Mateo Kovacic

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Chelsea, Man United set to battle for Soumare

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Chelsea and Manchester United will battle it out to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare in the January transfer window.

Our partners at Sky Sports report that Soumare will not be asked to make a decision before Lille’s game against PSG on Jan. 26 about where he will move and add that he will be the only Lille star to be sold this month.

The reported transfer fee for Soumare is in the region of $45 million and he is the latest star to be produced by Lille, as the former PSG academy product has made a name for himself in France’s top-flight. Per the report, Man United and Chelsea have both held talks with Soumare about a move.

Soumare, 20, is a box-to-box midfielder who played his part in their run to the second place in Ligue 1 last season and their qualification to the UEFA Champions League and he’s particularly flourished this season.

Arsenal, Real Madrid and Valencia were all interested in signing Soumare but two Premier League giants have jumped ahead of the pack and both are in need of midfield reinforcements.

Man United’s need for a box-to-box central midfielder is perhaps greater than Chelsea’s as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay out injured, while Fred and Nemanja Matic are his other central midfield options.

As for Chelsea, they have N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in that area of the pitch and unless they plan on selling Kante, Frank Lampard is pretty set for midfield options.

Soumare, a French U21 international, has been praised for his defensive abilities and if United’s plan is to continue to sign young talent, then develop them into stars by giving them opportunities in the first team, signing Soumare would slot in well with their new philosophy. It’s also handy as they a need for a new midfielder alongside McTominay, as well as Fred has stepped up in recent months.

Chelsea records $128-million loss, turnover up

Frank Lampards on Chelsea draw and Zaha links
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LONDON — Chelsea has recorded a loss of $128 million for the year ending June 30.

[ MORE: Mourinho was “rude to an idiot”; talks injuries, transfers ]

The loss was revealed Tuesday in the Premier League club’s latest financial results.

After two profitable years, Chelsea insisted it’s still compliant with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

The club cited a lack of Champions League football, costs associated with changing manager and a record outlay on players Kepa Arrizabalaga, Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho for the loss.

Turnover grew slightly to $592 million.

[ MORE: Solskjaer: Pogba “out for a few weeks” with ankle injury ]

“Consistent revenue growth and careful financial management over recent seasons has allowed the club to make significant levels of investment in the playing staff whilst maintaining compliance with UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations,” Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said on chelseafc.com.

“This has contributed to another Europa League victory at the end of the 2018-19 season and a return to the highest level of European competition.

“This solid commercial foundation, allied to a young and exciting team now led by Frank Lampard, means that the club is well placed to sustain its pursuit of success both on and off the pitch as well as maintain its financial stability over the coming years.”

Chelsea made a $82 million profit in the previous year.

Pulisic Watch: Chelsea’s American star shines in Champions League (video)

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Christian Pulisic played 62 strong minutes for Chelsea in what should be its Champions League knockout round-clinching defeat of Lille on Tuesday.

Pulisic was removed for Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 62nd minute after setting up numerous chances and playing a pivotal role in one of the goals as Chelsea built a 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Here are the moments that mattered for the American winger, who passed at 82 percent efficiency in taking two shots, one on target. He was credited with three key passes and won 10 of 18 duels, making a tackle and drawing a foul.

After not playing the first two group stage match days, Pulisic finishes with a goal and two assists in 264 minutes (three starts, one sub spot).

He’s been operating like some sort of final third midfield shuttler, and it’s incredible. He’s still just 21.

3rd minute: Tammy Abraham couldn’t find Pulisic with an early flick, the torrential rain wreaking havoc on the football.

10th minute: The American winger dribbles into the box and spins a left-footed shot across goal but wide of the far post.

18th minute: Cuts out of a tight space to start a 1-2 with N’Golo Kante, but the Frenchman’s effort is blocked and Tammy Abraham lashed wide.

19th minute: GOAL. It’s a hockey assist for Pulisic, who dribbles through the 18 before finding Willian. The Brazilian drove the touch line and cut back for an Abraham’s tap-in.

31st minute: Drives the ball toward the arc and begins interplay with Abraham and Mateo Kovacic that ultimately ends with the American on the turf and no foul given.

