A new, natural left-back may be on his way to Stamford Bridge this winter.
Chelsea are weighing in on placing a $78-million (£60 million) bid for Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, according to a report.
Longtime left-back favorite, Marcos Alonso, has fallen in Frank Lampard‘s pecking order, making just eight Premier League appearances this season. As a result, the 41-year-old has recently instead shifted captain Cesar Azpilicueta from his natural right-back position to the left side.
20-year-old Reece James now features as the Blues’ right-back, a glaring indicator that Lampard isn’t sold on either Alonso or 25-year-old Emerson Palmieri.
Alaba, 27, has a contract with the German giants until the summer of 2021, meaning that the transfer price is not coming at a reduced price.
Debuting for Bayern’s first team in 2010, Alaba has since made 250 Bundesliga appearances, scoring 22 goals and jotting 25 assists. This season, he’s featured 17 times for the champions throughout all competitions.
At the age of 17, Alaba earned his first cap with Austria; since then, he’s registered a total of 72 caps.
The Blues are free to engage in the transfer market after their appeal on a two-window transfer ban was ratified by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in early December.
Chelsea has brought a strong squad to the Boston, Massachusetts area to take part in a friendly match to raise awareness and funds to fight antisemitism and hate around the world.
Chelsea is in the U.S. as part of a charity match titled the “Final Whistle on Hate,” which was set up by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft. Both owners are Jewish and the game was set up shortly after the terrorist attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the match will be donated to 15 different anti-hate organizations, including the Anti Defamation League, Kick it Out, and the Holocaust Education Trust. Both Kraft and Abramovich have pledged to donate $1 million each.
Ahead of the match, Chelsea is spending time training at Harvard University’s facilities, meeting with fans both at training and at a Boston Chelsea fan club event on Monday evening.
Here’s Chelsea’s squad for the match against the New England Revolution, set for Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. Chelsea still has two weeks before heading to Baku, Azerbaijan for the Europa League final against London rival Arsenal.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, Willy Caballero, Rob Green, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Gonzalo Higuain, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Olivier Giroud, Davide Zappacosta, Willian, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Emerson Palmieri, Marc Guehi, Reece James, Ike Ugbo, Trevoh Chalobah, Conor Gallagher.
Emerson Palmieri says Chelsea’s nine remaining Premier League matches amount to “nine Cup finals” when it comes to keeping its UEFA Champions League status, and improving the odds of hanging onto its best player.
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Palmieri admits that Eden Hazard is a cut above the rest, even on Chelsea, and says the team has concerns about hanging onto the Belgian star.
“Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level, and is one of the best in the world,” says the 24-year-old Italian international. From Sky Sports:
“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave, I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.”
Hazard has a year left on his Chelsea deal, but the Blues are set for a transfer ban this summer and winter.
For his part, Palmieri has become a big part of Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri. He’s started and gone the distance in five of the club’s last six matches, pushing Marcos Alonso into the background.
Chelsea traveled a long way for Thursday’s Europa League match at BATE Borisov, and Olivier Giroud made sure their trip to Belarus was a success.
Giroud thumped a trademark header home in the 52nd minute, meeting a pinpoint cross from Emerson Palmieri to lift Chelsea to a 1-0 win.
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The Blues had 74 percent of the ball and out-attempted their hosts 17-9 in a victory that propels them into the knockout rounds.
Chelsea will win Group L with a single point earned or MOL Vidi point lost over the final two match days.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, David Zappacosta, and Gary Cahill joined Emerson as unusual starters for the Blues.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp doesn’t believe VAR got it right on Chelsea’s first goal in a 2-1 defeat of the Reds at Anfield on Wednesday.
“I think the first goal is offside,” he said. “Three players are offside – two for sure. They watched it and didn’t think it was offside. We have to take it.”
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Alvaro Morata was offside on the free kick but was not a part of the play. Ross Barkley, who helped produce the chance finished by Emerson Palmieri, may or may not have been offside. It was very difficult to tell, and the goal stood.
The Reds led 1-0 through ex-Chelsea man Daniel Sturridge, but Eden Hazard followed up Emerson’s goal with a wonderful winner.
Both teams made loads of changes, with Hazard, N'Golo Kante, and Mohamed Salah coming off the bench and Virgil Van Dijk rested along with Alisson Becker and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
That will be a bit different on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.
“We could have played calmer football but it’s normal when you make changes. It was intense, a bit unlucky. Will I change anything for the weekend because of tonight? (long pause, before laughing). Yes.”