Chelsea set to bid $45 million for Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, as rumors heat up

1 Comment

With Cesc Fabregas rumored to be available this summer, the Barcelona midfielder is a man in demand.

Last summer Manchester United chased him, unsuccessfully, but this summer it could be another Premier League courting Cesc.

Chelsea have their eye on the 27-year-old Spaniard.

As PST’s Richard Farley mentioned on Monday, Fabregas would be a great fit for Chelsea and the West London club could prove much more successful in luring the Spanish international away from the Nou Camp and his boyhood club Barcelona.

According to reports from the Daily Telegraph, Chelsea are said to be mulling over a $45 million bid for the Barca star who has been told he can move on by new boss Luis Enrique. With old club Arsenal not wanting to take up their option of re-signing Fabregas and his desire to remain in the UEFA Champions League next season, it seems as though Chelsea could be a logical fit.

Fabregas is seen as a perfect long-term replacement for Frank Lampard, who announced on Monday that he will not be signing a new contract at Stamford Bridge. With Barcelona pursuing Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke and willing to let Fabregas leave, it seems as though the Spaniard who joined Arsenal at the age of 16 could be heading back to London.

He wouldn’t be part of UEFA’s strict Financial Fair Play rules either as Fabregas was brought up through the ranks at Arsenal and his availability is said to have put him right at the top of Jose Mourinho’s wishlist.

Would Fabregas fit in well at Chelsea?

Mourinho is trying to develop a new style of pass and move with quick, incisive counter attacks and Fabregas would compliment the likes of Oscar, Willian and Eden Hazard superbly. Good on the ball, an eye for the pass and able to operate in a holding role or further forward, the former Arsenal skipper has it all in his locker. Some question his physicality levels in the PL but he’s simply that good on the ball and his movement often sees him ghost past opposition players.

Rumors of Chelsea stepping up their pursuit of Fabregas are rife and it seems as though he will be at the center of yet another summer transfer saga.

Will this one turn out to be successful and see Fabregas return to the English top-flight?

Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”

Report: Newcastle’s Clark knocked out on Spanish dance floor

Scott Heavey/PA via AP
Leave a comment

A wild story out of Spain says an Englishman knocked Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark unconscious at a night club.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

Clark was on vacation in Spain, where he was spending time at Crystal’s Bar in Punta Ballena, Magaluf very early Sunday morning.

Clark and a man “in his 30s” got into an argument that saw the Irish defender knocked out, according to the BBC.

Clark was left unconscious and taken to hospital after an argument between him and the suspect broke out on the dance floor.

The 28-year-old suffered cuts and bruises to his face.

Clark, 28, scored twice in 20 Premier League appearances this season, his second at St. James’ Park.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 9 — Iceland’s next step, Brazilian bounce back?

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazil is one of the favorites of the 2018 World Cup, while Iceland is the smallest nation to qualify for the world’s biggest tournament.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

On Friday, both enter their second match days feeling quite different after 1-1 draws.

They won’t face each other, of course, but the contrast is striking nevertheless.

Brazil opens the day’s action when it squares off with Costa Rica, who fell to Serbia in the opener. For Serbia, a dark horse of the tournament, it will be a meeting with Switzerland.

Then there’s Iceland’s bid to climb into the Group D driver’s seat by knocking off Nigeria. A win from Iceland would make Lionel Messi and Argentina’s task of qualifying for the knockout rounds extremely unlikely.

Below is Friday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group D
Nigeria vs. Iceland: Volgograd, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group E
Brazil vs. Costa Rica: Saint Petersburg, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Serbia vs. Switzerland: Kaliningrad, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Sampaoli defends Messi, blasts Argentina

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jorge Sampaoli is lambasting his team after a 3-0 loss put Argentina on the edge of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup’s knockout rounds.

“The reality of the Argentina squad clouds Lionel Messi’s brilliance,” Sampaoli said. “The team doesn’t gel as well as it should.”

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Sampaoli said his players could not find a way to get the ball to Messi, and that the introduction of Boca Juniors youngster Cristian Pavón was aimed at opening up the field a little bit.

And Sampaoli is not shying away from the long-discussed comparison between Messi and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. From the BBC:

“Cristiano is a great player and he has achieved a lot with club and country. Right now it is hard to compare these two players because of the ability in the Argentinian squad clouds the judgment. Leo is in a difficult position because the squad doesn’t gel with him. As coach I have to accept that. I don’t feel shame but I definitely feel pain. It has been a long time since I have gone through this experience as a coach and obviously it is more painful when I’m wearing the colours of my country.

“We have no alternative but to give it our all in the final match. We have not performed at the level the country expects. We were ambitious ahead of the game but now it is harder for us as a group. We did think this would be the match we can take off as a team, but it wasn’t in the end. I think this is an excellent squad but we didn’t gel or come together. We need to take advantage of the next match, when the pressure will be on, and hope to progress.”

Now, of course Sampaoli is going to defend Messi, but Argentina’s team is not chopped liver. The side certainly isn’t as deep or solid as Croatia, but 1-1 with Iceland preceded this one.

That said, Argentina’s performance once Croatia essentially decided to surround Messi was unacceptable. If favored Nigeria doesn’t handle its business against Iceland, the World Cup finalists won’t have a prayer of going back.