Ethan Ampadu

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Bundesliga season preview: Bayern aims for No. 30

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Bayern Munich’s got another fight on its hands when it comes to the Bundesliga.

Sounds insane, we know; The eight-time defending league champions have seen five teams finish runner-up in Germany’s top flight, and shook off a quality challenge from Borussia Dortmund — the last team to win the league — last season to claim its 29th title.

Niko Kovac is back in the fold, as are the top stars of the team, but it’s still going to be feel a bit different with Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Mats Hummels leaving town and a pair of World Cup winners — Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard — arriving at the Allianz Arena.

Robert Lewandowski is still there, as is Joshua Kimmich, and most of the club’s top minute eaters from last season’s title run. Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, and Kinglsey Coman will play even bigger roles, the club has quality young hotshots like Canadian teen Alphonso Davies, and Thiago Alcantara will be the straw that stirs the drink for young and old alike.

But BVB.

Dortmund has only lost Christian Pulisic, who’s headed “back” to Chelsea, and has again claimed an impressive summer haul (even if we knew a lot of the names prior to the end of the season).

Hummels is back, and Paco Alcacer’s loan has been made permanent. Oddly enough, those two moves might be the least impactful of the handful, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt and Gladbach’s Thorgan Hazard true difference makers in the midfield and Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim) a true hope for the back line.

Dortmund also added U.S. youth wunderkind Giovanni Reyna, though it’ll take time for the 16-year-old to run through the ranks.

The bookies think BVB is the only club with a prayer of claiming the title in place of Bayern, as reflected by 3/10 odds to the holders and 4/1 to the runners-up.

Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig are 33/1 odds, but that feels a little too much considering the additions of Ademola Lookman and Christopher Nkunku to go with Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu and Red Bull Salzburg star Hannes Wolf.

Bayer is a distant fourth, and has to hope that Kerem Demirbay’s move from Hoffenheim helps offset the loss of Brandt to BVB.

From Bayer on-down there’s a lot of uncertainty, as seemingly everyone lost a star of three. Eintracht Frankfurt sold Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller and is hoping Dejan Jovelijc turns out to be their next big capture from Serbia. Hoffenheim sold Demirbay, Schulz and Joelinton (Newcastle) and is yet to really address the goals aside from lower league scorer Sargis Adamyan.

Gladbach sold Hazard and is betting on a breakthrough from Schalke purchase and former next big thing Breel Embolo. Speaking of Schalke, they could be in trouble again and will need a big show from U.S. international Weston McKennie.

All of this stands to claim the following: Though surprises are possible, the league is downright unpredictable heading into the season aside from spots 1, 2, and maybe 3.

(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Americans Abroad: John Brooks will lead Wolfsburg’s back line, the aformentioned McKennie is going to be terribly important to Schalke’s hopes, and Tyler Adams returns for a first full season at RB Leipzig.

Josh Sargent is hopeful to make himself a league mainstay with Werder Bremen, and

Timothy Chandler’s still on the books at Eintracht Frankfurt, Fabian Johnson remains at ‘Gladbach, and Alfredo Morales is still at Fortuna Dusseldorf along with Man City loanee and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

German born U.S. U-20 defender Lennard Maloney has been promoted with FC Union Berlin, while former NYCFC striker Khiry Shelton is with fellow new boys Paderborn.

And there’s an MLS connection to join Adams, Davies and Shelton: Augsburg has added FC Dallas playmaker Carlos Gruezo.

The new boys: Union Berlin has bought enough talent to rise up the table a bit, while Paderborn and Koln have more questions than Union but still some guile in their ranks. Koln in particular might have the best shot to stay up on pedigree alone.

Complete list of Premier League summer transfers

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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Here are all the names that have moved into, out of, and between the clubs of the Premier League this season.

