Chris Richards
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European giants eye Bayern’s American center back

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A report in Germany says four of the world’s biggest clubs are looking at FC Dallas export and Bayern Munich II defender Chris Richards.

Two of those clubs play in the Premier League, the others are from La Liga.

Richards celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday and was set to star in the U.S. Olympic team should it had qualified for Tokyo 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic changed the schedule.

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Bild claims that Arsenal, Chelsea, Valencia, and Barcelona are monitoring Richards, who also plays right back.

Three of the four have experience with Americans in the fold, including current Chelsea man Christian Pulisic and budding Barcelona starlet Konrad de la Fuente. Gedion Zelalem was a highly-touted Arsenal prospect and now plays with New York City FC.

The report also speculates that it will not be too long before Richards gets called into regular training with the first team, noting that Richards went 45 minutes in January against for Bayern’s first team.

Richards has started 22 of 23 matches for Bayern II, scoring twice and playing nearly 2000 minutes. Bayern II sits seventh, six points back of leaders MSV Duisburg.

The pathway to Valencia’s first team might be a bit easier to walk, but Richards will have a big battle to get into the first teams of all of the aforementioned teams. Staying with Bayern may make the most sense.

Chelsea’s Willian eager to stay in Premier League

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Chelsea and Brazil star Willian has revealed he is eager to stay in the Premier League, even if that’s not with Chelsea.

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Willian, 31, has revealed that contract talks have stopped for now during the suspension for the coronavirus pandemic, and his future is uncertain as his current deal at Chelsea expires this summer.

The likes of Tottenham and Arsenal have been linked with a move for Willian, who almost joined Spurs in 2013 but instead joined Chelsea in a last-second change of heart.

Willian told ESPN Brazil  that he wants to stay in the Premier League and he feels he is now at his peak.

“My wish is to stay in the Premier League, but I’m not ruling out playing in other leagues,” Willian said. “I’m going to play until the end of the season and then see what happens. I’m very used to life in England. I’m not thinking about going back to Corinthians at the moment. My aim is to stay in Europe. I feel that I’m at my peak at the moment. Players improve throughout their careers and I think I’m currently at my peak.”

It is not secret that Mourinho and Willian get on very well, which will intrigue Tottenham’s fans…

“I got on very well with Mourinho, learnt a lot under him and we’ve remained friends,” Willian said. “We still message each other a lot, but I don’t see him often. I haven’t managed to meet up with him since he came back to London.”

His form for Chelsea has been a little erratic this season but Frank Lampard has spoken fondly about Willian time and time again and it is quite clear Chelsea would like to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge for at least another season.

With so many young wingers around (Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount to name a few), Willian can help ease them into the first team but there’s no doubting plenty of Premier League clubs will be eager to snap him up on a free transfer this summer, or whenever the transfer window reopens.

Tottenham would seem like a particularly good fit for Willian. He would link up with Jose Mourinho, the manage who bought him to Chelsea, and his experience would be vital at Spurs as they aim to finally secure some silverware. Tottenham need to prioritize buying new defenders but if Willian is available for free, you can’t turn that deal down, even if he turned Spurs and Daniel Levy down in 2013…

Arsenal would make sense too but you’d have to say Tottenham are the frontrunners given the connection between Willian and Mourinho. Of course, he could stay at Chelsea, but with Pedro also out of contract it does feel like a changing of the guard as Lampard will put his faith totally in new signing Hakim Ziyech, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi next season.

Transfer news: Neuer to Chelsea, Godin to Tottenham

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, the latest transfer news out of Stamford Bridge says that Chelsea are interested in signing Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

According to German outlet Bild the 34-year-old is on the lis of goalkeepers Frank Lampard and Chelsea are looking at as they aim to upgrade their goalkeeping position.

Neuer has been at Bayern since 2011 and has won everything possible with the Bavarian giants, with his current contract due to expire next summer after he recently rejected a one-year extension. Bayern have signed promising young goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, 23, from Schalke and have been linked with a $100 million move for German international Marc andre Ter Stegen if Neuer does move on.

Chelsea have struggled in the goalkeeping department this season with Kepa Arrizabalaga dropped by Lampard in recent months and back up Willy Caballero hardly excelling as Kepa’s replacement.

The Blues have plenty of attacking talent but they have conceded 39 goals in 29 games so far with only Burnley and Arsenal conceding more goals (40) in the top 10.

Neuer is coming towards his prime as a goalkeeper and if Chelsea can snap him when the transfer window reopens for a small fee, given his contract will have less than one year remaining, it would represent a huge upgrade and some much-needed experience in their defensive unit.

