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Analyzing contenders in Chelsea’s hunt for star striker

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With Diego Costa‘s Chelsea future seemingly non existent, who will Antonio Conte turn to for goals this season?

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The Chelsea boss has to first offload Costa, which is proving problematic given the striker only wants to re-join Atletico Madrid and their current transfer ban is making his departure complex.

One thing which is easy to understand is that Conte wants Costa out and the sooner the 28-year-old Spaniard departs, the sooner his replacement can arrive.

After losing out on Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, Conte has seen his options diminish when it comes to signing a new striker to spearhead Chelsea’s quest for success in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

Below is a look a the contenders to replace Costa, with all five players linked with a move to Chelsea over recent weeks (or in Alvaro Morata’s case, many months).


Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) – Transfer value, $103 million
With James Rodriguez leaving Real Madrid for Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal, it appears Morata may well stay with the reigning European champs after all. Chelsea, and Conte, have been long-time admirers of Morata and the Spanish international is about to enter his prime. If he stays at Real Madrid he will still be behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Karem Benzema and Gareth Bale in the pecking order, but Zinedine Zidane appears to want to play the 24-year-old more. If he doesn’t, perhaps this deal happens later in August but Chelsea will surely want their main man to be in place by the start of the season on Aug. 11. Real’s valuation is another stumbling block.

Andrea Belotti (Torino) – Transfer value, $114 million
He has become an oft mentioned target for both Man United and Chelsea during the summer window and the Italian forward has had two impressive seasons for Torino, scoring 38 goals in 70 Serie A games. “The Rooster” possess a powerful shot, is a clinical finisher and is quick off the mark. He is everything a modern forward should be, hence why clubs around Europe are willing to pay big money to sign him. That said, Torino are holding out for $114 million and that doesn’t seem likely. Belotti is just 23 years old and has never played in European competition, but he does have four goals in nine games for the Italian national team.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) – Transfer value, $80 million
Reports state that Dortmund are willing to let the 28-year-old leave for $80 million this summer and he could be just the man Chelsea need. The price is high, but Aubameyang has pedigree in the UCL and he led the Bundesliga in goals last season nwith 31 from 32 games. He can run the channels, lead the line and is good in the air. The Gabon striker would appear to be the perfect fit for what Chelsea need and he’s used to playing in a fluid front three from his time at Dortmund. If Chelsea can get the fee down to $70 million, then surely he will be their first choice to replace Costa.

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) – Transfer value, $60 million
Palace aren’t willing to sell Benteke this summer but with Everton and Chelsea reportedly interested, could a bid of over $60 million twist their arm? Benteke, 26, scored 17 goals in a struggling Palace side last season and his pedigree as a clinical finisher is clear for all to see. Benteke’s arrival may not wow the Chelsea faithful, but if Conte is looking for a pure finisher who can hold the ball up and be a menace in the air, Benteke is your man.

Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) – Transfer value, $15 million
A bit out of left field, but there’s definite interest in Llorente from Chelsea with Conte working with him at Juventus in the past. Llorente scored 15 goals in a poor Swansea side last season and despite his broken arm, which means he’ll likely miss the start of the season, the Spanish veteran (32) has plenty to offer. Signing Llorente would mean Conte backs Michy Batshuayi to be his main striker next season and that seems unlikely given the lack of playing time for the Belgian last season.

Quick look at the other options: Even though Alexis Sanchez would be perfect, it’s unlikely Arsenal will sell him to a London and Premier League rival, and the same could be said for Olivier Giroud. Daniel Sturridge would be an intriguing buy, but after his tumultuous spell at Chelsea in the past a return seems unlikely. Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan is a poacher but the Argentine would cost big bucks from Inter Milan and another cheap but potentially solid option is Mexico’s Javier Hernandez with his contract at Bayer Leverkusen said to have a release clause of less than $18 million.

Premier League TV, streaming schedule: MD 24

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Drink in all the Premier League action you can get before the FA Cup takes center stage the weekend after next.