[ MORE: PL transfer grades ]


Arsenal

In
Gabriel Martinelli (Ituano) Undisclosed
Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid) Loan
William Saliba (Saint-Etienne) Undisclosed
Nicolas Pepe (Lille) Undisclosed
Kieran Tierney (Celtic) Undisclosed
David Luiz (Chelsea) Undisclosed

Out
Aaron Ramsey (Juventus) Free
Petr Cech (Retired)
Danny Welbeck (Watford) Free
Cohen Bramall (Colchester) Free
Charlie Gilmour (Norwich) Free
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Released)
Julio Pleguezuelo (Released) 
Jordi Osei-Tutu (Bochum) Loan
Daniel Ballard (Swindon Town) Loan 
David Ospina (Napoli) Undisclosed 
Vontae Daley-Campbell (Leicester) Undisclosed 
Ben Sheaf (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
William Saliba (Saint-Etienne) Loan
Xavier Amaechi (Hamburg) Undisclosed
Krystian Bielik (Derby County) Undisclosed
Takuma Asano (Partizan Belgrade) 
Laurent Koscielny (Bordeaux)
Carl Jenkinson (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed
Dominic Thompson (Brentford) Undisclosed
Eddie Nketiah (Leeds United) Loan
Alex Iwobi (Everton) Undisclosed

Aston Villa

In
Jota (Birmingham) Undisclosed
Anwar El Ghazi (Lille) Undisclosed
Wesley (Club Brugge) Undisclosed
Kortney Hause (Wolves) Undisclosed
Matt Targett (Southampton) Undisclosed
Tyrone Mings (AFC Bournemouth) Undisclosed 
Ezri Konsa (Brentford) Undisclosed
Bjorn Engels (Stade Reims) Undisclosed
Trezeguet (Kasimpasa) Undisclosed
Douglas Luiz (Man City) Undisclosed
Tom Heaton (Burnley) Undisclosed 
Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge) Undisclosed 

Out
Albert Adomah (Released)
Mark Bunn (Released)
Ritchie De Laet (Released)
Tommy Elphick (Huddersfield Town)
Alan Hutton (Released)
Mile Jedinak (Released)
Ross McCormack
Micah Richards (Released)
Glenn Whelan (Released)
Gary Gardner (Birmingham) Undisclosed 
Matija Sarkic (Livingston) Loan 
Jake Doyle-Hayes (Cheltenham Town) Loan 
Andre Green (Preston North End) Loan
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Tranmere Rovers) Loan
Scott Hogan (Stoke City) Loan
Birkir Bjarnason (Released)
James Bree (Luton Town) Loan

AFC Bournemouth

In
Lloyd Kelly (Bristol City)
Jack Stacey (Luton Town) Undisclosed
Philip Billing (Huddersfield Town) Undisclosed 
Arnaut Danjuma (Club Brugge) Undisclosed 
Harry Wilson (Liverpool) Loan

Out
Marc Pugh (Released)
Mikael Ndjoli (Gillingham) Loan
Emerson Hyndman (Atlanta United) Loan
Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) Undisclosed
Connor Mahoney (Millwall) Undisclosed
Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) Undisclosed
Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders) Loan 
Sam Surridge (Swansea City) Loan 
Harry Arter (Fulham) Loan

Brighton & Hove Albion

In
Matt Clarke (Portsmouth) Undisclosed
Leandro Trossard (Genk) Undisclosed
Taylor Richards (Man City) Undisclosed
Lewis Freestone (Unattached) Free
Adam Webster (Bristol City) Undisclosed
Neal Maupay (Brentford) Undisclosed
Romaric Yapi (PSG) Undisclosed
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town) Loan

Out
Bruno (Retired)
Will Collar (Hamilton Academical) Undisclosed
Alexis MacAllister (Boca Juniors) Loan
Ben White (Leeds United) Loan
Ales Mateju (Brescia Calcio) Undisclosed 
Leo Ostigard (FC St Pauli) Loan 
Anthony Knockaert (Fulham) Loan
Christian Walton (Blackburn) Loan
Jayson Molumby (Millwall) Loan
Robert Sanchez (Rochdale) Loan
Jan Mlakar (QPR) Loan
Viktor Gyokeres (St Pauli) Loan
Percy Tau (Club Brugge) Loan
Markus Suttner (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Undisclosed
Matt Clarke (Derby County) Loan

Burnley

In
Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Undisclosed
Joel Senior (Curzon Ashton) Undisclosed
Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) Undisclosed 
Ryan Cooney (Bury) Undisclosed
Adan Phillips (Free)
Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Leeds United) Undisclosed
Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea) Loan

