CHELSEA are preparing for a big summer of activity as manager Frank Lampard looks to reshape his Blues’ squad.
Meanwhile former caretaker boss Guus Hiddink has astonishingly suggested the 2009 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona could have been fixed.
Follow all the latest updates and transfer gossip below…
ON THE VIRG
Virgil van Dijk has revealed why he joined Liverpool rather than the likes of Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea.
He said: “Before I made the decision to choose Liverpool, I looked at all the aspects of the clubs; the way of playing, the team-mates, the future as well.
“The city, the fans everything has got to be big part of joining a club.
“I think Liverpool at that time when I made the decision was the right decision and obviously to reach the Champions League final in my first six months was obviously a big bonus.”
Christian Pulisic has revealed he was blanked by several of his new colleagues on the team bus when he joined Chelsea.
Speaking on the 13&MEpodcast, he said: “I got on the bus, they had just arrived as well.
“Everyone is half, I go and sit on the bus and nobody even noticed me.
“Nobody said anything. There were maybe one or two guys who said ‘hey hello’ and I was like, ‘what’s going on here?’
“Those first couple of days training I was nervous. You know what it’s like when you move to a new team.
“They’re nice guys off the field but to earn that respect you have to show on the field you have that ability, that’s just how it is.”
Prem clubs will vote in favour of extending player contracts until the end of the rescheduled season.
Chiefs will meet on Monday to further iron out issues ahead of Project Restart with aims to commence the campaign on June 12.
One obstacle remains the futures of players whose contracts at their clubs expire on June 30.
In total 86 top-flight stars are facing uncertain futures including big names such as Willian, Pedro and Jan Vertonghen.
If the season is restarted, games will be scheduled in July and August after the player’s contracts have officially expired.
ONONA, WHAT’S MY NAME?
Ajax have confirmed Chelsea target Andre Onana will be up for grabs this summer.
Chief Executive Edwin van der Sar told Reuters: “Last year, we made verbal agreements with Onana, Tagliafico and Van de Beek to stay another season, and then we look to help each other and find the next step in their careers.
“Nothing has changed. There won’t be a 50 per cent discount. The clubs can forget about that.”
WILL I NEVER
As transfer talk continues, here’s how things are looking in the Chelsea camp.
Willian, Pedro and Giroud look set to leave this summer when their club contracts expire.
YOUR GUUS IS COOKED
Guus Hiddink has opened up old wounds by saying he believed Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2009 could have been fixed.
Hiddink, who was interim boss at the time, said: “The referee performance surprised me, because in the past he’d had perfect performances.
“Is it the worst refereeing I’ve ever seen? I think so.
“This is the only time I thought a match could’ve been fixed.”
FREE, TWO, ONE… GO
Chelsea have reignited their interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Thomas Meunier.
L’Equipe claim Tottenham are still the firm favourites to sign the defender – who will be available on a free transfer this summer.
Chelsea would like to snap him up, but Manchester United have also set their sights on him.
JUR THE BEST
Christian Pulisic has thanked Jurgen Klopp for giving him his big break at Borussia Dortmund.
Speaking to the 13&MEpodcast, he recalled the moment he received a text telling him he was training with the first team.
He said: “I’m getting ready, going to training and it’s just unreal I was 16 or 17 and Im going in the warm-up and there’s huge names at the time.
“There’s Aubameyang, Marco Reus, Matts Hummels, Mkhitaryan. All these guys and they were just in the Champions League final the year before.
“It’s like I’m going and I’m just this 16-year-old kid. I was thinking just do my best.
“I was just so excited and I’m just thankful to Jurgen Klopp that he gave me that opportunity, I’ll take with me forever and I’m really grateful.”
It was exactly ten years ago today that Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy for the THIRD time.
The Blues ended the season with 27 wins, five draws and six defeats.
Manchester United finished just one point behind John Terry and Co.
Guus Hiddink has claimed Chelsea’s 2009 Champions League semi-final loss to Barcelona might have been fixed.
The Blues were denied a place in the final after the official Tom Henning Ovrebo made a series of blunders.
Hiddink, manager of Chelsea at the time, branded the officialdom as: “The worst refereeing I have ever seen.”
He told Ziggo Sport: “The referee performance surprised me, because in the past he’d had perfect performances. Is it the worst refereeing I’ve ever seen? I think so.”
The Dutchman alleged: “This is the only time I thought a match could’ve been fixed, possibly because UEFA didn’t want a repeat of last year’s final.”
Premier League players are set to start being tested for coronavirus next Thursday – and will get the results in just 24 hours.
This means footballers will receive their results quicker than NHS workers on the frontline.
The Telegraph claim players will be given early tests during training sessions to ensure there are no mass outbreaks hitting one or two teams and wiping them out before the season can begin.
NHS and social care workers, plus anyone over 65 who has symptoms, wait up to 72 hours for their results.
THAT’S YOUR LOTTI
Carlo Ancelotti did not suit English football, claimed John Terry.
The legendary England defender said: “What I really loved about Carlo is his man-management, the way he adapted as well – because he had a way of coaching that probably didn’t suit English football.
“But he adapted very quickly , when speaking to me, Frank [Lampard], Didier [Drogba], he wanted to pick our brains.”
