The United Soccer League begins its 10th season on Friday with a pair of matches in the Championship; Seattle Sounders 2 will host Reno 1868 and Orange County plays host to El Paso Locomotive.
A lot has changed in under a decade. The Championship division now has 35 teams, while the third-tier League One has another dozen (with 30 more lobbying to get into it the thing).
We caught up with some USL mainstays at all levels to talk about the progress, from league president Jake Edwards to San Diego Loyal co-founder Warren Smith and Pittsburgh Riverhounds coach and serial hardware winner Bob Lilley.
The coach is a good place to start. Lilley has won titles in the A-League with the Montreal Impact, the USL First Division with Vancouver Whitecaps, and the USL with the Rochester Rhinos in 2015. Now he’s turned around the Pittsburgh Riverhounds ahead of the 2020 season.
He sees the USL’s growth as pay-off for a generation of players, coaches, and owners who were willing to put in the time for the good of the sport, looking back fondly on the role he played in helping ambitious clubs Montreal and Vancouver win on their way to MLS.
“It’s an investment that starts out where you’re just putting pennies in a piggy bank and at some point it grows big enough that it takes on a life of its own,” Lilley said of the USL’s progress. “The increases keep getting bigger, and the last 3-5 years we’ve been really driving forward. We need to find new ways to be meaningful to our market. We need to stay aggressive, trying to keep pushing this thing forward.”
Like Lilley, Smith has done this dance and done it well in a lot of different places. Now the president of first-year side San Diego, he’s overseen the resurgence of the Portland Timbers and the growth of Sacramento Republic.
Smith makes a remarkable claim about what a USL club can mean to a market.
“The difference between us and MLS, just because of where they are choosing to have to put their teams, I think New Mexico United means more to the whole state of New Mexico than most MLS teams mean to their particular cities. We’re able to electrify communities and bring people together, uniting and celebrating the people of the region.”
To Smith and Edwards, it comes down to the variety of top minds running clubs.
Smith says that less than a decade ago, the investors in the room were coming from soccer backgrounds. Now, it’s others who see the investment as sound.
“In 2012 at the annual meetings, the room was full of soccer fans, soccer people, more soccer people than business people,” Smith said. “Since then with the success of Orlando and Sacramento, we’ve seen an influx of more experience and different sports experience. There’s a lot more sophistication, and the league has chosen a good group owners who want to grow the brand. The USL was good football then, but it’s even better now.”
Edwards said the league likes “to hang its hats” on its ownership groups, who in turn have had to learn from the successes and mistakes of their forebearers while also recognizing that this giant country has a plethora of soccer cultures.
“You’ve got to listen first and foremost,” Edwards said. “You’ve got to spend the time in the community and learn it before you launch to learn what it is they want out of a football club. You have someone who owns the team but really they own the team.
“Ultimately they’ve got to listen and be amongst the community and let the fan base have a voice. Our clubs can be such a great representation of their communities. There’s a real sense of pride people have in their communities that they might not have an outlet for, and the football club gives them that outlet. Go down and be with six or seven thousand people, and wear your colors and show your passion to be from Louisville, Albuquerque, Austin, or Oklahoma City.”
What Edwards stresses is doing expansion “the right way” over the long-term, angling to grow and grow to make a massive impression when all eyes are trained on the United States for the 2026 World Cup in North America.
“What do we want to look like when it arrives?” he asks. “We will see between now and the World Cup, a few more expansion markets like Providence, Buffalo, Des Moines, and some of you haven’t heard of yet. League One is a huge focus for us. We’ve gone from 10 to 12 teams, and now we have 30 markets that are actively lobbying to bring League One to their communities.”
Lilley says it helps that the soccer has improved tremendously since he was a player in the early 90s, pre-MLS.
“It’s just a whole different landscape now,” Lilley said. “You know the movie ‘Slapshot?’ Some of the start of me coming into the pro soccer environment — NASL was done. MISL was just shutting done — in the late 80s, some of the fights and some of the stuff going down on the field was comparable.”
The players are better, and the coaches, too. Three of his former players, in fact, have gone on to coach in MLS (Mauro Biello, Mark Watson, Nick Dasovic).
Lilley has seen the tactics grow from when he instituted a flat back four in the late 1990s after seeing it become all the rage in Europe. He’s worked past three at the back, five at the back, you name it, but it’s only in this last stage of the USL that he’s seen big changes in coaching (so credit to whom for still winning).
“From 1997 to 2010, whatever I saw from a team early in the season a lot of times it would be the same thing later in the season,” he said. “That’s not the case. I think it makes everyone better when new ideas… everyone’s trying to win and that’s the expectation of owners. It’s not okay just to make up the numbers.”
Lilley says that’s why he’s sure to instruct his players on being functional outside of a base system. He switches it up on them.
What drives him?
“Trying to survive,” Lilley said. “Trying to win so I can stay in it. I try to build flexibility in my team. I think part of growth is not just giving guys game but trying to give them information tactically. There’s so much tape out there, we’re always looking for an edge. Sometimes with the team, if you play the same way all the time and it’s not quite working, and then you change, you can send them in a tailspin, ‘Well what’s wrong? What did we do?’ but if you tell them you’re preparing them and looking for an edge, well, good players adapt to the environment, to the coaches, to the system, to the weather, to the referees, to the opponent. It’s hard to prepare for us because we do a lot of things well.”
So as the league drives forward into Year No. 10, there is a collection of executives, staff, and coaches who’ve been through the proverbial war and are smarter for it. There’s been attrition, of course, but now there’s stability.
And it’s Edwards’ job to remember where they’ve been as much as where they are going.
“When I think back to the wild west days, the boom or bust days, it was a core mission to get away from that,” he said. “We’ve done that, but we’re still in growth mode.”
Chelsea hosts Fulham on Friday for its first match since January 21, which is also its first match since breaking the British transfer record to purchase Enzo Fernandez from Benfica (watch live, 3pm ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).
“We did some off-the-pitch activity, a bit of leadership and teamwork outside of this environment. But mostly it’s been training and working on the team and how we want to play. Of course, we’ve been integrating new players and getting injured players up to speed. So it’s a bit of everything really.”
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Chelsea vs Fulham.
How to watch Chelsea vs Fulham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3pm ET, Friday TV Channel: USA Network Online:Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Watch out for Chelsea, because the crew is getting healthier. To be fair, it’s difficult to have more injuries than Chelsea has had this year, but we digress. Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Raheem Sterling, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all ready to go, though Graham Potter said none of them are ready for 90 minutes. Wesley Fofana is close to a return, but should miss out, while Joao Felix could make his return. So, yeah, we could see Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Raheem Sterling on the pitch at the same time. Zoom, zoom, Fulham.
Marco Silva’s Cottagers have cooled off, at least in terms of results, since beating Chelsea at Craven Cottage on Jan. 12, the game in which Felix earned his red card. 1-0 losses to Newcastle and Spurs, forgivable, were followed up with a FA Cup draw with Sunderland. If Fulham can get through this, there’s a more forgiving run of fixtures ahead with a Sunderland replay, Forest, Brighton, Wolves, and Brentford. But is anything forgiving any more in the Premier League? Aleksandar Mitrovic, as usual, looms as a key piece of Fulham’s hopes.
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Christian Pulisic (knee), Wesley Fofana (knee), Edouard Mendy (shoulder), Armando Broja (knee), Denis Zakaria (thigh)
Chelsea transfer news has been in overdrive for many months as the takeover of the west London club saw their big-money spending continue, and Graham Potter looks set to see more ins — and surely more outs — as he revamps his team.
Below we roundup the latest done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on Chelsea transfer news as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic next few months.
Benoit Badiashile – Monaco ($39 million)
David Datro Fofana – Molde ($13 million)
Andrey Santos – Vasco da Gama ($22 million)
Mykhailo Mudryk – Shakhtar Donetsk ($108 million)
Noni Madueke – PSV Eindhoven ($38 million)
Malo Gusto – Lyon ($32.6 million)
Enzo Fernandez – Benfica ($129 miillion release clause)
Gaga Slonina – Chicago Fire (end of loan)
Joao Felix – Atletico Madrid (loan)
Jorginho – Arsenal ($14.8 million)
Bashir Humphreys (Paderborn) Loan
Malo Gusto (Lyon) Loan
Chelsea transfer news today, live!
January 31 – Chelsea seals Enzo Fernandez deal
It’s finally happened! Chelsea believed they’ve come close to finishing their squad revolution by triggering the massive, British record release clause on Enzo Fernandez. (NM)
January 31 – Arsenal confirm Jorginho signing
Jorginho has joined Arsenal on an 18-month contract, for a reported fee of $14.8 million. The 31-year-old Italian, who started 15 of 20 Premier League games for Chelsea this season, should be an incredibly useful (and experienced) figure for Mikel Arteta, as the Gunners try to lift the PL trophy for the first time since 2004.
January 31 – Gallagher, Ziyech, Jorginho set for Deadline Day moves?
While Chelsea’s move for Enzo Fernandez will be the most-watched story of Deadline Day, the Blues could send three players away.
Hakim Ziyech is in talks with Paris Saint-Germain, Jorginho is reportedly moving to London rivals Arsenal, and Conor Gallagher could make a second loan move to Crystal Palace in as many years. (NM)
January 30 – Chelsea make $130-million offer for Enzo Fernandez
Chelsea will make (at least) one final run at signing Enzo Fernandez this month, with reports claiming a new bid of $130 million has been made to Benfica. The 22-year-old midfielder was a star for 2022 World Cup winners Argentina, but has only been playing his club ball in Europe for six months after joining from River Plate last summer. (AE)
January 28 – Malo Gusto arrives
Chelsea have signed French right back Malo Gusto from Lyon and have loaned him back to the Ligue 1 side for the rest of this season. Chelsea have agreed to pay $32.6 million (plus add ons) for Gusto as the 19-year-old right defender is touted as one of the best young full backs in Europe. Malo Gusto will add extra competition for Reece James down Chelsea’s right side and is a very similar player as he loves to get forward. He becomes their sixth signing of the January window as the expensive rebuild continues. (JPW)
January 26 – Amadou Onana now an option, but does he want to join?
It has been reported by The Times that Chelsea have stepped up interest in Everton’s Belgium midfielder Amadou Onana. The 21-year-old has been one of the only bright spots in Everton’s dreadful campaign and the Belgian international is seen as a player Chelsea can sign this month to bolster their midfield and is easier (and much cheaper) to acquire than Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. Onana arrived at Goodison from Lille last summer for a deal worth up to $40 million. It is believed Chelsea have offered $62 million initially for Onana, who can drive forward from midfield, is tidy on the ball and just always seems to make things happen. One problem: does Onana want to sign for Chelsea? A report from Belgian outlet Nieuwsblad states that Onana has rejected a move to Chelsea and wants to stay at Everton and keep them in the Premier League. There same report also says that a move to Arsenal could be a more realistic option for Onana. Are Arsenal and Chelsea settle to battle it out for yet another player? Keep a close eye on Onana late in this window. (JPW)
January 24 – AC Milan in talks about Christian Pulisic?
