Chelsea: the great talent hoarders strike again, as Salah heads to the Bridge

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On Thursday afternoon Chelsea announced an agreement had been reached with FC Basel to purchase young Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah. With the rising star expected to agree to personal terms and complete a medical without any issues, West London will welcome one of Europe’s brightest attacking talents.

Many expected Salah to end up in the Premier League during this January transfer window.

But at Chelsea? Really?

Jose Mourinho seems to be well stocked with wide players, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Andre Schurrle plus the likes of Oscar and Ramires can put in a shift on the flanks. Then they have youngster Marco van Ginkel, while wingers Victor Moses and Marko Marin are both out on line.

Six out-and-out wingers, plus two flexible central players who can play out wide, seems far too many to have on the books. However with Kevin de Bruyne signing for Wolfsburg and Juan Mata halfway out the door, I understand why Mourinho is replenishing his attacking unit.

But the big question is: are Chelsea hoarding some of Europe’s best young attackers just to stop other PL teams from improving?

Liverpool and Tottenham were incredibly close to signing Willian in the summer window, then Chelsea nipped in at the last minute to make a slightly bigger offer and the Brazilian winger was off to Stamford Bridge. The same is about to happen with Salah.

Since Mourinho returned to the PL, Chelsea have taken transfer trolling to the next level.

Salah, 21, will be a great signing for now and the future as the Egyptian international possesses tricks, flicks and bags of pace, the latter will suit him well in the PL. Plus Chelsea know all about his qualities as the Blues have had a really good look at the youngster in the UEFA Champions League this season. Salah scored home and away against Chelsea in two shock wins for FC Basel.

(MORE: Salah transfer saga hits new, Blue twist as reports say Chelsea lands “Egyptian Messi”)

Mourinho has seen the young wide player, who mainly operates on the right, dazzle against his current crop of players and has decided he’s worth going that extra mile for.

Liverpool were said to have been extremely close to signing Salah, but Chelsea came in at the last minute and usurped them with a bid of around $24 million. That is much more than Liverpool valued him at and therefore, once again, ‘moneybags’ Chelsea win the race.

I have nothing against Chelsea stockpiling the best young talent at all, after all it’s their money to spend, but will these players really get the chance to shine on the big stage? Mourinho has repeatedly talked about the project he is overseeing at the Bridge and how his ‘kids’ are learning and developing, if he is true to his word and plays all of the 21,22 and 23-year-old’s he has then fair play.

With Salah expected to come on board and other PL teams frustrated as they constantly lose their top targets to Chelsea, Mourinho’s aim to keep those team challenging for the top four way out of the picture is working.

But how much longer, especially with the new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules being ushered in, can Chelsea continue to buy every top player being courted by PL clubs? Right now, it seems like it’s never-ending.

Especially if you’re clubs aspiring to make the top four (ahem, Liverpool and Tottenham) as Chelsea’s monopoly continues.

Transfer rumor roundup: Auba to Arsenal, Man City target Evans, Fred

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With less than 10 days remaining in the winter transfer window in England, and other leagues not too far behind, teams are looking to bolster their rosters in an attempt to make title pushes come May.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints play to 1-1 stalemate at St. Mary’s ]

Pro Soccer Talk takes a glance at some of Sunday’s biggest transfer stories and rumors, with an emphasis on those pertaining to the Premier League.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks to be on his way to the Emirates Stadium this month, as Arsenal aims to revamp its attack in the wake of Alexis Sanchez’s departure.

Goal is reporting that Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is in Germany to help close the deal for the Gunners, who are also nearing a move for Manchester United attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have a history together, having featured together in the Borussia Dortmund lineup.

Various reports still state that Dortmund is holding out for nearly $73 million in order for the Gunners to obtain Aubameyang’s services this window.


For awhile it seemed like Manchester City were the favorites to acquire Sanchez, but now the club has turned its attention elsewhere.

Goal is reporting that the Cityzens will instead go after West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.

Pep Guardiola‘s side is reportedly seeking a deeper bench heading into next month when the UEFA Champions League picks back up.

Man City currently holds a 12-point lead at the top of the PL table.


Chelsea has had some interest recently in some… interesting…. PL strikers, and now the Blues have apparently turned their attention to another lesser-known commodity.

