saturday to slide through Vicente Guaita's legs after seeing an earlier finish ruled out for offside.

That was the Morocco international's third goal in as many Premier League games as Chelsea continued their winning ways after Club World Cup success, leaving them third in the league with 50 points – seven away from second-placed Liverpool.

And centre-back Christensen believes the former Ajax man deserves his recent run of form in front of goal after the Blues ground out another win.

Christensen said, as quoted by Chelsea's official website: "He deserves it. He works hard. I felt a little bit for him when the first goal got taken away, and you wonder if it's going to happen, but he deserves it.

"He's very important for us especially when he scores our goals.

"At the moment we're fighting, we're scraping points, and sometimes you need that.

"We prepare well game to game, it's a little bit mentally draining, but we recover as quickly as possible. Everyone has their heads on right.

"We are still in every tournament possible so there are a lot of games. I think we're doing a good job."

Only Mason Mount (2.51) and Ross Barkley (3.57), who has played just 428 minutes across all competitions, have created more chances per 90 minutes than Ziyech (2.41) for Chelsea this season.

Likewise, Ziyech finds the back of the net 0.35 times per 90 minutes, with Romelu Lukaku (0.45) and Timo Werner (0.46) the only Blues team-mates ranking above him in that metric.

The same pair, Werner (194.3) and Lukaku (198.1), sit above Ziyech for minutes per goal across all competitions, with the 28-year-old scoring every 256 minutes.

Thomas Tuchel will be hoping his versatile winger carries his impressive run of form into the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Lille on Tuesday.

Paul Pogba's future with Manchester United remains up in the air.

Pogba is out of contract at the end of this season and deferred contract talks with United.

The midfielder is reportedly open to offers with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola shopping him around.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE ENTER POGBA PURSUIT

Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Pogba, reports Fichajes.

The Magpies are hoping to land the 28-year-old France international on a free transfer, although it is unclear if he would entertain the move to a club that is currently battling relegation, albeit Newcastle will hope that will be different next season.

Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked with Pogba, who could also opt to stay at Old Trafford.

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham's Harry Kane will not decide on his future until the end of the season, after trying to join Manchester City last year, reports The Standard. Kane is currently not interested in discussing a contract extension with Spurs.

- Madrid have tabled a final offer for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland claims Sport. Haaland has been pursued by several top clubs including PSG, Barcelona, United, Chelsea and Manchester City.

- Marca claims that Barcelona will swoop for Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen should he become a free agent this upcoming off-season.

- The Daily Star claims that Donny van de Beek will push for a permanent move away from Manchester United to Everton if his loan spell goes well.

- Milan are interested in Tottenham winger Steven Bergwijn, reports Calciomercato.

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