Out
Jon Walters (Retired)
Stephen Ward (Stoke) Free 
Anders Lindegaard (Released)
Peter Crouch (Released) Retired
Mark Howarth (Released)
Tom Heaton (Aston Villa) Undisclosed
Nahki Wells (QPR) Loan

Chelsea

In
Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid) Undisclosed

Out
Gary Cahill (Crystal Palace) Free
Fankaty Dabo (Coventry City) Free
Rob Green (Retired)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) Undisclosed
Todd Kane (Released)
Ola Aina (Torino) Undisclosed
Nathan Baxter (Ross County) Loan
Richard Nartey (Burton Albion) Loan
Jay Dasilva (Bristol City) Undisclosed
Eduardo (Released)
Kyle Scott (Released)
Tomas Kalas (Bristol City) Undisclosed 
Mario Pasalic (Atalanta) Loan 
Charly Musonda (Vitesse Arnhem) Loan 
Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) Undisclosed
Nathan (Atletico Mineiro) Loan 
Daishawn Redan (Hertha Berlin) Loan
Ethan Ampadu (RB Leipzig) Loan
Jake Clarke-Salter (Birmingham City) Loan
Matt Miazga (Reading) Loan
Lewis Baker (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan
Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) Undisclosed
Dujon Sterling (Wigan Athletic) Loan
Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic) Loan 
Jacob Maddox (Tranmere Rovers) Loan
Trevoh Chalobah (Huddersfield Town) Loan
Danny Drinkwater (Burnley) Loan
Josh Grant (Plymouth) Loan
Izzy Brown (Luton Town) Loan

Crystal Palace

In
Stephen Henderson (Free) 
Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) Undisclosed
Gary Cahill (Unattached) Free 
Victor Camarasa (Real Betis) Loan 
James McCarthy (Everton) Undisclosed

Out
Jason Puncheon (Released)
Julian Speroni (Released) 
Bakary Sako (Denizlispor) Free
Ollie O’Dwyer (Aldershot) Free
Joseph Hungbo (Released)
Tyler Brown (Released)
Levi Lumeka (Varzim) Undisclosed
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd) Undisclosed
Alexander Sorloth (Trabzonspor) Loan 
Pape Souare (Troyes) Free

Everton

In 
Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town) Free
Andre Gomes (Barcelona) £22m 
Fabian Delph (Man City) Undisclosed
Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz) Undisclosed 
Moise Kean (Juventus) Undisclosed
Djibril Sidibe (Monaco) Loan
Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) Undisclosed

Out
Phil Jagielka (Sheffield Utd) Free
Ashley Williams (Released)
Harry Charsley (Released)
Boris Mathis (Released)
Mateusz Hewelt (Released)
Shayne Lavery (Released)
Jack Kiersey (Released)
Danny Bramall (Released)
Joe Hilton (Released)
Chris Renshaw (Released)
Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke) Loan
Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) Undisclosed
Sandro Ramirez (Real Valladolid) Loan
Brendan Galloway (Luton Town) Free
Korede Adedoyin (Hamilton Academical) Loan
Kieran Dowell (Derby) Loan
Joao Virginia (Reading) Loan
Luke Garbutt (Ipswich) Loan 
Antonee Robinson (Wigan) Undisclosed 
Josh Bowler (Hull) Loan 
Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig) Undisclosed 
Idrissa Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain) Undisclosed
Joe Williams (Wigan Athletic) Undisclosed
Nathan Broadhead (Burton Albion) Loan 
James McCarthy (Crystal Palace) Undisclosed
Matthew Pennington (Hull City) Loan

Leicester City

In 
James Justin (Luton Town) Undisclosed
Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United) Undisclosed 
Vontae Daley-Campbell (Arsenal) Undisclosed 
George Hirst (OH Leuvens) Undisclosed 
Ali Reghba (Bohemians) Undisclosed
Youri Tielemans (Monaco) Undisclosed
Mitchell Clark (Free)

Out
Shinji Okazaki (Malaga) Free
Danny Simpson (Released)
Daniel Iversen (Rotherham United) Loan
Elliot Moore (Oxford United) Undisclosed
Josh Knight (Peterborough United) Loan
Ryan Loft (Carlisle United) Loan
Harry Maguire (Man Utd) Undisclosed
Layton Ndukwu (Southend United) Loan
Callum Elder (Hull City) Undisclosed