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The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
11 a.m. ET: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]

Monday
3 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]

First Sanchez, now Seri: Manchester clubs lock horns

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Alexis Sanchez isn’t the only player wanted by both Manchester clubs…

[ MORE: Aubameyang to Arsenal? ]

Manchester City and Manchester United are both chasing Nice midfielder Jean-Micheal Seri, according to the Guardian.

A report claims that Man City have earmarked the defensive midfielder as a key target for the summer transfer window but United are also keen on the Ivory Coast international.

Seri, 26, came close to joining Barcelona in the summer but the Spanish giants pulled out of the deal late in the transfer window and he has struggled in Ligue 1 this season. That said, his talent is undoubted.

Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Everton are all said to be interested in Seri, but it appears United and City are most likely to offer close to the $50 million Nice want for the central midfielder.

Seri only has 18 months left on his current contract, so in the summer he could cost much less than $50 million.

Who needs him most: City or United?

Fernandinho has been solid for City this season and is often an unsung hero but some of his limitations did come to the fore in City’s 4-3 defeat at Liverpool last weekend with the Brazilian now 32 years old. Pep Guardiola will likely search for a long-term replacement for Fernandinho in holding midfield with Yaya Toure out of the picture out and of contract this summer.

As for United, they also need a holding midfielder. Nemanja Matic has been a key addition this season but there is arguably a slot alongside him with the futures of Ander Herrera, Maraoune Fellaini and Michael Carrick all up in the air beyond this season. Seri would add stability in midfield and Mourinho’s penchant for playing two defensive-minded central midfielders is well known.

Seri will be a man in demand this summer given the length of his contract and the fact that Barcelona came so close to signing him.

Andy Carroll’s Chelsea move in doubt due to injury

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Andy Carroll‘s hopes of securing a move from West Ham to Chelsea in January appear to be over.

The Telegraph is reporting that Carroll, 29, has suffered an ankle injury which will keep him out for at least a month but possibly as long as four months if he needs surgery. This comes after he has missed West Ham’s FA Cup win against Shrewsbury on Tuesday as he didn’t participate in training.

Carroll hasn’t played for West Ham since coming on as a late sub in their 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Jan. 4.

It has been widely reported that Chelsea had lined up Carroll and were willing to pay West Ham $30 million for the Englishman, with Michy Batshuayi potentially involved in a loan deal, but the former Newcastle and Liverpool forward has suffered yet another untimely injury.

Carroll has scored just two goals in the Premier League this season, with both coming in the 2-1 win against West Brom in January. The towering forward has been restricted to just 12 appearances in the PL in 2017-18.

What now for Chelsea? With his deal over, it appears they will continue their hunt for a back-up option to Alvaro Morata.

In the summer they tried to signed Fernando Llorente but failed as the Spaniard signed for Tottenham Hotspur instead, while they currently have only Batshuayi to back up Morata but it appears the Belgian forward could be heading out on loan in the coming days.

With Carroll suffering this injury, it appears Batshuayi may be staying at Chelsea after all as Antonio Conte looks around for an alternative striking option for the Blues. In truth, the vast majority of Chelsea’s fans were either bemused or hugely underwhelmed by this potential transfer deal in the first place.

Could Chelsea move to bring Daniel Sturridge back to Stamford Bridge? Would Liverpool sell a clinical forward to a direct rival in the PL? It’s unlikely, while Sturridge has previous with Chelsea after the way he left the club in 2013 and moved to Liverpool.

It’s back to the drawing board for Chelsea’s recruitment guru’s as Carroll’s injury appears to be worse than West Ham first feared.

Premier League Power Rankings

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Which players are on fire in the Premier League?

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Players from Tottenham and Liverpool feature prominently in our latest top 20 after four wins from their last five for both teams, while some of Manchester United’s stars continue to rise.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 5
  2. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 1
  3. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 5
  4. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Up 9
  5. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) – Up 10
  6. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 6
  7. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) – Down 3
  8. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – Down 6
  9. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – Up 2
  10. David De Gea (Man United) – Even
  11. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
  12. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
  13. Leroy Sane (Man City) – Up 1
  14. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 4
  15. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – Down 9
  16. Ederson (Man City) – Down 7
  17. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – New entry
  18. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) – New entry
  19. Antonio Valencia (Man United) – New entry
  20. Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) – New entry