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Reports: Chelsea edging closer to signing Higuain

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The transfer window appears to be heating up as we head towards the close in the next two weeks, with the first of many dominoes about to fall.

According to The Telegraph and reports out of Italy, Chelsea have now made an official offer to Juventus for Gonzalo Higuain, who is currently on-loan with AC Milan. If confirmed, the report states that Chelsea will effectively take over Higuain’s loan for six months, and then the Premier League side will have the option to keep Higuain on loan for another 12 months or buy him outright.

[READ: Derby County stuns Southampton in FA Cup]

Higuain and Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri have history, as Higuain had arguably his best club season under the Italian manager at Napoli. Higuain scored 36 goals in Serie A, by far the top scorer in the league in 2016, which led to a $102.6 million move north to Juventus. However, it’s been an up and down time in the North of Italy for the Argentine. He scored 24 goals with Juve in his first year with the club but finished with just 16 last year before the Italian giants signed Cristiano Ronaldo, which effectively meant Higuain had to look for a new home.

News that a deal is close to completion is a big turnaround from a few weeks back, when even as Higuain struggled at Milan, the two sides didn’t seem close to breaking apart, and Juventus reportedly was insistent on recouping some of their transfer fee. However, following the Italian Super Cup on Wednesday, it appears both sides are ready to move on.

Higuain coming to Chelsea may be the first domino to fall. With Sarri getting his preferred striker, that frees up Alvaro Morata to return to his native Spain, although he’s reportedly set to join Atletico Madrid, instead of his former side Real Madrid. In addition, Chelsea has been shopping Michy Batshuayi, the top target for AS Monaco, where he would reunite with Thierry Henry, his former assistant coach with the Belgian National Team. The Telegraph reported that Chelsea wanted to recoup some of the $51.5 million it spent on Batshuayi but at this point, it’s looking more likely that he’ll move to Monaco on-loan or for a cut-rate fee, with his current loan to Valencia likely to be terminated shortly.

In Italy, the next domino to fall is Genoa’s Krzysztof Piątek, who is set to take Higuain’s place at AC Milan. Piatek has been the revelation of Serie A this season, with the Polish international scoring 13 Serie A goals in 19 games, just one goal behind Ronaldo. It’s unclear what the transfer fee will be for Genoa – Piatek joined the club last summer – but it’s likely to be a big one considering the premium on goals these days.

Once Higuain moves and the dominoes fall, we’ll see how it affects the rest of the Premier League, with other players becoming available as the transfer window enters its final weeks.

Would Martins swap help Atleti land Chelsea’s Morata?

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Atletico Madrid hopes to offload two under performers in the January transfer window, with at least one of them serving as a make good in a loan deal for Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata.

Atleti is without former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, and Diego Simeone sees something he likes in the misfiring Morata.

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But the Atleti boss would need to come up with something additional for Morata aside from a $4 million loan fee, according to several reports.

Would the Blues accept either Nikola Kalinic or Gelson Martins in order to rid themselves of their Spanish striker?

Martins fits the Chelsea profile more, a 23-year-old attack-minded midfielder and winger, as Kalinic at 31 is a season-and-a-half removed from his last double-digit goal campaign.

Martins had 10 goals and nine assists for Sporting Lisbon last season.

Report: Atletico Madrid in talks to sign Morata

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Alvaro Morata’s tough time at Chelsea could be over very soon.

Sky Sports are reporting that Morata, 26, could be heading back to his native Spain on loan in January with Atletico Madrid eager to snap up the Spanish international striker.

Per the report, Atletico are in talks with Chelsea to complete the signing as Morata will return to the club where he began his career as a youth team player. Chelsea want a $12 million loan fee for the rest of the see with an obligation to buy Morata in the summer, as the player also earns $12 million per year at Chelsea.

It is believed he is willing to take a pay cut to return to Spain.

Following his $90 million club-record move from Real Madrid to Chelsea in the summer of 2017, Morata has failed to find consistent form and just hasn’t settled into life in the Premier League.

Morata has scored 16 goals in 47 PL appearances for Chelsea, but just five of them have come this season as he’s warmed the bench in recent months and has looked increasingly unhappy.

With Morata and Olivier Giroud sitting on the bench in recent weeks in favor of playing Eden Hazard as a false nine, Maurizio Sarri has made his feelings on the duo crystal clear.

Chelsea continued to be linked with moves for Callum Wilson, Gonzalo Higuain and other strikers in January, as they look to beef up their attack for the pivotal final few months of the campaign as their place in the top four remains in jeopardy.

As for Morata, he hasn’t been short of suitors despite his patchy form at Stamford Bridge as Sevilla, Barcelona and Atletico have been keen to sign him.

Heading to Atletico is a smart move for everyone concerned, as he will aid their La Liga title push in the second half of the season and he can also play in the UEFA Champions League as he hasn’t played in that competition for Chelsea this season.

With Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann to split minutes with, it will be tough, but  it seems like Morata fancies a return home after 18 months in England. Plus, former Chelsea striker Costa has scored just once in 11 league appearances for Atleti this season as he’s struggled with injuries.

This move works out well for everyone.

Petr Cech to retire at end of season

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Legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced he will retire at the end of the 2018-19 season.

The current Arsenal stopper, 36, is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Premier League history as he has won trophies at Arsenal and Chelsea during his 15-year career in England’s top-flight.

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Cech has the most clean sheets in PL history, holds the record for the must shutouts in a single season (24 in 2004-05) and made 494 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions.

He also won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, a UEFA Champions League trophy, a Europa League title and two Community Shields during his 11-year stay at Chelsea. Cech has also won an FA Cup and Community Shield during his four seasons at Arsenal.

Cech is the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to win the PL’s Golden Glove with two different clubs, while he was also the quickest to reach 100 clean sheets (180 games). He is also the most capped player for the Czech Republic national team with 124 outings, a huge chunk of them as captain.

He announced Tuesday that he will call time on his career at the end of the current campaign and posted the following statement.

His status as a legend of the game is secured, even if he has lost his place as a regular starter for Arsenal this season following Bernd Leno‘s arrival in the summer.

Cech arrived at Chelsea in 2004 from French side Rennes and was an immediate star for Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea.

He has also had some tough times to get through in England, as he fractured his skull in a game against Reading in 2006 and has worn a protective helmet ever since.

Cech also lost his place at Chelsea to Thibaut Courtois in 2014 and then moved to Arsenal in the summer of 2015, even though it became clear he would have rather seen his playing days out at Stamford Bridge.

In his spare time he plays the drums, while he can also speak Czech, English, Spanish, French and German.

It is safe to say Cech is one of the greatest goalkeepers the world has ever seen and we will see him stay in the game in some capacity for many years to come.

Report: Chelsea will only sell Hazard for $127 million

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Chelsea may be prepared to let Eden Hazard leave this summer, but not unless they receive a substantial transfer fee.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Chelsea will only sell Hazard for upwards of $127 million. Hazard has long been rumored to make a move to Real Madrid, but although he’s in the last year and a half of his contract, Chelsea appear prepared to lose him for free than for a small fee.

The 28-year-old Belgian winger has had a terrific season, with ten goals and ten assists through 18 Premier League games this season. With Christian Pulisic coming in to the club in the summer, it could be a sign that Chelsea are looking to cash in on all of Hazard’s value.

However, it could just be a game of hardball between Chelsea and Real Madeid, raising the bar so that eventually they can meet in the middle.

In the meantime, Chelsea will continue to enjoy Hazard’s terrific talent, and see if they can make a push back into the UEFA Champions League.