Liverpool

In 
Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle) Undisclosed
Harvey Elliott (Fulham) Undisclosed
Adrian (Unattached) Free

Out
Alberto Moreno (Villarreal) Free
Daniel Sturridge (Released)
Connor Randall (Released)
Adam Bogdan (Released)
Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) Loan
Rafael Camacho (Sporting)
Marko Grujic (Hertha BSC) Loan
Danny Ings (Southampton) Undisclosed
Allan Rodrigues de Souza (Fluminense) Loan 
Kamil Grabara (Huddersfield Town) Loan
Ben Woodburn (Oxford United) Loan
Rhys Williams (Kidderminster Harriers) Loan
Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge) Undisclosed 
Taiwo Awoniyi (Mainz) Loan
Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) Loan 
Harry Wilson (AFC Bournemouth) Loan
Nathaniel Phillips (Stuttgart) Loan 
George Johnston (Feyenoord) Undisclosed
Ovie Ejaria (Reading) Loan

Manchester City

In
Angelino (PSV Eindhoven) Undisclosed
Rodri (Atletico Madrid) Undisclosed 
Joao Cancelo (Juventus) Undisclosed 
Scott Carson (Derby County) Loan

Out
Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht) Free
Patrick Roberts (Norwich City) Loan
Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford) Free
Aaron Nemane (Released)
Jack Harrison (Leeds United) Loan
Aro Muric (Nottingham Forest) Loan
Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan 
Fabian Delph (Everton) Undisclosed 
Philippe Sandler (Anderlecht) Loan
Taylor Richards (Brighton) Undisclosed
Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) Undisclosed
Yangel Herrera (Granada) Loan
Tosin Adarabioyo (Blackburn Rovers) Loan 
Danilo (Juventus) Undisclosed 

Manchester United

In
Daniel James (Swansea City) Undisclosed
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace) Undisclosed
Harry Maguire (Leicester City) Undisclosed

Out
Ander Herrera (PSG) Free 
Antonio Valencia (Released)
Matthew Olosunde (Released)
James Wilson (Released)
Regan Poole (Released)
Kieran O'Hara (Burton Albion) Loan
Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) Loan
Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) Undisclosed 

Newcastle United

In
Joelinton (Hoffenheim) Undisclosed
Kyle Scott (Unattached) Free
Jake Turner (Bolton Wanderers) Undisclosed
Jetro Willems (Eintracht Frankfurt) Loan
Allan Saint-Maximin (Nice) Undisclosed
Emil Krafth (Amiens) Undisclosed
Andy Carroll (Free) 

Out
Mohamed Diame (Released) 
Cal Roberts (Released) 
Josef Yarney (Released)
Tyrique Bartlett (Released)
Dan Barlaser (Rotherham United) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Leicester City) Undisclosed
Joselu (Alaves) Undisclosed
Liam Gibson (Grimsby Town) Loan
Freddie Woodman (Swansea City) Loan
Nathan Harker (Blyth Spartans) Loan
Jacob Murphy (Sheffield Wednesday) Loan

Norwich City

In 
Patrick Roberts (Man City) Loan
Daniel Adshead (Rochdale) Undisclosed
Josip Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach) Free 
Archie Mair (Aberdeen) Undisclosed
Rob Nizet (Anderlecht) Undisclosed
Rocky Bushiri (K.V. Oostende) Undisclosed 
Aidan Fitzpatrick (Partick Thistle) Undisclosed 
Ralf Fahrmann (Schalke) Undisclosed
Charlie Gilmour (Arsenal) Free
Sam Byram (West Ham) Undisclosed
Reece McAlear (Motherwell) Undisclosed
Ibrahim Amadou (Sevilla) Loan