34th minute: Pulisic dribbles through two defenders and past two more to cut a ball into the six, which is cleared out for a corner.

46th minute: Chelsea fires out of the break, with Pulisic forcing a strong parry out of Mike Maignan before the goalkeeper collects the American’s cross 30 seconds later.

48th minute: Earns a free kick five yards outside the 18 after running onto a Kovacic through ball.

55th minute: Zips onto a Willian pass to the end line but has little option than to slap a wild shot that hits the cross bar.

57th minute: Gets the ball at the same acute angle and rips in a cross which eventually becomes an Azpilicueta shot over the bar a few moves later.

62nd minute: Subs off moments after cueing up a chance for Abraham, which was blocked. We’ve reached the point where he’s being removed in order to rest him for the weekend.

Fired up Everton shock Chelsea

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Everton beat Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday as the Toffees reacted superbly to manager Marco Silva being fired in midweek.

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Goals early in each half from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin set them on their way to a massive three points for Everton as Chelsea wasted several glorious chances. Mateo Kovacic grabbed their lone goal to make it interesting, but Calvert-Lewin scored late on amid glorious celebrations from caretaker boss, and former Everton star striker, Duncan Fergsuon.

With the win Everton momentarily move out of the bottom three and have 17 points, while Chelsea lost for the second time in the last three PL games and remain in fourth but may only be three points clear of fifth-place a the end of the weekend.


3 things we learned

1. Ferguson’s bravery pays off: As a player Duncan Ferguson was totally committed and Everton’s caretaker boss received a performance from his players which would have made him proud. He set Everton up in an aggressive 4-4-2 formation with plenty of attacking talents and it worked. Chelsea couldn’t get out of their own half early in each half, and strong, committed defending rattled the Blues. Everton showed signs that Ferguson may be the man they’ve been looking for. He certainly fired up their talented but recently lackluster squad.

2. Clean sheets biggest issue for Chelsea: Four clean sheets in 24 games in all competitions this season isn’t good enough for a team which wants to finish in the top four. Frank Lampard had a face like thunder when Everton went 2-0 up as Chelsea were their own worst enemies time and time again. No team in the PL’s top 10 have conceded more goals than Chelsea so far this season. Tomori and Rudiger were missed as Christensen and Zouma were bullied by Everton’s attack. It’s a familiar story for Chelsea.

3. Physicality too much for Pulisic: He’s had an incredible few months for Chelsea but Pulisic was clearly targeted by the Everton defense on Saturday. The USMNT winger was clattered time and time again and was left on the floor on many occasions. He battled hard but was given no time or space on the ball. He will now be receiving special treatment like this every time he steps on the pitch in the PL.

Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – A real handful for the Chelsea defense as he battered them and scored twice. Led the line superbly and imitated what Duncan Fergsuon used to do. Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic scored a really good goal and ran the show in central midfield and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing team, but this was DLC’s day.


The Toffees got off to a perfect start as Richarlison scored with the first meaningful effort of the game.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin set up the move and ball was pushed to the right where Djibril Sidibe crossed for Richarlison to head home. Goodison went wild as Big Duncan Ferguson galloped down the touchline in celebration.

The Toffees almost doubled their lead as Theo Walcott crossed for Richarlison but the Brazilian couldn’t quite get on the end of it. Soon after Calvert-Lewin had a great chance but he never looked confident as Kepa saved it.

Chelsea were almost handed a way back into the game as Michael Keane gave the ball away inside his own box but Tammy Abraham and Willian failed to make the most of a glorious opportunity.

Pulisic then nutmegged Gylfi Sigurdsson to set up Willian who crossed for Abraham but Chelsea’s leading goalscorer couldn’t convert as the visitors finally woke up with Mason Mount crossing moments later but Abraham couldn’t get on the end of it. Mason Holgate then blocked Mount’s shot as Everton battened down the hatches.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The second half continued at the same incredible tempo as Everton doubled their lead within a few minutes after having a couple of chances. Kurt Zouma‘s clearance caused havoc in his own box and Calvert-Lewin won the ball back and slotted home. Pandemonium at Goodison as VAR checked and confirmed there was no handball by DLC.