Is this the end for the USMNT star at Chelsea? According to a report in Marca, the agents of Christian Pulisic have said that AC Milan have opened talks with Chelsea about signing the winger. Pulisic, 24, is out injured for at least another month and after Chelsea signed Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix and Noni Madueke so far in January, they have loaded up on new attacking midfielders and wingers. Pulisic’s time at Stamford Bridge appears to be up as he has just 18 months left on his current contract. This move to Milan seems like it would be a very good one for Pulisic. They are the reigning Italian champs, have the likes of Olivier Giroud, Sergino Dest and Fikayo Tomori in their squad who know Pulisic well, and he will get regular minutes in a team which competes in the UEFA Champions League. On top of that, Serie A will suit his playing style better than the Premier League. (JPW)
January 23 – Chelsea to conduct dual raid on Everton?
There’s going to be change around Everton, and Chelsea may be taking advantage of it.
The Blues are said to be moving for Amadou Onana and Anthony Gordon, with the former coming on an immediate permanent move and the latter signing for Chelsea before a loan back to Everton for the rest of the season.
This is all according to Metro. At some point Chelsea won’t be able to spend more money but Everton needs it and seemingly Gordon’s figure has dropped a little given his drop down the Toffees’ pecking order.
It all seems wild, but this is Chelsea in 2022-23. (NM)
January 23 – Enzo Fernandez back on? Moises Caicedo still an option too
A report from the Guardian says that Chelsea are going back in for Enzo Fernandez. Are failing to sign the Young Player of the 2022 World Cup earlier in January, the report says Chelsea are due to restart talks this week with Benfica about signing the Argentine star. The central midfielder is exactly what Graham Potter needs and his aggression, skill and drive from central areas was a huge reason for Argentina’s success at the World Cup. Fernandez was very keen on joining Chelsea but after talks stalled with Benfica he has refocused and has been playing well for the Portuguese giants. Still, Fernandez has made it clear he wants the move and Chelsea may try to pay less than his $131 million release clause.
Another report from Football.London says that Chelsea still want to sign Brighton’s 21-year-old midfielder Moises Caicedo. They say Chelsea have had a $68 million bid rejected by Brighton but the Blues are willing to go back in and will up their offer for their Ecuador star. Roberto De Zerbi has admitted it will be tough for Brighton to keep Caicedo but he would prefer if he left in the summer rather than January. Let’s see what offer Chelsea make next. (JPW)
January 20 – Madueke to Chelsea complete
When will Chelsea stop signing players!? English winger Noni Madueke has joined from PSV as the Blues continue to load up on young attackers. What does that mean for Pulisic and Chelsea’s other forwards?
January 16 – Noni Madueke pursuit could see Aubameyang, Sterling out
There are youth movements and then there are youth movements.
Chelsea could be set to live life without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling as reports circulate that Barcelona would like to take “Auba” back to Spain and that the Blues are open to offers for Sterling this winter.
The Sterling sale would be stunning as new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is showing little patience when it comes to making things fit for new boss Graham Potter. Who could afford Sterling? Very few, and Sterling would not be able to help several clubs’ Champions League pushes.
Coming in would be PSV Eindhoven star Noni Madueke. The London-born winger came through the academies of Crystal Palace and Tottenham before moving to PSV at age 16.
Madueke, 20, has 20 goals and 14 assists in 80 senior appearances for PSV and is said to carry a $40 million price tag. A right winger and attacking midfielder, Madueke has. a tantalizing profile highlighted by dribbling, ball progression, and comfort in the attacking penalty area. He’s not afraid of a tackle, relatively speaking, either. (NM)
January 15 – Mudryk signs in $108 million deal on eight-and-a-half year deal
Mykhailo Mudryk has signed for Chelsea, as the Blues reportedly offered him double what Arsenal were prepared to pay him in wages. Mudryk, 22, has signed an eight-and-a-half year deal and the Ukrainian winger will be a big part of their future as they continue to expensively revamp their squad. (JPW)
January 14 – Chelsea could snap up Mudryk from under the noses of Arsenal
This is absolutely bonkers. There have been reports over the last week or so that Chelsea could make a move for Mudryk but this latest update from Fabrizio Romano seems to be a lot more concrete and Chelsea are trying to get one over their London rivals. Arsenal have been haggling over the transfer fee for many days with Shakhtar and it seems like Chelsea are ready to pay the Ukrainian side whatever they want for the talented winger. This would be a huge blow for Arsenal but I guess every player has his price, right? (JPW)
🚨 EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea board now in Poland trying to reach verbal agreement with Shakhtar for Mudryk and hijack the deal! Official bid ready close to €100m. 🔵 #CFC
Arsenal always been leading the race, in talks with Shakhtar after 3d official bid.
January 10 – Thuram, Madueke the latest attacking talents linked with Chelsea
It appears spending big money is not going out of fashion anytime soon at Chelsea. As they close in on a loan move for Joao Felix (see below), they are also reportedly interested in signing French international striker Marcus Thuram from Borussia Monchengladbach. According to The Times, Chelsea want to sign Thuram, 25, and his contract runs out in the summer. The forward was part of France’s 2022 World Cup squad and has the ability to lead the line but can also make runs in-behind to create space for others. With Christopher Nkunku expected to arrive this summer, plus Felix coming in and others linked, it looks like Chelsea want to overhaul their entire attacking unit. Thuram has scored 13 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions for ‘Gladbach this season and Chelsea desperately need someone to come in and add a clinical edge to their play.
According to the same report, Chelsea are also interested in signing Noni Madueke, 20, from PSV Eindhoven. The England U21 winger has been linked with so many Premier League clubs in the past. His talent is undoubted but do Chelsea really need more wide attacking players right now? They have Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech, Raheem Sterling and are about to add Joao Felix to that mix. It seems like they could probably strengthen in other areas and it also seems like their recruitment plan hasn’t really been properly figured out with so many new figures joining their technical staff in recent months. (JPW)
January 9 – Joao Felix heading to the Bridge
This one came out of nowhere, right? Joao Felix is heading to Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid according to David Ornstein from The Athletic. Felix has stalled at Atleti and per the report, the Portugal international likes the project at Chelsea and has chosen to join them ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal. Given Chelsea’s current struggles under Graham Potter, particularly in the final third and creating and finishing off chances, Felix will be a great addition. In the right system he can be an excellent addition and he is able to play up top or across the attacking midfield roles. (JPW)
January 7 – Chelsea confirms Saturday’s second signing, Andrey Santos
Another up-and-coming youngster, Brazilian midfielder Andrey Santos, has signed for Chelsea. The 18-year-old joins from Vasco da Gama, for a fee believed to be roughly $22 million. For Vasco, Santos operated primarily as a defensive midfielder,
January 7 – Chelsea confirms David Datro Fofana signing
Chelsea announced on Saturday that 20-year-old Ivorian international David Datro Fofana has signed a six-year contract with the Premier League club. Chelsea will reportedly pay Norwegian side Mold just over $13 million for the striker, who has 15 goals and five assists in 24 appearances this season. (AE)
Chelsea Football Club has finalised the transfer of David Datro Fofana from Molde! 🤝
France defender Benoit Badiashile, 21, is now a Chelsea man after signing a 7.5 year contract with the club following a reported $40 million deal that brings the defender from Monaco to the Premier League.
Here’s Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali, via ChelseaFC.com:
‘We’re delighted to welcome Benoit to Chelsea. He’s an excellent young player who has quickly established a strong reputation for himself and has a huge amount of experience for his young age. We are sure he will form an important part of our team in the years ahead.’ (NM)
January 3 – Enzo Fernandez talks continue, as Argentina star returns to training at Benfica
Photos have shown Enzo Fernandez returning to training with Benfica but the 21-year-old has reportedly told the club he wants to sign for Chelsea. Following a superb World Cup where he was named young player of the tournament as La Albiceleste won the trophy, Enzo Fernandez is in demand but Chelsea appear to be leading the race. His release clause is well over $120 million and if Chelsea are going to pay that, they will be getting a fine central midfielder who could help knit together their sluggish attack. That said, Chelsea will also be paying a World Cup premium. Do they care about that? Probably not. (JPW)
Chelsea and Benfica will hold new direct talks today for Enzo Fernandez. The deal is advanced as reported last week, but Rui Costa's final approval is still pending – as key step to get it done. 🚨🔵 #CFC
January 3 – Chelsea ready to pounce to seal Mudryk deal
Another day, another update on Mykhaylo Mudryk but this does not involved Arsenal. Per a report from Jack Rosser of The Sun, Chelsea are ready to snap up the extremely talented Ukraine international as Arsenal have yet to agree a transfer fee with Shakhtar Donetsk. Mudryk, 21, is Arsenal’s main target in the January window and given their recent recruitment success, it seems likely he will be another key part of Mikel Arteta’s jigsaw. However, Chelsea certainly need some fresh attacking talent and Shakhtar’s sporting director Darijo Srna is set to hold talks with the Blues this week. This all feels very Willian and Luis Diaz esque. (JPW)
Exclusive: Chelsea are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over a deal for Mykhaylo Mudryk and could hijack Arsenal's move.
Darijo Srna expected in London to meet with the Blues this week.
January 1 – Pumping the breaks on Enzo Fernandes reports
According to David Ornstein Chelsea ‘love’ Enzo Fernandez and Jude Bellingham but ‘not at all costs’ to sign the former. He adds they are going to be disciplined and only pay what they feel is right for Fernandez and they will sign at least one midfield either in January or this summer. (JPW)
Midfield is a key area Chelsea are looking to improve. But reports that Chelsea are on the verge of signing Enzo Fernandez are "not quite accurate" according to @David_Ornstein.
January 1 – Benoit Badiashile deal to be confirmed
French center back Benoit Badiashile is set to join Chelsea from Monaco, David Ornstein reports. The 21-year-old defender will cost $45 million and he will have a medical in the coming days, as the report says he will sign a seven-year contract. Badiashile will help boost their center back options and long-term he will be expected to line up alongside Wesley Fofana. These new Chelsea owners aren’t messing around, are they? (JPW)
December 31 – Enzo Fernandez agrees terms with Chelsea (report)
Following up on reports that Chelsea and Benfica have been in direct talks regarding Enzo Fernandez, the 21-year-old may be taking the next steps toward trading a red shirt for a blue one.
Metro is one of several outlets reporting that the London club has agreed terms with World Cup-winner Fernandez, leaving the transfer fee as the weighty, possible nine-figure obstacle.
If it’s just going to come down to money, Chelsea’s shown that it won’t be an obstacle under Todd Boehly. As good as done? (NM)
December 30 – Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham lined up? N’Golo Kante to sign new deal?