Out 
Carlton Morris (Rotherham United) Loan
Mason Bloomfield (Crawley Town) Loan
Ciaren Jones (Eastbourne Borough) Loan
Josh Coley (Dunfermline Athletic) Loan
Marcel Franke (Hannover 96) Undisclosed
Sean Raggett (Portsmouth) Loan
Nelson Oliveira (AEK Athens)
Savvas Mourgos (Dordrecht) Loan
James Husband (Blackpool) Loan
Ben Marshall (Released) 
Rocky Bushiri (Blackpool) Loan
Diallang Jaiyesimi (Swindon Town) Loan
Aston Oxborough (Wealdstone) Loan

Sheffield United

In
Luke Freeman (QPR) Undisclosed
Phil Jagielka (Everton) Free
Callum Robinson (Preston) Undisclosed
Ravel Morrison Free
Lys Mousset (AFC Bournemouth) Undisclosed
Ben Osborn (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed
Dean Henderson (Manchester United) Loan
Oli McBurnie (Swansea City) Undisclosed
Michael Verrips (Free)

Out 
Paul Coutts (Released)
Martin Cranie (Released)
Conor Washington (Released)
Daniel Lafferty (Released)
Caolan Lavery (Released)
Nathan Thomas (Gillingham) Loan
Rhys Norrington-Davies (Rochdale) Loan 
Jake Eastwood (Scunthorpe) Loan 
Oliver Greaves (Barrow AFC) Loan
Tyler Smith (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Nathan Thomas (Carlisle United) Loan
Regan Slater (Scunthorpe United) Loan
Ched Evans (Fleetwood Town) Undisclosed
Mark Duffy (Stoke City) Loan

Southampton

In
Moussa Djenepo (Standard Liege) Undisclosed
Che Adams (Birmingham City) Undisclosed
Danny Ings (Liverpool) Undisclosed
Tommy Scott (Yeovil Town) Undisclosed

Out
Steven Davis (Rangers) Free
Matt Targett (Aston Villa) Undisclosed
Alfie Jones (Gillingham) Loan
Jack Rose (Walsall) Loan
Kingsley Latham (Havant and Waterlooville) Loan
Alex Cull (Totton) Loan
Harry Hamblin (Bath City) Loan
Jordy Clasie (AZ Alkmaar) Undisclosed
Tyreke Johnson (Woking) Loan 
Josh Sims (New York Red Bulls) Loan 
Charlie Austin (West Brom) Undisclosed
Harrison Reed (Fulham) Loan

Tottenham Hotspur

In
Kion Etete (Notts County) Undisclosed
Jack Clarke (Leeds) Undisclosed
Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon) Undisclosed
Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis) Loan 
Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) Undisclosed 

Out 
Michel Vorm (Released)
Dylan Duncan (Released)
Charlie Freeman (Released)
Tom Glover (Released)
Connor Ogilvie (Released)
Jamie Reynolds (Released)
Luke Amos (QPR) Loan
Jack Clarke (Leeds) Loan 
Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)
Vincent Janssen (Monterrey) Undisclosed 
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke) Loan
Josh Onomah (Fulham) Undisclosed

Watford

In 
Bayli Spencer-Adams (Free)
Craig Dawson (West Brom) Undisclosed
Tom Dele-Bashiru (Free)
Mason Barrett (West Ham) Undisclosed
Callum Whelan (Free) 
Danny Welbeck (Free) 
Ismaila Sarr (Rennes) Undisclosed 

Out
Obbi Oulare (Standard Liege) Undisclosed
Miguel Britos (Released)
Tommie Hoban (Released)
Jerome Sinclair (Venlo) Loan 
Michael Folivi (AFC Wimbledon) Loan 
Marc Navarro (Leganes) Loan
Ben Wilmot (Swansea City) Loan
Alex Jakubiak (Gillingham) Loan
Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha BSC) Undisclosed

West Ham United

In
Roberto (Espanyol) Free
David Martin (Millwall) Free
Pablo Fornals (Villarreal) Undisclosed
Sebastien Haller (Eintracht Frankfurt) Undisclosed
Goncalo Cardoso (Boavista) Undisclosed 
Albian Ajeti (FC Basel) Undisclosed

