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Transfer rumor roundup: Wilson, Paredes to Chelsea; Babel to Fulham

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Chelsea continue to be linked with multiple strikers and midfielders as Maurizio Sarri aims to keep their top four challenge on track.

With Cesc Fabregas sold to Monaco, Alvaro Morata linked with a move away in January and Sarri is desperate need of a new presence in attack, The Star say that Bournemouth will accept offers of $95 million for star striker Callum Wilson. It was believed Chelsea are willing to pay up to $75 million for Wilson.

Wilson, 26, has recently broken into the England national team and has scored 10 times this season for the Cherries as his remarkable return to form after two major knee injuries has been wonderful to see. His ability to make clever runs in-behind and hold up the ball will no doubt suit Eden Hazard down to the ground, and it will give Sarri something he doesn’t have as Morata and Olivier Giroud are statuesque in comparison to Wilson.

West Ham and Wolves are also said to be in the hunt for Wilson, but Bournemouth will surely only sell him to Chelsea as Eddie Howe and the hierarchy at the club must accept the magnitude of this move for a player who battled his way through the lower leagues to the top of the game.


Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Zenit midfielder Leandro Paredes, with the Argentine causing quite a stir on social media.

He appeared to retweet a video saying ‘welcome to Chelsea’ before undoing that action, but Sarri has been clear he wants his club to sign a replacement for Fabregas and Paredes, 24, would fit the bill.

The Boca Juniors product is a playmaker in the Fabregas mold and although this may not be good news for Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek, it is believed Chelsea have made a $35 million bid for Paredes and the deal is moving forward. Nicolo Barella is another target but he is believed to want to stay at Cagliari, so all eyes are on Paredes who will give Chelsea an alternative to Jorginho as a deep-lying playmaker.


Staying in west London, Fulham appear to be closing in on a loan move for Dutch winger Ryan Babel.

De Telegraaf say that Babel will arrive at Craven Cottage initially on loan until the end of the season, as Claudio Ranieri needs help for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle in attack as Fulham battle against relegation.

The former Liverpool winger, now 32 years old, has had a resurgence in recent months and has found himself back in the Dutch national team as well as scoring 22 goals in 62 games for Turkish side Besiktas since he arrived in Istanbul in 2017.

Babel is a lively character and someone who will help to lift any gloom building at Fulham, but his nomadic career since he left Liverpool suggests this is a gamble. Given the situation the Cottagers are in, it is probably one worth taking.

Sarri: Chelsea fell asleep after first goal, but woke up just in time

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Chelsea went from in complete control, to thoroughly deserving to concede an equalizer after falling asleep, to waking back up and taking their deserved victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 22 ]

That’s how Blues boss Maurizio Sarri saw it, at least.

After going 1-0 ahead through Pedro in the 9th minute, Chelsea “slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half [they] were in trouble,” in Sarri’s words. Newcastle were able to find their footing and work their way back to 1-1 in the 40th minute. Smart money is on Sarri reading his players the Riot Act at halftime, thus the post-game criticism as well as the strong response in the second half — quotes from the Guardian:

“After the goal I think we thought, ‘Now it’s easy,’ but it wasn’t. We slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half we were in trouble. We need to improve in the mental reaction. After our first goal something happened. We need to improve.

Presumably related to his side’s up-and-down showing, Sarri also jumped at the chance to campaign for reinforcements during the January transfer window. With Cesc Fabregas leaving to join Monaco this week, central midfield is the first area Sarri would like to see strengthened, but he isn’t so sure he’ll get what he wants — quotes from the Standard:

“Today Jorginho was in trouble and, on the bench, there wasn’t a player for that position. I need an option for Jorginho.”

“I have no idea. …The club knows very well my opinion.

“I need the player there, it depends on the club decision, I think. I cannot do anything more.”

Premier League Roundup: Chelsea-Bayern negotiations at a standstill, Blues offer Morata, and more

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Negotiations between Chelsea and Bayern Munich are reportedly at a standstill over a transfer clause.

As Bayern Munich continues to push to sign young English winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea has insisted that the transfer agreement include a buy-back clause, according to The Times of London. Hudson-Odoi, possibly seeing the path to the first team at Chelsea blocked by veteran players, has reportedly decided his development would do best in Germany, even at the biggest club in the nation.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

The report states that Chelsea has requested the buy-back clause after missing out on Romelu Lukaku and having to pay well above market value for Nemanja Matic. This clause could have helped Chelsea also bring back players like Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne after both of them left Chelsea on transfers.

At this point, with all the pressure from Bayern and Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea will eventually agree on a deal. It’s just a matter of it coming for a deal in the summer, or whether the star young English winger will leave this month.

Here are some more notes from around the Premier League:

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Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Newcastle

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  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back) is unavailable but Alvaro Morata (hamstring) is expected to be fit to face Newcastle.
  • Chelsea have only lost one of its 23 Premier League home matches against Newcastle
  • Salomon Rondon has scored Newcastle’s last three away goals in the Premier League.

The last in a full day of matches comes Saturday afternoon as Chelsea hosts former coach Rafa Benitez and Newcastle (12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com).

The Blues are coming off a surprise scoreless draw with Southampton while Newcastle are winless in their last four. The winds are swirling at Chelsea as Cesc Fabregas departed and Callum Hudson-Odoi is a big transfer target of Bayern Munich, though Chelsea has so far refused to accept any bids for the talented 18-year-old.

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Alvaro Morata could be fit to play, but one wonders if Maurizio Sarri will go with Eden Hazard in the false nine role again. At the same time, Newcastle has plenty of injuries to deal with, and three players just coming back off the sidelines. It will be a big loss to replace Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on his team’s scoring problems: “We need to score. We need to solve this problem. In the last match we played very well, with continuity and with a very good offensive and defensive phase, and with a great performance from a physical point of view – the best of the season – but we didn’t score. We have to work and try to solve it as soon as possible.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on focusing his team against Chelsea: ”We have to realize where we are and we have to realize the only way forward is to stay united. We can’t waste too much energy. The idea last year when we were back in the Premier League was to be united. You have to realize that this is a big city and massive club.”


Prediction

Chelsea may be struggling to score goals, but Newcastle are in a relegation fight. Even without much of a striker, Chelsea should still have enough talent and firepower up top to win. Plus, with so many players out injured for Newcastle, the challenge grows even more for the visitors. Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle

Barca back for Willian? Malcom swap rumored for Chelsea

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Well this is just weird.

A Sky Sports report says that Chelsea and Barcelona could swap Willian and Malcom, mere months after the Blues reportedly rebuffed Barca bids for the elder Brazilian.

[ MORE: Neymar wants Barca return ]

Chelsea turned down a $70 million bid for Willian in the summer, and Barcelona opted for Bordeaux winger Malcom to the tune of $47m.

The 21-year-old right wing has only played 363 minutes for Barca, however, scoring only two goals while suffering a pair of short-term injuries.

Willian, 30, is probably not a big part of Maurizio Sarri‘s plans, although he’s been used plenty by the Italian. Willian has four goals and six assists in 31 matches this season, but has one year left on his contract after this season.

It seems a leap unless Chelsea is bargaining on using the Europa League to reach the Champions League next season. The Blues splashed major cash on Christian Pulisic for a summer arrival, and it is risky to expect Malcom to return to his exceptional Ligue 1 ways via a third league in less than a year.

Color us extremely skeptical. Also, Willian? Extremely good.