Per David Ornstein, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham remain options for Chelsea in central midfield, as they continue to chase Enzo Fernandez too. The report states that Kante, 31, may well sign a new contract at Chelsea as it was feared he would leave as a free agent when his current deal expires in the summer of 2023. Keeping Kante around, and fit, will be key, but the report also suggests that Chelsea know signing a central midfielder is going to cost them a lot. But they’re keen to crack on and do it anyway. Rice is a former Chelsea academy star and has long been linked with a move back to Stamford Bridge, while Bellingham is obviously a superstar in the making and Premier League and European giants are lining up to sign him this summer. Chelsea will be in the mix and even though they have Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Kante in central midfield, they are trying to lock down at least one world-class midfielder who will be the heartbeat of their team for the next five to six years. (JPW)
🚨 Chelsea making positive progress in talks over new deal for N’Golo Kante. Not done but now likely 31yo extends, amid rival interest. #CFC also expected to sign at least 1 midfielder in Jan/summer; Fernandez & Bellingham high among options @TheAthleticFChttps://t.co/ll6bciQ2Kj
December 30 – Chelsea are in ‘direct talks’ with Benfica over Fernandez
The chatter around Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea continues as Fabrizio Romano says that the Blues are talking with Benfica about the transfer fee needed to sign the 21-year-old Argentine star. Fernandez rose to stardom at the World Cup as he was named young player of the tournament en-route to winning the trophy with Argentina. His class on the ball, driving runs from midfield and ability as a true box-to-box player means all of Europe’s top clubs are lining up to sign him. Can Chelsea strike a deal and get in ahead of everyone else? (JPW)
Chelsea are now in direct talks with Benfica for Enzo Fernández. Chelsea want to offer huge fee instead of paying release clause in one solution 🚨🔵 #CFC
December 28 – Blues willing to pay Enzo Fernandez release clause of $127 million
A report from the London Evening Standard says that Chelsea are willing to pay the release clause of Enzo Fernandez. Per the report, Chelsea have communicated to Benfica that they are willing to pay the fee they want. Fernandez, 21, was named the best young player at the World Cup as he starred in midfield for Argentina. The Benfica midfielder only arrived in Europe from River Player in the summer but his rapid rise has seen him become one of the most sought after central midfielders in the planet. His displays at the World Cup have had the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and other giants lining up, but it appears Chelsea are the most serious about paying his release clause. His driving runs from midfield plus his class on the ball make him a perfect fit for this Chelsea side and with N’Golo Kante picking up injuries and the likes of Jorginho also coming into the twilight of their careers, this is an area they need to strengthen. (JPW)
December 27 – Benoit Badiashile negotiations “in final stages”
Gigantic center back Benoit Badiashile may soon be the next player in Chelsea’s youth movement at Stamford Bridge.
The twice-capped France international has two goals in 16 appearances between the Europa League and Ligue 1 for Monaco this season.
Badiashile, 21, is an aerial force at 6-foot-4 but also an excellent ball progressor, according to FBRef.com, as he ranks in the 93rd percentile for progressive passes per 90. He also boasts impressive expected goals and assists as well as shot-creating actions for his position.
Chelsea’s bevy of new directors and recruitment gurus are working their magic as they’re closing to signing Ivory Coast striker David Datro Fofana, 21, from Molde. It is reported (below) that Chelsea will pay the Norwegian side $12.7 million for Fofana. He has scored 22 goals in 39 appearances for Molde in 2022 and has already made his debut for the Ivory Coast.
With Armando Broja recently going down with an injury and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having a mixed start to life at Stamford Bridge, perhaps Fofana will see plenty of minutes this season? his signings hints at a sign of things to come at Chelsea, as they’re focused on signing the best young talent from around the world and then making them into the stars of the future. (JPW)
Dec. 22 – Blues beat Newcastle, others to Andrey Santos
Santos, a central midfielder turns 19 in May, has eight goals in 33 Serie B matches for Vasco da Gama in Brazil.
He’s reportedly carrying a $25 million price tag.
Chelsea previously added youngsters Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina to the fold in the summer, and were linked with Endrick earlier this month, but the player will instead join Real Madrid in the summer of 2024.
Dec. 17 – Chelsea reportedly land Christopher Nkunku for 2023
French international Nkunku, 25, missed the World Cup with torn knee ligaments but had scored 17 times with four assists in 23 appearances across all competitions for Leipzig early this season.
When he’s back fit and firing, it will likely be for the Blues in the Premier League
October 3 – Nkunku, Gvardiol deals reportedly close to completion
RB Leipzig duo Christopher Nkunku and Josko Gvardiol are both being lined up to arrive at Chelsea next summer. A report from The Athletic states that Chelsea have offered to pay Leipzig more than Nkunku $60 million release clause (which kicks in next summer) and want to wrap up a deal which would see the 24-year-old French international arrive at Stamford Bridge next summer. The report says that Nkunku has already agreed to the deal, while our partners in the UK at Sky Sports believe the prolific striker (who has already scored six goals in eight Bundesliga games this season) has yet to make up his mind.
Nkunku scored 20 goals last season and added 13 assists as he was named the Bundesliga Player of the Season. His quality is undoubted and he would be a perfect forward addition to Chelsea’s fluid attacking system under Potter. Nkunku learning from Aubameyang, one of the most prolific strikers in the game, is surely a recipe for success. After moving on Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku this summer, it is clear that Chelsea are keen to freshen up their attack and that could also mean the likes of Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech may be surplus to requirements.
At the other end of the pitch a report from the Daily Telegraph suggests that Chelsea are also looking to wrap up a deal to sign Leipzig’s Croatian center back Gvardiol. Per the report, Gvardiol has a release clause close to $45 million and Chelsea are willing to meet it. The 20-year-old is considered to be one of the top center back prospects in Europe and was chased by Chelsea, among many others, this summer. With Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly signed up in the summer, Chelsea already have extensive, and quality, options at center back. However, Koulibaly hasn’t played in either of Graham Potter’s two games in charge so far as Thiago Silva, 38, has been preferred. Gvardiol and Fofana are seen as Chelsea’s long-term center back duo. (JPW)
Chelsea transfer news – Archived from Summer 2022 transfer window
August 31 – Chelsea bids $50M for Mexico’s Alvarez
The report says that Newcastle and Rennes came calling for Alvarez but Ajax would not be moved, but this Chelsea offer has seriously turned the player’s head.
Alvarez, 24, operates as a central defensive midfielder but is not one-dimensional and has spent a little but of time at center back and a bit more more advanced, too.
He’s been a regular starter and will want regular playing time ahead of the World Cup. Chelsea can provide some given injuries and schedule congestion. (NM)
August 31 – Aubameyang to Chelsea, Alonso to Barcelona
According to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea and Barcelona are locked in talks over deals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 33, and Marco Alonso, 31. Aubameyang will have extra medical checks after his jaw was reportedly broken by attackers on his home in Barcelona earlier this week, while Alonso has agreed personal terms with Barca many months ago and has been waiting for the two clubs to agree a fee in a separate deal. (JPW)
Pierre Aubameyang update. The two clubs are in direct contact today as they want to reach an agreement in the next hours — been told that Marcos Alonso is again discussed as part of the deal. 🚨🔵 #CFC
It is officially official, as Wesley Fofana has signed for Chelsea in a transfer fee which is said to be around $80 million. Fofana, 21, has signed a seven-year deal at Chelsea and this signing is a huge boost for Thomas Tuchel, who saw his side lose 2-1 at Southampton on Tuesday. The arrival of Fofana takes Chelsea’s spending to over $290 million this summer, as he joins Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella in signing for the Blues. Fofana will add class to Chelsea’s defense and is likely to line up alongside Thiago Silva and Koulibaly. His ability to bring the ball out of the back and start attacks will be crucial to getting Chelsea on the front foot in Tuchel’s preferred 3-4-2-1 system. (JPW)
August 29 – Broja, Gallagher offered to Everton as part of Gordon deal
A report from Football Insider claims that Chelsea have offered Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja, plus $30 million, for Anthony Gordon. The 21-year-old winger scored for the Toffees in their 1-1 draw at Brentford at the weekend and showcased his wonderful speed on the break and his incredible work rate. Gallagher and Broja have worked so hard on loan spells over the years but it just doesn’t seem like they’re gong to become regulars at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel. They could definitely be stars at Everton and if the Toffees get the duo (permanently or on loan) plus get a good chunk of cash for Gordon, that is a very good deal for them. Gordon is good but Frank Lampard and the Everton board should snap Chelsea’s hand off. (JPW)
August 29 – Fofana in USA to undergo medical
Wesley Fofana, 21, is reportedly in the USA undergoing his Chelsea medical as his transfer from Leicester City edges closer. The Athletic are reporting that Fofana flew to the U.S. on Sunday as Chelsea’s co-owner Todd Boehly wanted extra checks after Fofana fractured his leg at the start of last season. It is believed Chelsea and Fofana have agreed terms on a six-year deal, as the transfer fee with Leicester could rise to almost $88 million. (JPW)
🚨 EXCL: Chelsea send Wesley Fofana to USA for medical. Flew yesterday – owners decision for peace of mind. Move should be done by midweek➕#CFC have reservations over Aubameyang deal ➕ Gordon looking unlikely & more @TheAthleticUK #LCFC#FCBarcelona#EFChttps://t.co/sN5PMs6aUV
August 29 – Callum Hudson-Odoi heading to Bayer Leverkusen
Callum Hudson-Odoi is heading to Germany, as the England international will join Bayer Leverkusen on loan according to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports. Hudson-Odoi, 21, has struggled to get in to Thomas Tuchel’s plans this season and his career has stalled due to injuries and a loss of form over the last 12 months. The tricky winger will hope playing regularly for Leverkusen, who are in the UEFA Champions League, will get him back to his best and help him make a late push for the England squad ahead of the World Cup this summer. After being linked with Newcastle, Leicester and Southampton, this is a good move for CHO and he will become a key man for Bayer in the Bundesliga. (JPW)
August 29 – Chelsea, Arsenal set to battle for Zaha late in the window
A report from the Guardian says that Chelsea have renewed their interest in Wilfried Zaha as the Crystal Palace winger has less than a year left on his current contract. Zaha, 29, has been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal on multiple occasions over the years and a report from The Independent says his agent is pushing for a move to Chelsea. The Guardian says that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still Chelsea’s top target but Zaha is another option.
Zaha is probably the best player in the Premier League outside the top six. His brief spell at Manchester United as a youngster didn’t work out but he’s been consistently excellent for Palace and the South London club would be devastated to lose him. However, he has less than a year left on his contract so if they’re going to get anything for him, now is the time. Previously Palace wanted $90 million for Zaha, which is understandable given that he’s the focal point of their attack and one of the main reasons they’ve stayed in the Premier League consistently over the last eight seasons.
Chelsea are on the lookout for players who can provide more of a cutting edge in attack and Zaha definitely does that, while his pace, directness and trickery on the counter could give Thomas Tuchel exactly what he needs. Per the report from The Independent, Arsenal are also said to be interested in Zaha (they are chasing Pedro Neto from Wolves but he could prove too difficult to sign) as Mikel Arteta wants to sign one more attacking players before the window shuts. (JPW)
August 26 – Breakthrough in Fofana deal?
It seems like Chelsea and Leicester City have finally agreed a fee for Wesley Fofana, as The Athletic believe an agreement is in place. Chelsea badly want, and need, a new center back and Fofana, 21, will be perfect for their system and style of play. He has been left out of training at Leicester in recent days after having his head turned and on the eve of Chelsea hosting Leicester (Fofana will not be playing) the two clubs have agreed a fee. It is believed that fee will be a world-record for a defender and Fofana is worth it. (JPW)
🚨 Chelsea understood to have reached agreement with Leicester City to sign Wesley Fofana. After a number of bids rejected, believed a deal is now in place between #CFC & #LCFC for 21yo France youth international to switch to Stamford Bridge @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/JpG0di4lKI
August 25 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Chelsea is close
A report from CBS Sports says that Chelsea and Barcelona are close to agreeing a $21.2 million fee for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The 33-year-old is closing in on a reunion with Thomas Tuchel and a return to London and the Premier League.