Out 
Adrian (Liverpool) Free
Andy Carroll (Newcastle) Free
Samir Nasri (Released)
Toni Martinez (Released)
Moses Makasi (Released) 
Lucas Perez (Alaves) Undisclosed
Noha Sylvestre (Released)
Vashon Neufville (Released)
Josh Pask (Coventry City) Free
Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz) Undisclosed
Nathan Trott (AFC Wimbledon) Loan 
Martin Samuelsen (FK Haugesund) Loan
Marko Arnautovic (Shanghai SIPG) Undisclosed
Sam Byram (Norwich City) Undisclosed 
Pedro Obiang (Sassuolo) Undisclosed
Marcus Browne (Middlesbrough) Undisclosed
Jordan Hugill (QPR) Loan
Reece Oxford (Augsburg) Undisclosed
Mason Barrett (Watford) Undisclosed
Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic) Loan
Grady Diangana (West Brom) Loan

Wolverhampton Wanderers

In
Raul Jimenez (Benfica) Undisclosed
Hong (Yeovil Town) Undisclosed
Raphael Nya (PSG) Undisclosed
Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht) Undisclosed
Tsun Dai (Oxford United) Undisclosed
Jesus Vallejo (Real Madrid) Loan
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan) Undisclosed
Flavio Cristovao Free
Pedro Neto (Braga) Undisclosed
Bruno Jordao (Braga) Undisclosed
Renat Dadashov (Estoril) Undisclosed

Out 
Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed
Michal Zyro (Released)
Carlos Heredia (Released)
Ben Goodliffe (Released)
Aaron Hayden (Released)
Diego Lattie (Released)
Enzo Sauvage (Released)
Christian Herc (Viktoria Plzen) Loan
Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) Undisclosed
Ryan Giles (Shrewsbury Town) Loan
Pedro Goncalves (FC Famalicao) Undisclosed
Joao Dias (FC Famalicao) Undisclosed
Helder Costa (Leeds) Loan
Ryan Leak (Burgos) Undisclosed
Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) Loan
Rafa Mir (Nottingham Forest) Loan
Will Norris (Ipswich Town) Loan
Niall Ennis (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
Cameron John (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
Renat Dadashov (Pacos de Ferreira) Loan
Bright Enobakhare (Wigan) Loan

Chelsea defender Rudiger to undergo exploratory knee surgery

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Maurizio Sarri may be rueing a risk he took with Chelsea battling for a Champions League place.

Antonio Rudiger is reportedly in Rome to undergo exploratory surgery to discover the extent of a knee injury he suffered over the weekend against Manchester United, and there are concerns his season is almost certainly over. The fear is meniscus damage, which could see him sidelined for around eight weeks.

Rudiger had been out with a knee injury after coming off 40 minutes into the 2-0 loss to Liverpool in early April. The German international was subsequently sidelined for the Europa League matchup against Slavia Prague plus the ensuing Premier League match against Burnley, but Sarri decided he needed Rudiger for the run-in to the Premier League season with Champions League play on the line, bringing him back for the game at Old Trafford.

The defender made it through 65 minutes before collapsing in real pain, and now goes under the knife with just three weeks remaining on the campaign. It would be tough to see Rudiger return unless the results came back overwhelmingly positive, at the very least missing this week’s Europa League semifinal against Eintracht Frankfurt plus the weekend’s league meeting with Watford.

That leaves Andreas Christensen as the partner to David Luiz at the back, with Sarri potentially forced to bring Gary Cahill back into the fold on the bench. Cahill has been a complete afterthought all season, playing just 23 Premier League minutes back in late September. The other option is 18-year-old academy product Ethan Ampadu who joined from Exeter City’s youth setup two years ago.

What is going wrong at Chelsea? What next for Sarri?

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Chelsea’s 6-0 hammering at Manchester City on Sunday was their heaviest defeat in the Premier League era.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned

Just six months into his time in charge at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is under severe pressure and many are calling for the Italian coach to be fired as his famed “Sarri-ball” has failed to catch on so far in his first season in England.

Despite all of their issues Chelsea remain just one point off the top four, but Sarri knows the next few weeks are pivotal if he’s going to be given time to make this a success.

Do Chelsea fire yet another manager during the season to spark their squad into life? Does Sarri need to show more tactical flexibility?

Below we take a look at the key factors behind Chelsea’s slump in recent months and how Sarri can turn things around.


