Chelsea has completed its first summer signing, grabbing veteran goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Manchester City on a free transfer.
Caballero served as a backup for most of his City career, playing second-fiddle first to Joe Hart and then to Claudio Bravo, but earned plenty of first-team action both in Cup action and also during stretches where each first-teamer was benched for poor performances. Overall, Caballero made 48 appearances for City since arriving from Malaga in 2014.
With the presence of Bravo at City plus the arrival of Ederson to challenge the Chilean for his first-choice position, there was no place for Caballero at the Etihad.
The 35-year-old Argentinian will likely again serve as a backup at Chelsea, with Thibaut Courtois firmly entrenched in the first-team role. Last season Asmir Begovic backed up Courtois, but he was sold to Bournemouth this summer. Begovic only earned eight appearances for the Blues last season across all competitions, but that was skewed slightly due to the lack of European competition.
There were reports that Newcastle United was interested in bringing Caballero in to be their starting goalkeeper, including from Lee Ryder of Newcastle paper The Chronicle, but he has chosen to join the defending champions instead.
Chelsea has done most of its early business on the outgoing end this summer, netting nearly $82 million on the sale of players such as Nathan Ake, Juan Cuadrado, Bertrand Traore, and Begovic.
Transfer deals for Romelu Lukaku, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willy Caballero are all said to be progressing with the Blues ready to spend some serious cash to prepare for a return to the UEFA Champions League and build to defend their Premier League title.
Per the report, Lukaku and Bakayoko are further away from being Chelsea players but Caballero is all set to arrive at Stamford Bridge and will sign on July 1 after becoming a free agent. The Argentine goalkeeper, 35, will be Thibaut Courtois back-up and will likely get plenty of minutes in Europe and in cup competitions.
Lukaku, 24, is yet to sign a new deal at Everton and with Ronald Koeman splashing some serious cash at Goodison Park (Davy Klaassen and Jordan Pickford have already arrived with Sandro Ramirez on the way and a move for Gylfi Sigurdsson seeming likely) it suggests the Toffees could be ready to cash in on their Belgian striker.
With Diego Costa‘s future uncertain, Lukaku would be the main man up top for Chelsea but he’d return for a huge transfer fee and with huge expectations following his failure to break into the Chelsea team from 2012-14 before being sold to Everton. Lukaku’s 25 goals last season showcased his continued improvement, but his hold-up play must improve if he is going to reach the next level with Chelsea.
As for Bakayoko, the 22-year-old Monaco and France midfielder is wanted by Antonio Conte to sit in alongside N'Golo Kante and break up play in midfield. Bakayoko is a powerful player and he should dovetail with Kante perfectly. As reports of Nemanja Matic heading to Manchester United persist, bringing in Bakayoko makes plenty of sense and Conte is a big fan of two powerful, defense-minded players in his two central midfield spots.
The 20-year-old took the Scottish Premiership by storm last season, scoring 32 goals as Celtic went through the entire domestic season unbeaten.
Dembele is though to be valued at over $35 million by Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, but the player the Scottish giants signed for free last summer from Fulham may well be allowed to leave if an opportunity arises in the Premier League.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with a move for Dembele, but the Frenchman may see a move to Everton as a better fit for now as Koeman could offer him regular action if Lukaku leaves.
With Liverpool and Arsenal slipping on Saturday, Manchester City has a chance to capitalize on their mistakes and jump into third place with a win on Sunday. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do so against one of the hotter Premier League teams not named Chelsea as they host Swansea City at the Etihad at 8:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.
The Swans have won three of their last four league games and have lifted themselves out of the relegation zone, revived under Paul Clement. Despite the good form, there’s some pressure on today, with Swansea knowing two of the three teams below them won the day before.
With his new signing coming out swinging, Man City boss Pep Guardiola has selected Gabriel Jesus ahead of Sergio Aguero up front for the second straight match. In addition, Guardiola has left struggling goalkeeper Claudio Bravo on the bench, starting Willy Caballero for the second straight game.
Fernandinho returns to the starting lineup for the first time since his straight red card over a month ago, while Vincent Kompany is left on the bench yet again as he struggles through an injury-plagued campaign.
Swansea City is unchanged from its win last time out over Southampton, the third consecutive match Clement has decided against any changes. He could eventually be forced into a move, with captain Leon Britton back on the bench after finding himself injured on New Year’s Eve.
One day into the new Premier League season, we already have a number of surprising results.
Hull City and West Bromwich Albion – teams who both struggled through bad press, managerial turmoil, and a frustrating transfer window this summer – both picked up wins over teams who seem to be trending upwards.
Nobody thought Leicester City’s title defense would be easy, or even possible, but most expected them to ease past managerless and transfer-less Hull City on opening day. Most thought wrong. Robert Snodgrass was creative and scored the winner as the Tigers, under caretaker manager Mike Phelan, picked up a confidence-building win over the defending champions.
Building on Hull’s win, West Brom surprised a rising Crystal Palace squad at Selhurst Park behind a header from Salomon Rondon, who looked most dangerous during an otherwise listless match. Similar to Hull, West Brom has had a rocky summer, stymied on a number of transfers and forced to question if Tony Pulis would stick around. However, they faced a Palace side that looked timid in the final third and Rondon, last year’s leading scorer for the Baggies, started off on the right foot.
Pep Guardiola made a statement when he benched incumbent goalkeeper Joe Hart, but it didn’t matter as the City attack was in charge. For much of the match City was in control, and while Jermain Defoe thought he earned Sunderland a point with a 70th minute equalizer, pressure from the hosts was too much at the end amid defensive tactics from David Moyes. A Paddy McNair own-goal with four minutes was the difference as City survived.
Boro looks like an exciting and stout Premier League side, and went ahead through new signing Alvaro Negredo. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last as Xherdan Shaqiri – invisible for much of the early going – deposited a beautiful free-kick into the back of the net to equalize.
Leroy Fer produced a late, 82nd minute winner to give Swansea all three points at Turf Moor. The goal was just after Swans defender Federico Fernandez should have scored earlier in the second half but missed poorly from close range. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was also needed as he denied Sam Vokes just after halftime.
The two sides finished level in a matchup of first-time Premier League managers. Nathan Redmond scored an impressive volley on his Saints debut to peg Watford back after Etienne Capoue had given the visitors the lead with his first goal for the club. Watford’s Ben Watson was sent off late after a last-man foul, a selfless sacrifice after Southampton was threatening on the break.
Ross Barkley put the hosts in front, but Erik Lamela headed home an equalizer in the second half as both teams had to settle for a disappointing draw. Spurs will be even more concerned that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris went off injured, as the club announced he had a hamstring problem and will be assessed in the coming days.