Another London club looking to add experience in the defensive department is Tottenham, with Jose Mourinho said to be keen on signing Diego Godin from Inter Milan. There hasn’t been that much transfer news swirling around Tottenham and this may not the kind of addition Spurs fans would be hoping for.

Godin, 34, has been admired by Mourinho for some time as the former Atletico Madrid defender is a master of the dark arts and looked close to signing for Mourinho at Man United two years ago before instead signing a new deal at Atletico.

Uruguay’s captain has spent the last season at Inter Milan but a report from Corriere dello Sport states that he will be allowed to leave this summer as he hasn’t slotted into Antonio Conte’s plans in a three man central defense.

With Jan Vertonghen set to be out of contract this summer and Spurs’ continuing to leak goals galore, Mourinho is said to want to add experience at the back to hold things together. Godin would fit the bill but would this potential move to the Premier League come too late in his career?

The way he plays means that pace isn’t exactly necessary as he reads the game superbly and his aerial ability, ability to cover and organize is why Spurs would bring him in. Adding Godin alongside young defenders like Japhet Tanganga and Davinson Sanchez could work well, plus Toby Alderweireld is also around. Godin is reliable and Mourinho certainly needs more reliable defenders around if his time in charge of Tottenham is going to be a success.

Lampard: Hudson-Odoi recovered from COVID-19

Callum Hudson-Odoi coronavirus
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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard provided a bit of positive news on Friday, stating that young Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“I’ve spoken to Callum and it’s great that he’s fully recovered,” Lampard said in a video message posted on Chelsea’s social media channels. “I spoke to him throughout that first week when he first got the illness and it was a strange time. Thankfully he didn’t suffer too much and we are happy he’s come through this. Now it’s just about taking the necessary precautions with the rest of the squad, which we have been doing since he first tested positive and everyone is doing well in the current climate.

[READ: Premier League issues update on playing matches this season]

“It’s a difficult and strange time for everyone and no matter how much we all love football and all love Chelsea, sometimes other things have to come first. This is one of those situations and my message to the players throughout this has been to put your family first. Look after them, and yourself, and keep the motivation that way. I have no concerns with the players losing motivation and I know they will be doing the basics right at home in terms of their fitness and looking after themselves in these times.”

Hudson-Odoi announced on his official Twitter account that he had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 13, and has been in self-isolation since then. He joined Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta as Premier League figures who tested positive for the virus. Since then, the Premier League suspended play and training and England has gone into lockdown, with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson testing positive for the virus as well.

While the Premier League continues to wait and see if they can finish their season, it’s positive news that Hudson-Odoi has fully recovered and can get back to fitness work at home.

Transfer rumor roundup: Real Madrid to snatch up Haaland, Pogba

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A roundup of all of Friday’s biggest transfer rumors, including a few involving Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

When a player possessed world-class talent or potential, it feels like all roads eventually lead to Madrid — or, at least a chance to move to the Spanish capital. Sure, Erling Haaland is only 19 years old, but he’s already been earmarked as Real Madrid’s star striker for the next 10 or 15 years with Zinedine Zidane reportedly very keen on bringing the Norwegian to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. It was inevitable from the moment he started scoring goals for Borussia Dortmund.

Speaking of Madrid restocking the pond full of world-class stars, Zidane also hopes to have Paul Pogba in his team when the 2020-21 season kicks off. With his current contract with Manchester United set to expire in just over 12 months, it’s now or never for Pogba to move elsewhere or re-up for another few years. Given the up-and-down nature (it’s mostly been down, if we’re honest) of his second stint at Old Trafford, Pogba seems a safe bet to make another big-money move this summer.

Wolverhampton Wanderers forward midfielder Raul Jimenez on speculation that he’ll leave the club this summer if they don’t qualify for the Champions League, via Facebook Live: “I have a contract [with Wolves] until 2023. It’s not that we have to qualify for the Champions League in order to stay. I’m good [here], happy with Wolves, doing important things — me as well as the whole team.”

Don’t be surprised if Arsenal make a decidedly Spanish turn in the coming transfer windows with Mikel Arteta at the helm. The former Gunners midfielder was a crafty technician himself and has a preference for similarly skilled players, based on reports of his interest in Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler. The 23-year-old has been a revelation for Valencia as they made their way into the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2013, and clubs the size of Arsenal have certainly taken notice.

Pedro will leave Chelsea when his contract expires this summer, according to the player himself. The 32-year-old World Cup winner will almost certainly have a number of suitors at mid-tier European clubs as well as the Middle East and China.