Given Barcelona’s financial situation, and their plethora of new attacking talents, letting Aubameyang go makes sense. Chelsea need a clinical finisher to put away the chances Tuchel’s side create game after game and having Auba, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount in attack is a very good trio. This will give Chelsea’s attack a ruthless edge, which they badly need, and will be a huge boost in their push for a top four finish. (JPW)
August 19 – Wesley Fofana asks to be left out of Leicester squad amid Chelsea interest
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is expected to leave Wesley Fofana out of his matchday squad when the Foxes face Southampton on Saturday, as the 21-year-old center back tries to force through a transfer to Chelsea. The Blues have had two previous bids for the Frenchman rejected, but new owner Todd Boehly has thus far been undeterred. This isn’t quite the point of no return for Fofana, but the developing saga is trending that direction. (AE)
August 18 – Chelsea set to make first Aubameyang bid
Chelsea are set to step up their pursuit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as a meeting is scheduled to discuss doing a deal for Aubameyang. Per the report from Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea will soon make their opening bid to Barcelona for Aubameyang as the 33-year-old is a top target in the final weeks of the transfer window.
Aubameyang is loved by Thomas Tuchel and was lethal when he played up front for him at Borussia Dortmund. In fairness, Aubameyang has been lethal pretty much wherever he’s played. Barcelona boss Xavi is said to want to keep Aubameyang but given Barca’s financial situation, if a good offer comes in from Chelsea they may sell the Gabonese striker. For Chelsea, this is exactly what they need, as their draw at home against Tottenham proved their need for a clinical forward. (JPW)
Pierre Aubameyang deal. Meeting in the next hours, scheduled since last Sunday – main focus will be on the personal terms. Lenght of contract and salary will be discussed today with Chelsea. 🚨🔵 #CFC
August 16 – Everton reject $54 million bid from Chelsea for Anthony Gordon
This is getting quite repetitive, isn’t it? Chelsea really want to sign Gordon, 21, and Everton really don’t want to sell him. The England U21 international is the next big star to come out of Everton’s academy and his importance to the Toffees, especially after losing Richarlison earlier this summer, is clear. According to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, Chelsea have upped their bid to over $54 million but that still isn’t enough as Everton rejected it and don’t want to sell their prized asset. This will likely end in Chelsea offering over $65 million for Gordon, who has a couple of decent seasons in the PL and shown plenty of promise, and Everton accepting that. As much potential as Gordon has, that price would be enough for Frank Lampard to buy two proven internationals to replace him and strengthen elsewhere, probably up front. (JPW)
August 15 – Everton reject $48.2-million bid from Chelsea for Anthony Gordon
According to multiple reports out of the UK, Chelsea offered Everton $48.2 million for 21-year-old midfielder Anthony Gordon, the breakout star and a rare bright spot in the Toffees’ 2021-22 season, but the Blues were swiftly rejected with a further bid expected in the not-so-distant future.
It would appear that, under the direction of new owner Todd Boehly, Chelsea have made it a priority to target young English talent in the transfer market. Less than two weeks ago, the Blues paid as much as $24.1 million to sign 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa. Now, the reported bid for Gordon. It’ll get rather expensive paying the domestic-talent premium for too many more young Lions, but it’s clear that Boehly and Co., are taking a long-range view of Chelsea’s future rather than focusing solely on the here and now. We’ll see how Thomas Tuchel feels about that, if he doesn’t get all the signings he feels he needs before transfer deadline day. (AE)
August 11 – Frenkie de Jong, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pursuit continues
Chelsea continued to be linked with moves for Barcelona duo Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Our partners in the UK at Sky Sports say that De Jong, 25, is open to a move to Chelsea as they play in the Champions League. Per the report, Chelsea will match the $87 million bid Manchester United for Frenkie de Jong earlier this summer. However, the issue remains that De Jong is owed over $20 million in deferred wages and Barcelona also want him to take a pay cut if he is to stay at the Nou Camp. Hence a few reasons why he could be on the move. But seriously, who knows what is going to happen at Barcelona from one day to the next right now!?
When it comes to Aubameyang, there is definitely interest from both parties as the Gabonese striker, 33, has fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona after the summer arrivals of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha. Aubameyang has three years left on his Barcelona contract but is said to be open to a return to the Premier League and London. He thrived under current Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel when the duo worked together at Borussia Dortmund and you can see him slotting in very nicely as the lone forward in Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1 formation. As for De Jong, well, Chelsea’s priority is to sign a center back but with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante coming towards the twilight of their careers, De Jong is a very similar player and would slot in very nicely to safeguard the future of Chelsea’s midfield. (JPW)
August 8 – Leicester, Southampton, Borussia Dortmund lining up for want-away winger Callum Hudson-Odoi
Callum Hudson-Odoi believes the writing is on the wall regarding his Chelsea career: If he has not yet convinced Thomas Tuchel he should be a more important figure in the team, he is not likely to ever do so, therefore a move away is required. Fortunately for the 21-year-old, he won’t be without plenty of options. According to a report from the Guardian, Southampton are interested in a loan move, while Leicester and Borussia Dortmund are keen to sign Hudson-Odoi permanently. Dortmund previously sought a loan for Hudson-Odoi last summer. Chelsea previously rejected bids of more than $25 million from Bayern Munich prior to Tuchel’s arrival at the club. (AE)
August 6 – Chelsea expected to make world-record bid for Wesley Fofana
Now, this is getting out of hand, isn’t it? Wesley Fofana, 21, is a very good center back and is a star of the future. But according to the Guardian, Chelsea are willing to pay a world-record $102 million to sign Fofana. That would be a world-record fee for a defender. It would surpass what Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire and what Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk. There is, of course, a Premier League premium on this deal and Leicester City also say they don’t need to sell Fofana. They probably don’t but if Fofana is open to the move, which reports suggest he is, then the Foxes should probably snap up this fee as they h ave Jonny Evans, Jannik Vestergaard and Caglar Soyuncu around at center back and can use the money to significantly improve their squad (which they need to do after not signing a single player this summer).
When it comes to Chelsea, are they overpaying for players this summer? Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly have all arrived for huge transfer fees and it seems like Chelsea’s new owners are paying somewhat of a premium because they are, well, Chelsea’s new owners. Todd Boehly is getting a lot of stick for paying over the odds and only time will tell if Cucurella, Fofana and Co. are worth these huge transfer fees. The focus at Chelsea will likely now be on selling players and they will have to move on a lot of fringe players to offset this huge spending spree. (JPW)
Chelsea are willing to go to £85m for Fofana and believe that would be enough to get him. Would take their spending over £200m and could be more beyond that (FDJ, Casadei, Auba targeted). So are they going to be able to make anything back on sales? #cfc
August 5 – Chelsea make new bid of $84.5 million for Leicester defender Wesley Fofana
Chelsea remain undeterred in their pursuit of Leicester center back Wesley Fofana, who is now the subject of an $84.5-million bid by the Blues, according to a report. Brendan Rodgers has insisted the 21-year-old is not for sale, but new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is expected to return with an even bigger bid if the latest offer is rejected. Interesting negotiating strategy, that, but it’ll likely result in Chelsea getting what they want in the end. (AE)
Chelsea's latest bid for Wesley Fofana is over £70m and won't be the last one made if rejected. Brendan Rodgers again said Fofana isn't for sale, but Todd Boehly means business. Fofana is Chelsea's number one target between now and when window shuts.
August 5 – Marc Cucurella signs for Chelsea in reported $75 million deal
One of the biggest shock signings of the summer has been completed, with Spanish left back Marc Cucurella signing for Chelsea from Brighton for a reported $75 million fee ($66 million up front, with $9 million in add ons). Cucurella, 24, looked set to join Manchester City for most of the summer but the reigning PL champs baulked at the price Brighton wanted for him. So in stepped Chelsea. They have also sent promising young defender Levi Colwill to Brighton on loan as part of the deal.
As for Cucurella, his rise has been meteoric. He had a phenomenal season at Brighton in 2021-22 after arriving from Getafe last summer and he is a superb attacking left back who will perfectly slot into Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1 as a left wing-back. Marcos Alonso is expected to move to Barcelona after this deal was confirmed and Cucurella and Ben Chilwell will battle it out for the starting spot at Chelsea. There’s a lot of talk about Chelsea overpaying for Cucurella, especially when they already have Chilwell, and there’s logic in that. He is a quality player, though, and Chelsea now need to sign a couple of center backs and probably another striker and this will have been a very good window for them. (JPW)
August 4 – Cesar Azpilicueta sticking around, Cucurella removed from Brighton training
Longtime Chelsea leader and captain Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta is not going back to Spain after all.
The Osasuna academy graduate who then went to Marseille before moving to the Premier League was expected to sign for Barcelona but things have been drawn out when it comes to Barca opening up room for wages.
It’ll be a two-year contract for Azpilicueta according to several reports but Chelsea has not yet announced the move. It does feel right that the 32-year-old defender remain at Stamford Bridge deeper into his career, if not to the finish line.
Meanwhile, Football.London says that Brighton manager Graham Potter has removed Marc Cucurella from first-team training amid reports of a fee agreement with Chelsea.
Now that agreement has been denied by Brighton, but it does make it seem like Cucurella is moving closer to getting his transfer request. Keep an eye on this space. (NM)
August 4 – Chelsea considering Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal
According to the Daily Telegraph, Chelsea are considering a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The 33-year-old joined Barcelona in January but given the financial restrictions at Barca, plus the fact that they continue to sign new players, it appears that the Catalan club are offering up the Gabonese superstar. Why? Well, it is all about money. Per the report, Aubameyang’s wages will rise next year and Barcelona want to avoid paying that.
Would Aubameyang be a good fit for Chelsea? He would fit their system and we know he’s a great finisher. Aubameyang could also add plenty of experience to a very youthful attack and if he’s happy and teams are playing to his strengths. Thomas Tuchel will be wary of Aubameyang potential throwing his toys out of the pram like he did at Arsenal but the player and coach know each other extremely well from their time together at Borussia Dortmund, which was hugely successful for Auba.
With Kalidou Koulibaly coming in at center back, Chelsea have proved they are willing to sign winners, leaders and experienced stars to balance their largely youthful squad. Aubameyang fits the bill but the jury may be out as to whether he can fit into their fluid 3-4-2-1 system as the lone forward. (JPW)
August 4 – Carney Chukwuemeka signs
It’s official: one of the top midfield prospects in the game has joined Chelsea from Aston Villa. Carney Chukwuemeka, 18, left Villa with less than a year left on his contract and Chelsea have pounced to sign the central midfielder. Chukwuemeka is expected to go straight into Thomas Tuchel’s first team squad and once again Chelsea are putting faith in youth. (JPW)
August 2 – Chelsea agree personal terms, $60.7-million transfer fee for Marc Cucurella
Marc Cucurella’s transfer from Brighton to Chelsea is nearing completion after all involved parties agreed terms with one another on Wednesday. According to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea will pay $60.7 million to Brighton, who will also receive a top prospect, 19-year-old defender Levi Colwill, in the exchange. Colwill was a standout performer for nearly-promoted Championship side Huddersfield Town last season, as he appeared in 29 league games as a teenager. Manchester City, who previously made a run at signing the 24-year-old Cucurella, weren’t willing to go up to $60 million in their negotiations, let alone with a first team-ready prospect also included. (AE)
Marc Cucurella to Chelsea, here we go! Full agreement in place between Chelsea and Brighton for more than £50m. Levi Colwill on the verge of joining Brighton soon. 🚨🔵 #CFC
August 2 – USYNT GK Slonina, England’s Chukwuemeka sign
Chelsea has added a pair of highly-rated teenagers this Tuesday.
USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina will carry a bit more interest in America, where the teenager has been unveiled by Chelsea on a six-year deal that includes a loan back to Chicago for the rest of the MLS season [ More info here ]
Then there’s England youth international Carney Chukwuemeka, the 18-year-old who was willing to run down his contract at Aston Villa. Rather than lose him for nothing in next summer, Steven Gerrard’s Villans have sold Chukwuemeka to the Blues for a reported $24 million. Not a bad return. (NM)
August 1 – Marc Cucurella in shock move?