It seems that the Blues have turned their attention to Burnley forward Ashley Barnes to serve as a secondary option in Antonio Conte‘s lineup.

Alvaro Morata remains the club’s go-to option up front, along with attackers Eden Hazard and Willian, but Chelsea has been seeking another forward to compliment the Spaniard for some time.

Additionally, Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi is in the mix as well for the Blues, despite only having scored two PL goals this season (eight in all comps).

Depay strike downs PSG, brings Lyon second in Ligue 1

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Memphis Depay‘s time in England may not have gone according to plan, but the young Dutchman is tearing it up in France.

[ SPAIN & ITALY: Bale, Real Madrid soar with seven-goal outburst and more ]

The former Manchester United winger scorched the game-winner into net on Sunday, as his Lyon side went on to defeat league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1, at the Stade des Lumières.

Stunning first-half strikes from Nabil Fekir (15th goal of the season) and Layvin Kurzawa had the two clubs level at 1-1 going into the halftime break, but there was more action to be had after the mandatory stoppage.

A straight red card from Dani Alves in the second stanza put the Parisians at a major disadvantage, and Lyon would capitalize down the stretch with the extra man.

The hosts putting the finishing touches on the match four minutes deep into second-half stoppage time when Depay struck a beauty of a shot past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Depay is now up to 10 goals on the season in all competitions for Lyon, including eight in league play.

PSG may have suffered its biggest loss though in the first half when Kylian Mbappe was taken off the field on a stretcher after a rough collision with Lyon shot-stopper Anthony Lopes.

The victory brings Lyon up to second place in France’s top flight, while PSG still holds an eight-point  lead over the runners’ up with 16 matches left in Ligue 1 play.

La Liga & Serie A: Bale leads Real to seven-goal outburst and more

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Madrid 7-1 Deportivo La Coruna

Now, this is more like it from the defending European champions. Zinedine Zidane’s side went behind on Sunday when Adrian put the visitors in front, however, Real Madrid woke up and scored seven unanswered goals at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale was the star on the day with a brilliant curler that kicked off the first of his two goals (below). After Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to go down inside the penalty area, Bale carried on and put the ball onto his left foot before sliding his shot in off the inside of the far post.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo picked up a brace of his own on the day, both of which came off of headers for the Portuguese international. The veteran goalscorer also got bloodied on the day, but that didn’t stop him from adding to his impressive goal total.

Real Betis 0-5 Barcelona

A slow start to the match was aided by a Barcelona team that came out for blood in the second stanza. Ivan Rakitic and braces from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi paced the road side in the second half, keeping their unbeaten La Liga record in tacked.

Although Rakitic was the first to find his name on the scoresheet, it was his assist to Suarez that later on that proved to be a thing of excellence from both parties.

The first half was mildly uneventful for the Blaugrana, however, the Catalonians suffered another injury blow as Thomas Vermaelen left the match after pulling up in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring pull.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 2-2 Leganes
Real Sociedad 1-2 Celta Vigo


Lazio 5-1 Chievo Verona

Lazio moved into third place in Serie A after a convincing victory at the Stadio Olimpico. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s double for the hosts helped propel them to the win, after Luis Alberto kicked off the scoring in the 23rd minute.

Chievo found a brief response two minutes later, but from there it was all Lazio as they closed to within 11 points of league leaders Napoli.

Cagliari 1-2 AC Milan

Franck Kessié scored twice in six minutes to pull Milan back into the match on the day, and that was exactly what they needed to secure three points at the Sardegna Arena. AC Milan sits seventh in Italy’s top flight through 21 matches, 23 points behind Napoli.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Inter Milan 1-1 Roma
Udinese 1-1 SPAL
Sassuolo 1-1 Torino
Sampdoria 3-1 Fiorentina
Bologna 3-0 Benevento
Hellas Verona 0-3 Crotone
Atalanta 0-1 Napoli

Video: Kurzawa silences Lyon with spectacular volley

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Lyon went ahead inside the opening two minutes, but then Layvin Kurzawa had his say for the visitors on the stroke of halftime.

[ MORE: Fekir’s free kick stuns PSG in opening two minutes]

Dani Alves set up the defender for one of the best volleys you’ll see in first-half stoppage time on Sunday to level the match at 1-1.

Watch below as PSG ties things up with just seconds remaining before the halftime whistle.