Moments later Everton almost made it 3-0 but Richarlison’s effort was saved by Kepa, and then Chelsea were back in it.

Azpilicueta’s run into the box saw the ball eventually find Kovacic on the edge of the box and his shot towards goal went in. VAR checked that Abraham hadn’t interfered from an offside position and he goal stood.

The chances kept coming for both teams as Everton were eager to put the game to bed as Walcott raced clear but Kepa saved at the near post.

Chelsea looked in control as the final moments arrived as the excellent Kovacic ran at goal but smashed just wide and then Mount blazed a great opportunity high and wide after Kovacic again pulled the strings.

Substitute Tom Davies got his header all wrong as Everton tried to wrap up the victory, with Jordan Pickford brilliantly denying Azpilicueta at the other end.

Calvert-Lewin then bundled home as Ferguson ran down the sidelines amid jubilant scenes as an Everton hero secured a massive win on his managerial debut.

Chelsea transfer ban reduced after appeal

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Chelsea will be able to sign new players in January after their transfer ban from FIFA was reduced to one transfer window after their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.

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The Blues had previously been banned for two transfer windows, summer 2019 and winter 2020, for 150 rule breaches involving 69 academy players over a period of several years, but they will now be able to sign new players from Jan. 1 when the next transfer window opens.

Despite having the ban reduced, Chelsea are far from happy with world soccer’s governing body as they released a scathing statement slamming FIFA’s handling of the situation.

“The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea. We respect the importance of the work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation. However, if FIFA continues to impose inconsistent and unequal sanctions on clubs then it will not only undermine the very purpose of the regulations, but it will also bring into doubt the game’s confidence in FIFA being able to appropriately regulate this important area.”

They went on to add a bit more detail about why they were so angry at being banned from signing new players for one window.

“FIFA accused Chelsea of having breached Article 19 of the FIFA regulations in relation to 27 players, covering the period from 2009 onwards. Of those, 16 players were registered by Chelsea in exactly the same way as other Premier League clubs registered players at the time. Furthermore, Chelsea sought clarification from the Premier League in 2009 about whether it needed to apply for permission to register players in this category. The FA subsequently liaised with FIFA and it was confirmed to Chelsea that players in this category were entitled to register and that no special application was required (and in fact no special application process existed). Accordingly, the fact that FIFA brought charges against Chelsea for this category of player was perverse. We are grateful that this appears to have been corrected by the CAS.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was obviously delighted with the outcome, as he can now reinforce his young squad and has plenty of cash in the bank after a no-spend summer (the deal for Christian Pulisic was sealed last January and Mateo Kovacic arrived permanently after his loan move saw a clause triggered which made it a permanent move).

“It’s a positive outcome for us,” Lampard said. “It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward. So I’m pleased from a footballing level. It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it.”

Which areas should Chelsea strengthen in now they can buy again? And which players will be their top targets?

It is clear that left back is an area where Lampard will want to add a new starter as both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri are fine as back ups neither have made the position their own this season. Up top is another key location where Lampard will look to strengthen as Olivier Giroud seems to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge and that would leave just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as the options at center forward.

Elsewhere, Chelsea look pretty set, although a new center back could be handy but isn’t necessary given the fact that Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have both been superb for most of this season and Andreas Christensen is also around with Cesar Azpilicueta also able to slot in at center back with Reece James developing well at right back.

After 12 months without spending and having transfer fees from the sale of Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Tomas Kalas and many other fringe players which brought in an incredible $180 million, Lampard will have money to spend.

Chelsea have been linked with moves for Jadon Sancho, Wilfried Zaha, Nathan Ake and Ben Chilwell, among many others, as plenty of star players will fancy a move to Stamford Bridge given Lampard’s promising start to life as their manager.

The big question now is: Given Chelsea’s great start to the season as they sit in the top four with their young team progressing together as a group, do they risk bringing in new additions to potential upset the team spirit? Is it better to wait until the summer when the likes of Pedro and Giroud, and maybe Willian, could all leave Stamford Bridge?