Marc Cucurella’s move to Manchester City appears to have collapsed as the reigning Premier League champs won’t up their offer. But that doesn’t mean the Spanish left back won’t be playing in the Champions League this season… A report from the Daily Mail says that Chelsea are ready to sign Cucurella and will offer cash plus promising center back Levi Colwill. Other reports have since stated that talks between Chelsea and Brighton are advanced. With Chelsea set to let Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta move on this summer, they need defensive reinforcements and this could be a good deal for all involved. Cucurella has told Brighton he wants to move but Man City aren’t willing to pay what Brighton want for him (close to $60 million) so it appeared he would not get his dream move and would stay at Brighton and be unhappy. However, this could be a very good compromise. (JPW)
Chelsea are pushing to hijack Marc Cucurella deal! Direct talk today with Brighton – Levi Colwill could be part of the negotiation. 🚨🔵 #CFC
August 1 – Blues pushing to sign Frenkie de Jong ahead of Man United
A report from Sport in Spain says that Chelsea are pushing hard to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona. Per the report, Chelsea will also sell Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso to Barcelona and then spend $82 million on the Dutch midfielder. De Jong, 25, has been linked with a move to Manchester United all summer long but doesn’t appear to be keen on playing for a team not in the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea are of course in the Champions League and with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho coming towards the end of their careers, Thomas Tuchel needs to look to the future. The report also says Barca will make a move for Bernardo Silva if they sell De Jong, as the Catalan club have spoken glowingly about the Man City and Portugal star over the last few months.
As for De Jong, his sublime control on the ball and positioning would be pretty perfect for Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1 system. He and Mateo Kovacic could hold things down together for the next five years. Now, the main issue is whether or not De Jong wants to leave Barcelona. Up to now he’s said he’s very happy at Barca but club president Joan Laporta and his manager Xavi continue to put pressure on him. Both keep saying they don’t want to sell him but they also mention the ‘economic situation’ as reports suggest Frenkie de Jong is being asked to take a wage cut, even though he is reportedly owed close to $20 million in wage deferrals from 2020. If Chelsea pip Manchester United to signing Frenkie de Jong then Erik ten Hag will not be a happy man as he will lose out on the player he wants to build his midfield around, while a top four rival will also be strengthened. (JPW)
July 31 – Chelsea “working on deals” for defenders Wesley Fofana, Denzel Dumfries
Chelsea’s interest in Leicester City center back Wesley Fofana was first reported this week, and the Blues have reportedly decided to press forward in their pursuit of the 21-year-old Frenchman (not yet capped at senior level for France). A deal won’t come cheap for Chelsea, though, as David Ornstein reported on Sunday that Leicester value Fofana at $100 million, give or take a few million either way. Fofana burst onto the Premier League scene as a 19-year-old in his first season with the Foxes before suffering a broken leg on the eve of the 2021-22 season, keeping him out of action from August to mid-March.
Inter Milan right back Denzel Dumfries is another name reportedly high atop Thomas Tuchel’s shopping list, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta set to turn 33 later this month and frequently linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge. The 26-year-old Dutch international (35 caps) joined Inter last summer and won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the San Siro. (AE)
July 27 – Chelsea interested in Wesley Fofana
Our partners in the UK at Sky Sports are reporting that Chelsea are interested in Leicester City center back Wesley Fofana. The French defender, 21, missed most of last season after breaking his leg in preseason but is highly-regarded as one of the top young defenders in Europe under the age of 22. Fofana only recently signed a new two-year contract extension at Leicester and it would take a pretty massive offer to sign him. Chelsea are desperate for central defenders, though, as Kalidou Koulibaly has arrived this summer but they lost Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
With the future of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso still up in the air amid interest from Barcelona, plus long-term target Jules Kounde looking likely to sign for Barcelona instead of Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks, especially after their 4-0 friendly defeat to Arsenal. He wants his squad to be settled heading into the opening weekend of the new season but that seems very unlikely. Fofana would be a good signing for Chelsea. His quality is clear for all to see and he would slot in well to the 3-4-2-1 system and is very comfortable on the ball and coming out of the back to start attacks. Leicester would ask for a huge transfer fee for him as they know Chelsea are getting pretty desperate, but the fee could be one worth paying as Chelsea are running out of time, and options. (JPW)
July 26 – Denzel Dumfries, center backs now top of Chelsea’s list
Thomas Tuchel isn’t happy with the amount of players Chelsea have been able to sign this summer and now that it appears that Jules Kounde will be heading to Barcelona instead of Stamford Bridge, the race to sign defenders is well and truly on. A report from 90min says that Pau Torres, Josko Gvardiol and Milan Skriniar are three center back options Chelsea are looking at closely, while Bayern Munich duo Dayot Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard could also be options. Torres and Pavard seem the most likely signings for Chelsea from that lengthy list of defenders as Tuchel needs reinforcements in defense for Chelsea to have any chance of mounting a serious title challenge this season. Right now, Chelsea will line up with Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly and probably Cesar Azpilicueta at center back for the opening day of the season in their 3-4-2-1 formation. However, Azpilicueta could leave for Barcelona but if the Catalan club sign Jules Kounde ahead of Chelsea that could actually scupper Azpilicueta’s move to Barcelona.
If Azpilicueta does move on then Denzel Dumfries will likely arrive at right wing-back, with the Dutch international said to be Chelsea’s main target for that position according to the London Evening Standard. The Inter Milan defender, 26, could play as the right wing-back in the 3-4-2-1 formation and Reece James could switch to be the right-sided center back for Chelsea. That could solve their center back issue, at least in the short-term, as Chelsea will likely bring in a new central defender (or two) before the transfer window shuts on September 1. Things are getting very interesting for Tuchel and the new Chelsea owners as deals need to be completed fast if they’re going to seriously compete for trophies this season. (JPW)
July 26 – Timo Werner could leave Chelsea
Fabrizio Romano has indicated that Timo Werner could leave Chelsea this summer, with Juventus and RB Leipzig linked with a move for the German international. Werner’s comments during preseason upset Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, as the striker revealed he could be happy at whatever club he was playing at. After struggling for goals, and minutes, during the 2021-22 campaign, Werner’s playing time could be reduced further this season after the arrival of Raheem Sterling. Werner, 26, is loved by Chelsea fans for his work rate but he has scored just 10 goals in 56 Premier League games over the last two seasons and 23 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions. He has been guilty of snatching at big chances and not being clinical enough in front of goal.
Another report from Bild in Germany states that Newcastle want to sign Werner. Heading to Newcastle or back to Leipzig seems like a very good move for Werner, with the former probably his best bet. In the right system he will cause havoc but Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1 formation just doesn’t suit his style of play and he is much better in a team that plays two up front or a traditional 4-3-3 where wide players are forwards. Werner wants to lock in his spot in Germany’s World Cup roster and playing regularly has to be his aim between now and November. He isn’t going to get that at Chelsea as Sterling, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech all appear to be ahead of him in the pecking order for the three attacking roles. (JPW)
Timo Werner could really leave Chelsea this summer. He's one of the names in Juventus list alongside Allegri's priority Morata – was already discussed during negotiations for de Ligt. 🔵 #CFC@SkySport
The Senegal defender has completed his move from Napoli to Chelsea and there are some great photos of him being unveiled in Las Vegas as he links up with Thomas Tuchel’s side on their U.S. tour. Koulibaly, 31, is exactly the kind of center back Chelsea needed to rebuild their defense and Tuchel has added real quality in Koulibaly and Sterling. Who’s next? Probably another few defenders with Presnel Kimpembe and Jules Kounde targeted. Koulibaly is perfect for the 3-4-2-1 formation and will replace Antonio Rudiger as the commanding force in the Chelsea defense who will step out and be aggressive. Koulibaly and Thiago Silva have plenty of experience and it will be intriguing to see who Thomas Tuchel lines up alongside them this season. (JPW)
So, is this actually going to happen!? It seems like this deal for 18-year-old USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina has dragged on and on, but there is no real rush on either side as Slonina will be heading back to the Chicago Fire on loan. As we’ve said below, Slonina will eventually head to Chelsea over the next year or so and his next step is to head out on loan in Europe. The American goalkeeper has a very bright future and this is a good move for him to enter the European market and have a huge club like Chelsea handling his development. (JPW)
Gabriel Slonina’s agent Jaime Garcia has informed Chicago Fire that they reached an agreement on personal terms with Chelsea. 🚨🔵 #CFC
CFC will submit official bid and send paperworks, after verbal agreement with Chicago: 10m plus add-ons.
Nathan Ake will not be leaving Manchester City this summer, according to Fabrizio Romano, as the Dutch international is needed by Pep Guardiola. The center back, 27, was linked with a move back to Chelsea but that won’t happen and according to reports, the Blues aren’t delighted about the move stalling late on. With Presnel Kimpembe potentially on his way to partner Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea should have plenty of options at center back but probably need one more signing to back-up Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta (if he stays) as youngster Levi Colwill will also be on the move. (JPW)
Manchester City internal decision: Oleksandr Zinchenko can leave the club, Arsenal are prepared to submit an official proposal. 🚨🇺🇦 #AFC
Nathan Aké stays at the club after talk with Guardiola despite personal terms agreed with Chelsea. #MCFC
July 13 – Chelsea set to sign Koulibaly; Kimpembe, Ake next up
What a signing this will be for Chelsea. Kalidou Koulibaly, 31, is heading to the Blues to bolster their defense. His experience will be vital and he’s the perfect replacement for Antonio Rudiger. This move, coupled with developing deals for Presnel Kimpembe and Nathan Ake, is another huge statement of intent from the new Chelsea ownership. They are revamping their entire defense and adding key attacking players. This is the real deal. (JPW)
Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea, here we go! Full agreement in place for €40m fee add-ons completed, bid accepted. Napoli are checking the documents then it will be official. 🚨🔵 #CFC
🚨 Chelsea in talks with Paris Saint-Germain to sign Presnel Kimpembe. #PSG open to 26yo’s exit if valuation met – not happened yet but conversations ongoing. France int’l a key #CFC target at left centre-back. Juventus also in contact @TheAthleticUK #Juvehttps://t.co/5sf488Awxm
The England international has signed for Chelsea after a stellar seven seasons at Manchester City. Sterling will be the main man in attack for Thomas Tuchel and will give him them the clinical edge and pace they need in attack. This is a massive upgrade for Chelsea and proves the ambition of their new owners, as Sterilng will excel in the 3-4-2-1 formation in one of the underneath roles, or even up top as the central striker. (JPW)
A report from the Daily Mail claims that Chelsea have turned their attention to Serge Gnabry after Raphinha appears to be heading to Barcelona. Gnabry, 26, is valued at $53 million by Bayern Munich and the Germany international has just one year left on his contract, with Chelsea reaching out to Bayern about his availability. The silky winger creates and scores goals galore and with Chelsea set to add Raheem Sterling and chasing other forward options, it is clear Thomas Tuchel wants to freshen up his attack. Romelu Lukaku has been loaned out to Inter Milan, Hakim Ziyech could be leaving for AC Milan, while the likes of Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner have also been linked with moves away.