Jorginho overpowered, Kante out of position
This is the key problem for Chelsea. Jorginho has been found out in the Premier League, badly. His range of passing is superb, but the best teams can shut him down easily if they press him high. Jorginho’s ability as a deep-lying playmaker is key to Sarri-ball working and the fact he hasn’t got N'Golo Kante alongside him to protect him is another reason why Chelsea are so easy to break down right now. In their last three away games (all defeats) they’ve now conceded 12 goals and scored zero. Kante is the player who is often making runs into the box and it makes no sense to turn the greatest defensive midfielder on the planet into an attacking midfielder. Sarri needs to take Jorginho out of the line of fire, put Kante back in holding midfield and try to shield his porous defense. He isn’t going to do this. But he should.


Eden Hazard isn’t bothered
With his future at Chelsea still in doubt, it is quite clear Eden Hazard isn’t the leader this team in a rut needs. He tried his best away at Man City, but failed to help out Marcos Alonso on the first goal and is not known for digging deep and doing defensive work at the best of times. Hazard’s mind seems like it is somewhere else and that’s a real shame. At times this season he has been unstoppable. But in other spells he has been unspectacular. Chelsea need Hazard to make up his mind on his future, and fast, because he just isn’t focused. Without him in top form they will not finish in the top four.


Replace Alonso, Luiz now
In recent weeks the duo of Marcos Alonso and David Luiz have put in some horrendous displays. But they still start every game. That can’t happen. Emerson Palmeri should now play over Alonso, while Andreas Christensen or Gary Cahill should be given the chance to replace Luiz. Both Alonso and Luiz love to attack, score goals and deep down believe they should be strikers. First and foremost they need to defend and they just aren’t doing that like they did in Conte’s first season in charge. The hammering at Man City has to be the final straw for Luiz and Alonso under Sarri and if this doesn’t force him to hand chances to Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu, what will?


Further backing for Maurizio Sarri needed
It is clear that Chelsea’s model of hiring and firing managers has worked over the past decade. The trophy cabinet says so. But the one constant throughout all of the sackings was that a squad of elite, opinionated players remained. It often came down to this: if the players wanted to player for the manager they would. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t. As we saw with the core of this squad, they threw in the towel for Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte once they were bored of their defensive tactics. Conte said while he was still at Chelsea that this squad needed a huge overhaul and that is crystal clear. He was spot on. This isn’t a Chelsea squad with Drogba, Lampard and Terry, characters who can keep the DNA of the side and win trophies no matter who is in charge.

Conte’s achievement of winning the PL and the FA Cup over his two campaigns in charge is looking better by the day. If Chelsea truly want to usher in Sarri-Ball they must give their manager the players he needs to suit his style. Christian Pulisic might be able do that, but Sarri’s other key additions Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho seem unable to cope with the demands of the Premier League. A huge clearout is needed. Not just shipping out Alvaro Morata on loan and bringing in Higuain on loan. 10-12 players need to leave this summer if Sarri remains in charge.

The vast majority of this squad isn’t capable of playing the way he wants, and that’s something which will not change overnight. Sarri said he will happily chat with Roman Abramovich in the coming days, but admitted that he doesn’t really speak to him. Is that an admission that he wants to clear up the big issue here: how much do Chelsea really want Sarri to remain in charge? Right now both Sarri and the club seem ambivalent about seeing this out.

Willian scores 2, Higuain starts as Chelsea tops Sheffield Wednesday

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
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Willian scored twice and Callum Hudson-Odoi also scored as Chelsea beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 on Sunday to advance to the FA Cup Round of 16.

The early stages of the match included two awarded penalties, though only one would make it to the spot thanks to Video Assistant Referee.

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Joey Pelupessy kicked Ethan Ampadu‘s back leg and was awarded a penalty by Andre Marriner, but VAR reversed the decision.

Less than three minutes later, Sam Hutchinson took down Cesar Azpilicueta in the box with a clumsy tackle, and Willian had no problem with his effort to make it 1-0.

Hudson-Odoi made it 2-0 when he coolly collected an Andreas Christensen pass and cut inside to double the advantage.

Then Willian made it pretty with his second, taking a flick from Olivier Giroud and curling a vicious strike off the far post and into the goal.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.