Would Gnabry slot in well at Chelsea? Everything suggests so. He is versatile, clinical in the final third and along with Sterling would give Chelsea’s attacking unit a totally different look. Tuchel prefers to play without a target forward and Sterling and Gnabry could start underneath Havertz, or one of them could even start up top with Mason Mount in the attacking midfield position. Gnabry would give Tuchel flexibility and the German coach loves that from his team. Gnabry doesn’t appear to be closer to agreeing a new contract at Bayern Munich and Chelsea could take advantage of that situation. (JPW)
July 12 – Nathan Ake, Kalidou Koulibaly lined up
According to Fabrizio Romano, Napoli and Senegal center back Kalidou Koulibaly remains on Chelsea’s wish list as they aim to sign new center back. Negotiations for Nathan Ake are continuing too, as Thomas Tuchel looks to rebuild his defense. Matthijs de Ligt seems to be heading to Bayern Munich from Juventus, so Chelsea have given up pursuing the Dutch center back. Koulibaly has a huge contract offer on the table from Napoli but per the report, talks with his agent have continued and he is seen as a key man for the Blues.
David Ornstein is now reporting that Chelsea are even closer to signing Koulibaly for a deal worth over $40 million.
🚨 Chelsea close to agreements on fee + personal terms to sign Kalidou Koulibaly. Not done & Napoli often tricky but talks moving towards ~€40m deal + long-term contract for 31yo. Likes of Kimpembe, Kounde, Ake remain in mix @TheAthleticUK #CFC#SSCNapolihttps://t.co/Izox1JeuN5
How big of a priority is center back for Chelsea? In a word, huge. After losing Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona on free transfers, captain Cesar Azpilicueta could also be heading to Barca and that leaves Chelsea very short in defense. Ake and Koulibaly would be perfect fits for Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1 system and Koulibaly would be a very good direct replacement for Antonio Rudiger. Koulibaly will be expensive but he does have just one year left on his contract at Napoli and the 31-year-old may feel like now is the time to take his talents to the Premier League after what seems like constant links in every single transfer window of the last five years. (JPW)
July 12 – Gabriel Slonina deal back on?
Just when it looked like USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, 18, would not be heading to Chelsea, it appears the deal is back on. According to Fabrizio Romano, a deal for Slonina is back in the works as Todd Boehly is dealing with it personally. The American goalkeeper is regarded as one of the top young prospects in the world and Real Madrid were said to be pushing Chelsea to sign him. Per the report, Slonina will stay at Chicago Fire on loan and the deal will be worth over $10 million plus add ons. It appears that Slonina will be one for the future for Chelsea as Edouard Mendy will be their goalkeeper for many years to come. That said, Slonina could come in as the No. 2 in the next few years and gain valuable experience, plus this move opens up the opportunity to head elsewhere in Europe on loan. (JPW)
Chelsea have reached verbal agreement with Chicago Fire for Gabriel Slonina, after direct talks between Todd Boehly and MLS club. 10m deal plus add-ons, he'd stay at Chicago on loan. 🔵🇺🇸 #CFC
July 12 – Raphinha edging closer to Barcelona move
This really has become a saga but it appears that Raphinha’s move to Barcelona is closer to completion. Fabrizio Romano has said that Leeds have finally accepted a bid from Barca and now the only wait is until the Catalan club can afford to register Raphinha and complete the deal. Raphinha, 25, was wanted by a host of Premier League clubs and it looked like he would join Chelsea after they had a bid accepted. However, his dream has always been to play for Barcelona and the Brazil international looks to have got his move with Chelsea now moving for Raheem Sterling and perhaps another wide forward (see above). As for Raphinha, he will play a key role at Barcelona who are likely to move on plenty of other players this summer as Xavi freshens up his squad. It is quite likely that Raphinha, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres will be Barcelona’s main men in attack. (JPW)
July 11 – Manchester United, Arsenal linked with Kante move
Now, N’Golo Kante is still probably in the top three defensive midfielders in the world when he’s fully fit, so why would Chelsea sell him? Kante, 31, has just one year left on his contract at Chelsea and it appears he may be ready for a new challenge. With that in mind, the Daily Star claims that Manchester United want to rival Arsenal to sign Kante this summer. Kante is currently in the UK and not on Chelsea’s preseason tour of the U.S. due to his vaccination status not allowing him to enter the United States of America.
Should Chelsea cash in on Kante now? They will likely get close to $50 million for him if they sold him this summer and the French international struggled increasingly with injuries last season. When he’s fit and firing on all cylinders there are still few defensive midfielders better than him in the world but it seems like Thomas Tuchel wants to freshen up his midfield options with Jorginho also coming towards the end of his contract at Stamford Bridge and plenty of replacements, such as Matheus Nunes and Frenkie de Jong, have been linked with Chelsea in recent weeks. (JPW)
July 6 – Chelsea, Man City reportedly agree Sterling fee
July 6 – Blues set to bid for Sporting Lisbon’s Matheus Nunes
According to a report from A Bola in Portugal, Chelsea are set to bid for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Nunes. Per the report, Chelsea will bid over $45 million to sign the silky, two-way central midfielder. Could that mean the likes of Jorginho (who was linked with Juventus) may leave Chelsea this summer? Thomas Tuchel and new chairman Todd Boehly — who is also acting as a temporary head of recruitment — are trying to make plenty of moves as they are chasing Nathan Ake, Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt to strengthen their defense, plus chasing deals for Raheem Sterling, Raphinha and Cristiano Ronaldo. Apparently the idea of Nunes heading to Chelsea came up with Jorge Mendes (also Ronaldo’s agent) met with Boehly recently.
What type of player is Nunes? He’s a creative box-to-box midfielder who loves to dictate the tempo of the game and the 23-year-old is regarded as one of the top young midfielders in the game. Is this an area of the pitch Chelsea need to strengthen? Potentially. Jorginho is getting towards the end of his career, Kante was injury prone last season and Mateo Kovacic also had injury issues. Nunes seems to be exactly the kind of midfielder Tuchel likes in his 3-4-2-1 system as he gets on the ball, drives forward, keeps it well and is precise with his passing. (JPW)
July 6 – Chelsea could move for Benjamin Pavard
Benjamin Pavard is reportedly a target for Chelsea, according to the Daily Mirror. And our partners at Sky in Germany believe that the 26-year-old could move on from Bayern Munich this summer after the reigning German champs signed Noussair Mazaroui from Ajax. Per the report Chelsea believe that their main defensive target, Matthijs de Ligt, could be heading to Bayern instead so they are lining up alternatives. As for Pavard, he is a right back primarily but is very comfortable playing anywhere in defense and the French international has an eye for goal and can deliver real quality on the ball going forward.
Pavard is exactly the kind of player who would slot into Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 formation seamlessly and this feels like a long-term replacement for Cesar Azpilicueta. Chelsea have been linked with plenty of players in recent weeks as the new ownership have finally arrived at the club and chairman Todd Boehly is trying to get plenty of deals done before the Blues head on their tour of the U.S. this summer. Pavard would be perfect and with Nathan Ake, Prisnel Kimpembe and Jules Kounde all linked with a move to Chelsea, defensive reinforcements are right at the top of Tuchel’s wish-list after Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger moved on this summer. (JPW)
July 6 – Gabriel Slonina’s move to Chelsea appears to be off
It seems like Gabriel Slonina, 18, will not be heading to Chelsea. According to the London Evening Standard, a deal for Slonina to head to Stamford Bridge has been halted. Real Madrid and Wolves have also been linked with a move for the Chicago Fire product, who was close to joining Chelsea in January before sanctions were placed on the club and several key individuals on the recruitment side have since left. Slonina is highly-rated and has already been in the full USMNT squad as he continues to shine in MLS week after week. His future definitely lies in Europe but it seems like he won’t be signing for Chelsea. (JPW)
July 4 – Chelsea once again linked with Cristiano Ronaldo move
A report from The Athletic claims that Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly has been in talks with Jorge Mendes about a potential deal for Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo, 37, has reportedly told United he wants to move on this summer and he did not turn up for the first day of preseason due to ‘family reasons’ as it appears his second spell at Old Trafford is coming to an abrupt end. Per this report, Chelsea are exploring if they could do a deal for Ronaldo but there are apparently some hestitations from Thomas Tuchel about Ronaldo being a good fit for the Blues.
Would this work? Firstly, it would be shocking if Man United sold Ronaldo to a direct top four rival in the Premier League. Why would they do that? Ronaldo is under contract for another season so they would rather keep him against his will for one season rather than strengthen a rival. Secondly, it’s quite clear that Ronaldo would score plenty of goals at Chelsea but would his arrival upset the balance of the squad as it did at United? The second point is wading into muddy waters as Chelsea have had success in bringing in a superstar veteran (Thiago Silva) and if Ronaldo is willing to work with their talented youngsters, he will get plenty of chances to score. Chelsea need a new No. 9 after loaning out Romelu Lukaku and Ronaldo wants to play in the Champions League, which Chelsea are in. On the face of it, this makes sense for everyone aside from Manchester United. That is the big problem. (JPW)
July 4 – Contrasting reports over Chelsea’s push to sign Raheem Sterling
Our partners in the UK at Sky Sports have heard contrasting reports when it comes to Raheem Sterling to Chelsea. One source said a fee is close to being agreed, while another played that down. What we do know is that Thomas Tuchel wants to sign Sterling, 27, and now is probably a good time for him to move on from Man City. Sterling has one year left on his contract at City and Pep Guardiola rotated him in and out of the team more than he would have liked last season. Sterling would be a big upgrade on Chelsea’s current attacking options and Tuchel wants to inject more pace and incisiveness into his attack. Sterling would provide that and even if many believe he should have scored more goals for City, he has still banged in 131 goals in 339 appearances over the last seven seasons and has been ridiculously consistent. (JPW)
July 4 – Christian Pulisic not keen to leave Chelsea despite Juventus interest
Christian Pulisic has a big summer ahead of him as the USMNT star will be thinking long and hard about his future at club level. Should he stay at Chelsea? Should he leave? Where should he go? The latest report on his situation is from The Daily Mail, as they say Christian Pulisic wants to stay at Chelsea despite interest in him from Juventus. Per the report, Pulisic is not keen on a move to Juve.
This follows a report on his future from The Daily Telegraph, as they said that Chelsea have offered Juventus one of Pulisic and Timo Werner, plus cash, for Matthijs de Ligt. Of course, USMNT fans will be hoping whatever happens with Christian Pulisic at Chelsea will be best for the U.S. ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This is a very tough decision for Pulisic as he could stay at Chelsea but move behind Raheem Sterling, and other potential new signings, in the pecking order. Or he could head somewhere else and it may take him time to settle in too. It really is a 50/50 decision for the American star and it also depends heavily on whether or not Thomas Tuchel plans on giving him a big role this season. (JPW)
June 30 – Blues want to bring back Nathan Ake
Once a Chelsea prospect, Dutch defender Nathan Ake is wanted by Thomas Tuchel for the first team at Stamford Bridge.
The 27-year-old ex-Bournemouth star has not played as much as he’d like at Manchester City but the Premier League champions rate him much higher than the proposed Chelsea bid.
The Blues are said to be willing to offer around $36 million, about half of the reported City valuation. What fee would it take to get City to sell a player to a would-be title rival. If Gabriel Jesus moved to London for $55 million, albeit with less time on his deal, perhaps that’s nearer to the bullseye. (NM)
June 29 – Romelu Lukaku loaned back to Inter Milan
Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan confirmed: Lukaku’s second spell at Chelsea came to another unceremonious end on Wednesday, when Inter Milan re-signed the Belgian striker on a season-long loan.
This time around, Lukaku scored 15 goals in 44 appearances (all competitions – 8 in 26 in the Premier League), bringing his Chelsea career total to 15 goals. In total, Chelsea have paid roughly $155 million for Lukaku. Quick math says, $10 million per goal. (AE)
June 28 – Chelsea, Leeds reportedly agree fee for Raphinha
The Todd Boehly revolution is well underway at Stamford Bridge, where Brazilian attacker Raphinha is set to arrive from Leeds United.
This, of course, assumes that Chelsea can come to an agreement on a contract with Raphinha, who has also been linked with Barcelona and Arsenal.
Raphinha scored 11 times with three assists for Leeds last Premier League season, a year after scoring six times and adding nine assists following a transfer from Stade Rennais.
What a move this would be for a Chelsea team already loaded with attackers, just the latest sign that no one besides (probably) Kai Havertz and Mason Mount are safe in their status with Thomas Tuchel’s Blues. Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, and others all could move by the end of the window.
All that said… you still need center backs to contend for a league, too. It’s not even July 1, though, so this transfer season may just be warming up. (NM)
June 27 – Chelsea consider Richarlison bid
Is there a winger Chelsea don’t want to sign this summer!? After being linked with moves for Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele in recent days and weeks, our partners in the UK at Sky Sports are now stating that Chelsea want to rival Tottenham to try and sign Richarlison. The 25-year-old Brazilian is a man in demand and has apparently told Frank Lampard he wants to leave Everton this summer and wants to play in the Champions League. With Chelsea letting Romelu Lukaku leave on loan, plus the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all likely to move on this summer, it appears that Thomas Tuchel is seriously freshening up his attack as Chelsea’s new owners try to make a splash.
Would Richarlison to Chelsea make sense? Actually, yes, it would. A lot of sense. Richarlison is a mobile forward who can plan centrally in Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1 formation but he can also play as one of the underneath forwards. If Chelsea signed Richarlison, Sterling and Dembele this summer, then that would be a huge upgrade on their current attacking options and all three players would suit Tuchel very well. Richarlison would probably cost upwards of $65 million, with Sterling slightly less expensive and Dembele is available on a free. If Chelsea move on Ziyech, Werner and Pulisic for decent fees, or even decent loan fees, then this could work out very well. Defensively they still need a couple of new center backs but new chairman Todd Boehly is certainly busy early on at Chelsea as Petr Cech and Marina Granovskaia are both out and he’s taking a leading role in lining up these transfers, at least on an interim basis to start with. (JPW)
June 26 – Thomas Tuchel makes contact with Raheem Sterling
A report from The Telegraph states that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has reached out directly to Raheem Sterling to discuss a possible move to Stamford Bridge this summer. The England international, 27, could well be surplus to requirements at Manchester City next season and Chelsea need to freshen up their attack. With Romelu Lukaku on his way to Inter Milan, Hakim Ziyech in talks over a loan move to AC Milan and Timo Werner likely leaving too, it’s clear that Tuchel wants to rebalance his attack and Sterling is one of his top targets. Per the report, City value Sterling at $61-73 million and Chelsea will now make a bid after Tuchel spoke directly with the player.
Would this be a good move for both Sterling and Chelsea? Probably. Sterling has been a star at Man City over the last seven seasons but he probably isn’t appreciated as much as he should be and with Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez arriving this summer at City, the speedy winger will face even stiffer competition for a starting spot. He struggled for minutes a little last season (2127 compared to 2537 in 2020-21) but his quality is clear for all to see. The way he stretches teams on the break and cuts inside would suit Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system well, as Sterling could play as the central striker or as one of the two underneath forwards. Sterling has just one year left on his current contract at City and with Gabriel Jesus set to leave this summer for Arsenal, are City going to allow both to move on? Maybe. They have always been pretty good at letting players move on if they want to but Pep Guardiola may feel a little shorthanded if both Sterling and Jesus leave this summer. (JPW)
June 26 – Cristiano Ronaldo linked with shock move to Stamford Bridge
Yes, this is actually a real thing. And yes, Manchester United have denied it could happen. However, there is clearly a bit of a theme rumbling behind-the-scenes here. In the past week there have been reports suggesting Ronaldo is unhappy with the lack of new signings at United, plus there have been reports linking him with a move to Roma, his former club Sporting Lisbon and now Chelsea are said to be interested in signing the Portuguese superstar. According to The Athletic, new Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly discussed the availability of Ronaldo, 37, when he met with ‘super-agent’ Jorge Mendes.
Per the report, Ronaldo was discussed and Chelsea are interested in seeing whether or not he can be temped to west London. Given that he only has one year left on his contract and they’d be strengthening a direct top four rival, United would surely rather keep Ronaldo than sell him to Chelsea this summer. United have since briefed plenty of outlets, including our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, that Ronaldo is not for sale and will not leave this summer.
But would having an unhappy Ronaldo around be a huge problem for Erik ten Hag? Probably. His love for United is undoubted but it is easier to see why he’s so frustrated. Many believe he will not fit into the tactics deployed by ETH but the Dutch coach is said to believe he can. Let’s see how this goes but it seems like Ronaldo’s future is unexpectedly going to be the topic of much discussion this summer. (JPW)
June 25 – Hakim Ziyech to AC Milan?; Tuchel expecting ‘up to six new players to arrive’
A report from our partners at Sky Italy states that Hakim Ziyech could head on loan to AC Milan in a similar deal which will see Romelu Lukaku move to Inter from Chelsea. Per the report, Ziyech is keen on the move and he has been a target for AC Milan for some time. The Moroccan winger has never really settled at Chelsea despite the odd sublime goal and stunning display. With Tuchel looking to freshen up his attack this summer, Ziyech, Werner, Lukaku and even Christian Pulisic appear to be surplus to requirements as Tuchel expects plenty of new arrivals under the new ownership group led by Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly. According to a separate report from The Telegraph the Blues boss expects up to six new players to arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer. With De Ligt, Raheem Sterling, Richarlison and Ousmane Dembele strongly linked with a move to Chelsea, this is going to be a very different looking side, especially in attack. (JPW)
June 25 – Timo Werner part of potential deal for De Ligt?
A report from Di Marzio in Italy suggests that Timo Werner plus $35 million is the offer Chelsea have put forward for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt but the Turin club want Werner and closer to $45 million. Per the report both Werner and De Ligt are up for the move, with the Dutch center back set to be the new center-piece of Thomas Tuchel’s defense, while Werner is keen for a fresh start in Italy as his goalscoring woes in the Premier League continue. Would this be a good move for all parties? De Ligt has been much better in recent seasons at Juve but he has struggled at times and perhaps the Premier League would suit his game slightly better. As for Werner, well, he’s beloved by the Chelsea fans for his incredible effort in games but his finishing has really let him down and if he moves on now he can leave with his head held high. (JPW)
June 23 – Matthijs de Ligt transfer would set defender record
Juventus center back Matthijs de Ligt’s $126 million release clause and its expectation not to budge much from the price tag may not stop Chelsea, according to Sky Sports.
The Blues are pursuing the 22-year-old Dutch star, having lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer. Chelsea has to address the crew of Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr, and Trevoh Chalobah.
De Ligt cost Juventus about $79 million from Ajax. Amongst defenders, only Virgil van Dijk, Harry Maguire, and Lucas Hernandez have cost more than De Ligt’s transfer fee then and only four players have cost more than his current release clause, which expires in 2024.
Should it happen, this would be huge splash from new chairman Todd Boehly? (NM).
June 21 – Chelsea linked with Richarlison
It appears that Richarlison is a man in demand this summer as The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea are set to battle with Tottenham and Arsenal for his signature. The 25-year-old looks likely to leave Everton and it is believed that Thomas Tuchel is a big fan of the Brazilian international. With Romelu Lukaku on his way out, plus doubts over whether or not Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner will stick around, Chelsea are set to freshen up their attacking options. They’ve already been linked with moves for Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele this summer and bringing in a wide forward who is comfortable cutting inside seems a priority.
Richarlison can certainly do that and given his experience in the Premier League and his tenacity and work-rate, he seems like a very good fit for Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system at Chelsea as he could play up top or in one of the two underneath positions. The transfer fee is going to be sizeable (probably $60-70 million) but Richarlison has been consistent at Everton and there’s reason to believe he will create and score plenty of goals in a team who are on the front-foot more often. (JPW)
June 21 – West Ham set to bid $37 million for Armando Broja
According to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, West Ham are set to bid $37 million to sign young Chelsea and Albania striker Armando Broja. The 20-year-old had a very solid season on loan at Southampton last season as he scored nine goals in all competitions and showed plenty of promise despite playing in a team which struggled to create plenty of chances. Broja may be needed at Chelsea this season as they look set to sell Romelu Lukaku, but per the report the likes of Newcastle, Arsenal and Napoli also want to sign the powerful striker. West Ham seems like a very good fit for Broja as he would compete with Michail Antonio for minutes and the pair could be rotated as the Hammers have the Europa Conference League and Premier League to juggle. Broja is good on the counter, deceptively quick and is very aggressive and that suits West Ham’s style under David Moyes very well. (JPW)
June 19 – Chelsea want to sign Raheem Sterling
The Blues are getting going in the transfer market and a report from our partners in the UK at Sky Sports states that Chelsea want to sign Raheem Sterling. Per the report, it would take a bid of over $73 million for City to let Sterling go this summer. The England forward, still just 27 years old, is out of contract next summer and it seems like he could be set for a move this summer.
Would this be a good move for Chelsea, and Sterling? It seems like a pretty good fit and if Chelsea can drive down the price a little, they will go all-in for Sterling. That said, City could be selling to potential title rivals so they will want a big transfer fee.
Sterling is not really and out-and-out winger and Tuchel doesn’t like to play with pure wingers in his 3-4-2-1 system. He would be very good on the left of the two forwards underneath a central striker and he loves to cut inside and cause havoc. Even though Sterling gets a bad rep for missing big chances he has still scored 62 goals in all competitions for Man City over the last three seasons. That’s 20 goals per season and Chelsea need someone what that production in their forward line as Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have all struggled to stay fit and in-form. With Erling Haaland arriving this summer at City, Sterling could well struggle for playing time this season at City and he has been in and out of the team over the last 12 months. He could play centrally at Chelsea, as the report suggests, and Tuchel is said to be a big fan of Sterling. Add in all of that to the fact that Sterling grew up in west London and his family connections are in the area and it all kind of makes sense, right? (JPW)
June 11 – USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina chased by Chelsea, Real Madrid
According to Fabrizio Romano, a potential deal for USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, 18, is entering ‘important hours’ as Chelsea and Real Madrid are the frontrunners to sign him. The Chicago Fire goalkeeper has been a Chelsea target for many months and now they have their ownership situation figured out, they can start trying to sign players once again.
Should Slonina sign for Real or Chelsea? He’s not going to play for either team regularly but it would allow him to develop next to some of the best goalkeepers in the world and also go out on loan in Europe to gain valuable experience. (JPW)
Important hours ahead for Gabriel Slonina transfer. Real Madrid made official bid turned down by Chicago Fire last week – but Chelsea are also in talks to sign him, after being really close last February 🚨🇺🇸 #CFC
June 10 – Four players join Antonio Rudiger in leaving Chelsea as free agents
Andreas Christensen, Charly Musonda, Danny Drinkwater and Jake Clarke-Salter have all left Chelsea as free agents. After Antonio Rudiger left as a free agent and signed for Real Madrid, this quartet were also expected to leave at the end of their deals. Chelsea had been keen to keep Danish center back Christensen around but he is expected to join Barcelona this summer.
If that move doesn’t happen due to Barca’s financial situation, Christensen will not be short of options. With the futures of Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Romelu Lukaku and several other forwards (see below) uncertain, it is building up to be a very intriguing summer at Chelsea. And, oh yeah, they also have new billionaire owners who are keen to make their mark. (JPW)
June 9 – Chelsea could also sell Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech
Of course, one of those names will jump off the page on this site. Pulisic, 23, has made no secret of his desire to play and there are plenty of clubs who’d welcome the chance to give him that opportunity.
June 8 – Chelsea want big money to loan Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan
Following his failed return to Stamford Bridge this season, Romelu Lukaku is hoping to leave the club once again this summer. He wants to go back to Inter Milan, and Inter Milan would like to have him back, but there’s just one problem: Chelsea have already sunk roughly $155 million into the signing (transfer fee plus first season’s wages), thus they would like to be compensated (handsomely) in order to re-(un)-acquire the 29-year-old Belgian striker, even on loan. According to a report from the Guardian, the Blues could demand as much as $31 million for the initial loan fee, plus a significant chunk of Lukaku’s $21-million annual salary. (AE)
June 8 – Ibrahim Sangare to Chelsea or Man United
PSV Eindhoven midfielder Ibrahim Sangare has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea in reports that say the combative midfielder plans to be in the Premier League next season.
Sangare, 24, has a $44 million release clause and three years left on his PSV contract, having moved from then-Ligue 2 side Toulouse at the start of 2020-21 season.
He registered the third-most tackles in Eredivisie last season with 95 and the third-most interceptions with 74, chipping in three goals while passing the ball at nearly 87 percent. (NM)
June 1 – Chelsea still interested in USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel ‘Gaga’ Slonina
A report from Goal.com states that Chelsea are still interested in signing USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina. The 18-year-old is a starter for the Chicago Fire and recently turned down a call-up to the Poland national team to represent the USMNT. Real Madrid reportedly also want to sign Slonina, who is one of the top young goalkeeping prospects on the planet. Would this move be a good one for the young American? He’d almost certainly go out on loan and getting regular minutes is key as he wouldn’t be close to challenging Edouard Mendy for the starting spot. (JPW)
May 31 – Romelu Lukaku could move back to Inter Milan on loan
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Inter Milan board will meet with Lukaku’s reps today. He claims that Lukaku ‘dreams of a return’ to Inter but nothing has been discussed with Chelsea. Lukaku, 29, only joined Chelsea from Inter last summer for a huge $122.6 million fee. However, after a good start to the season his form dipped massively and he scored just eight Premier League goals in 16 starts. Chelsea’s attack was their main issue all season long and Tuchel wants to revamp it this summer as Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic could all be on the move. It has been reported elsewhere that Lukaku could initially head back to Inter on loan. (JPW)
Inter board will meet Romelu Lukaku's laywer in the coming hours. Belgian striker dreams of returning to Inter but nothing has been discussed yet with Chelsea on formula, salary and more 🔵 #CFC@SkySport
It's really complicated deal as Chelsea paid €115m for Rom one year ago.
The January transfer window has again seen big-name imports into the Premier League, and the final hours of the window we saw a flurry of deals take place.
Chelsea spent big, once again, as a British record $130 million deal for Enzo Fernandez nears completion, while Liverpool signed Cody Gakpo and Arsenal added Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior to strengthen their title hopes.
As for deadline day itself Jorginho has joined Arsenal from Chelsea in a big move across London, while Manchester United are chasing the singing of Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich after they lost Christian Eriksen to injury.
Chelsea are pushing hard to sign Enzo Fernandez and it looks like it could happen right around the deadline, while Bournemouth, Southampton, Fulham and Tottenham are all busy on deadline day too and pushing deals through late on.
Dango Ouattara (Lorient)
Darren Randolph (West Ham)
Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City)
Matias Vina (Roma) Loan
Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kiev)
Hamed Traore (Sassuolo) Loan
Ferdinand Okoh (Dorchester) Loan
James Hill (Hearts) Loan
Will Dennis (Slough) Loan
Noa Boutin (Gosport) Loan
Gavin Kilkenny (Charlton Athletic) Loan
Siriki Dembele (Auxerre) Loan
Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Jakub Kiwior (Spezia Calcio)
Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Coventry) Loan
Miguel Azeez (Wigan) Loan
Arthur Okonkwo (Sturm Graz) Loan
Ovie Ejeheri (SJK Seinajoki) Loan
Harry Clarke (Ipswich Town)
Marquinhos (Norwich) Loan
Omar Rekik (Wigan) Loan
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Crystal Palace) Loan
Taylor Foran (Hartlepool) Loan
Cedric Soares (Fulham) Loan
In Aaron Ramsey (loan recall)
Tyreik Wright (loan recall)
Alex Moreno (Real Betis)
Jhon Duran (Chicago Fire)
Bertrand Traore (loan recall)
Out Cameron Archer (Middlesbrough) Loan
Tyreik Wright (Plymouth Argyle)
Frederic Guilbert (RC Strasbourg)
Indiana Vassilev (St. Louis City SC)
Danny Ings (West Ham)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
Morgan Sanson (Strasbourg) Loan
Ludwig Augustinsson (loan recall)
Marvelous Nakamba (Luton Town) Loan
Aaron Ramsey (Middlesbrough) Loan
In Byron Wilson (Coventry)
Conor McManus (Bray Wanderers)
Fin Stevens (loan recall)
Mads Bech (loan recall)
Beaux Booth (Dorking)
Kevin Schade (Freiburg) Loan
Paris Maghoma (loan recall)
Romeo Beckham (Inter Miami) Loan
Nathan Young-Coombes (loan recall)
Vincent Angelini (Watford)
Salomon Rondon (released)
Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich)
Tom Cannon (Preston) Loan
Niels Nkounkou (Saint-Etienne) Loan
Sebastian Quirk (Accrington Stanley)
Tyler Onyango (Forest Green) Loan
Anthony Gordon (Newcastle)
Joe Anderson (Sunderland)
In Anthony Knockaert (loan recall)
Sasa Lukic (Torino)
Shane Duffy (Brighton)
Cedric (Arsenal) Loan
Idris Odutayo (Maidenhead) Loan extension
Anthony Knockaert (Huddersfield) Loan
Ibane Bowat (Den Bosch) Loan
Connor McAvoy (Partick Thistle) Loan
Josh Onomah (mutual termination)
Nathaniel Chalobah (West Brom)
In Max Wober (RB Salzburg)
Georginio Rutter (Hoffenheim)
Weston McKennie (Juventus) Loan
Diogo Monteiro (Servette)
Out Mateusz Klich (MLS pending)
Alfie McCalmont (Carlisle) Loan
Leo Hjelde (Rotherham) Loan
Max Dean (MK Dons)
Cody Drameh (Luton) Loan
Joe Gelhardt (Sunderland) Loan
Diego Llorente (Roma) Loan
George Hirst (loan recall)
Victor Kristiansen (Copenhagen)
Nathan Opoku (Field Masters Sporting Club)
Harry Souttar (Stoke City)
George Hirst (Ipswich) Loan
Ben Nelson (Doncaster) Loan
Jakub Stolarczyk (Hartlepool) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Real Betis) Loan
Nathan Opoku (OH Leuven) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Real Betis) Loan
Marc Albrighton (West Brom) Loan
Kasey McAteer (AFC Wimbledon) Loan
Cody Gakpo (PSV)
Billy Koumetio (Austria Vienna) Loan recall
Max Woltman (loan recall)
Jakub Ojrzynski (loan recall)
James Balagizi (loan recall)
Fidel O’Rourke (loan recall)
Rhys Williams (loan recall)
Jake Cain (Swindon Town)
Jarell Quansah (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Luke Chambers (Kilmarnock) Loan
Fidel O’Rourke (Halifax) Loan
In Liam Delap (loan recall)
Maximo Perrone (Velez Sarsfield)
In Jack Butland (Crystal Palace) Loan
Wout Weghorst (Burnley) Loan
Marcel Sabitzer (Bayern Munich) Loan
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Shola Shoretire Loan (Bolton Wanderers)
Charlie Savage (Forest Green) Loan
Ondrej Mastny (Portadown) Loan
Di’Shon Bernard (Portsmouth) Loan
Charlie McNeill (Newport) Loan
Axel Tuanzebe (Stoke City) Loan
Sonny Aljofree (Altrincham) Loan
Joe Hugill (Altrincham) Loan
Maxi Oyedele (Altrincham) Loan
In Amadou Diallo (free) Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners)
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Anthony Gordon (Everton)
Harrison Ashby (West Ham)
✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing on Anthony Gordon on a long-term deal!
Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Chelsea)
Pedro Porro (Sporting) Loan
Bryan Gil (Sevilla) Loan
Djed Spence (Stade Rennais) Loan
Matt Doherty (Atletico Madrid)
Adam Hayton (Barnsley)
West Ham United
Luizao (Sao Paulo)
Armstrong Okoflex (loan recall)
Danny Ings (Aston Villa)
Thierry Nevers (Bradford) Loan
Craig Dawson (Wolves)
Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland)
Darren Randolph (AFC Bournemouth)
Will Greenidge (Colchester) Loan
Harrison Ashby (Newcastle)
In Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Joe Young (loan recall)
Louie Moulden (loan recall)
Theo Corbeanu (loan recall)
Christian Marques (loan recall)
Lewis Richards (loan recall)
Mario Lemina (Nice)
Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain)
Craig Dawson (West Ham)
Dan Bentley (Bristol City)
Ki-Jana Hoever (loan recall)
Joao Gomes (Flamengo)
Out Leo Bonatini (released)
Joe Young (Telford) Loan
Goncalo Guedes (Benfica) Loan
Theo Corbeanu (Arminia Bielefeld) Loan
Leonardo Campana (Inter Miami)
Connor Ronan (Colorado Rapids)
Fabio Silva (PSV) Loan
Matija Sarkic (Stoke) Loan
Ki-Jana Hoever (Stoke) Loan
Jackson Smith (Walsall) Loan
Chem Campbell (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan
It was a foregone conclusion ahead of the second leg that the Red Devils would return to a Wembley final for the first time since the 2017-18 FA Cup and their first appearance in the League Cup final since winning it under Jose Mourinho in 2017-18.
Erik ten Hag’s side was blunted and frustrated in the final third for more than 70 minutes, until a requisite bounce (or two) went their way and Anthony Martial put the tie to bed. Three minutes later, in the 76th, Fred bundled the ball home from two yards out to put the exclamation mark on a resounding two-leg victory.
Manchester United and Newcastle — two sides also currently occupying places in the Premier League’s top-four — will face off at Wembley on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Key storylines & in-form Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest players to watch
The injury lists for both teams mean we won’t see some serious talents including Morgan Gibbs-White and Christian Eriksen.
It will be interesting to see how Erik ten Hag lines up United without Eriksen and perhaps Scott McTominay, but we know we’ll see Marcus Rashford. The English forward is back ton his best.
Forest will hope to have Taiwo Awoniyi back in the fold, but young Brazilian center midfielder Danilo has been promising through his first two matches roaming the heart of the pitch after moving from Palmeiras.
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Jadon Sancho (undisclosed), Anthony Martial (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Luke Shaw (illness), Scott McTominay (undisclosed)