Petr Cech has lifted the lid on his decision to leave Chelsea after being the club’s No1 for a decade.
He told the club website: “I was not happy at all. I could see in pre-season how hard I was working.
“There was nothing suggesting I wouldn’t be ready to keep my spot.
“But in a football team you can only have one goalkeeper playing every week, and unfortunately that was the way it went.
“Thibaut [Courtois] was regarded as the future of the club with all his potential and quality.
“I understood the choice was made, even if I didn’t think it was my time.”
Chelsea and Manchester United are chasing Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa after his club revealed his future is “up in the air”.
The son of former Italy national manager Enrico Chiesa has been attracting a wide range of interest after an impressive spell in Serie A.
Radio Toscana revealed the Gunners, United and Chelsea are chasing the 22-year-old winger.
He has scored eight goals in 30 appearances this season, including one for the Italy national side in a European Championships qualifier.
Chelsea have begun talks with Leicester over a deal for Ben Chilwell, reports Todo Fichajes via the Daily Express.
The player is said to have already told his agent he wants a move to West London.
But the report adds that while Chelsea are leading the race to sign Chilwell, Man City, Atletico Madrid and PSG are also all interested.
GOOD MORNING, CHELSEA FANS
N’Golo Kante’s ears must be Bern-ing as talk of Real Madrid making him their No1 transfer target hots up.
The French World Cup winner is reportedly now Bernabeu boss Zinedine Zidane’s preferred option as a long-term replacement for Brazil anchorman Casemiro.
But £80million-rated midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has long been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United, now seems more likely to leave Lazio.
The Serie A club’s sporting director Igli Tare told Sky Sport Italia: “Generally speaking, if a player thinks that their time is up and wants to go somewhere else, it shouldn’t be a problem.
“Eras come to an end. The fact he stayed in Rome for five years is because he has strong links with the city and club.
“When there was some temptation, a bit on our part, a bit on his, we never went all the way. However, things must be assessed at the end of the season.”
But Borussia Dortmund’s England winger Jadon Sancho, also commonly touted for Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford, is rated “unlikely” to quit Borussia Dortmund this summer.
Respected journalist Guillem Balague suggests reduced spending after the coronavirus pandemic means a £100m fee might be off the agenda for now.
Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour was edged out by three Arsenal youngsters in the top 10 of Talent Scout’s list of football’s best starlets born in or after 2001.
United striker Mason Greenwood was third, with Gunners Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, William Saliba sixth, ninth and tenth respectively.
Gilmour, a sensation after breaking into Frank Lampard’s side just before Covid-19 halted football action, came in at No 11.
HAVING A REAL GO
N’Golo Kante has been rated as Real Madrid’s top transfer target this summer – amid talk the LaLiga giants are cooling their interest in Paul Pogba
Real have been long-term admirers of Manchester United midfielder Pogba, but a summer deal looks increasingly unlikely.
Now Marca claim Real have turned their attention to Chelsea anchorman Kante.
They claim Eduardo Camavinga is also on their wishlist following his impressive spell with Rennes.
Bernabeu boss Zinedine Zidane is thought to be after a long-term successor to Brazil star Casemiro.
SHOUT OF ORDER
Premier League players will have their bad language blocked out to avoid upsetting TV fans during Project Restart.
Sky Sports and BT Sport are as desperate as the League for the resumption of the season so they can screen the remaining 92 matches.
But with games having to be played behind closed doors, there is no background crowd noise to cover up the obscenities regularly used on the pitch and in dugouts.
With strict Ofcom regulations covering content televised before the 9pm watershed, TV bosses are having to plan how to stop expletives being heard by their viewers.
And that means having to consider removing pitch-side microphones — taking away a vital element which helps deliver any atmosphere.
The companies have experience of screening behind-closed-doors matches for European or international fixtures.
But the prospect of two sets of players and dugouts both shouting in English presents a new challenge.
Either they have their commentators continually apologising on air for any swear words heard or they control or even mute the sound levels.
WELCOME MAT FOR JOSE
Nemanja Matic has hardly dampened talk of a third spell under Jose Mourinho with some revealing insights into his ex-Chelsea and Manchester United manager.
The Old Trafford anchorman made a dramatic return to form just before the coronavirus pandemic halted football, but boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been linked with strengthening his midfield in the next transfer window.
And it seems the Serbia star, 31, would be far from averse at reuning with Tottenham chief Mourinho.
Describing the Portuguese manager’s style, Matic told the Guardian:“If you win, he’s the best guy ever but if you lose, you’re hiding from him at the training ground.
“But he’s an amazing coach.I was very happy at Chelsea, but I thought it was the right moment to change club.
“There were reasons which are hard for me to say now. I will never forget my time there, but I’m a Manchester United player now.”
NOT QUITE TOP OF THE BILL
Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour was edged out by three Arsenal youngsters in the top 10 of Talent Scout’s list of football’s best starlets.
Gabriel Martinelli is sixth, Bukayo Saka at nine and William Saliba tenth in the rankings for players born in 2001 or later.
Lyon’s Rayan Cherki, Rennes’ Eduart Camavinga and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood make up the top three.
Gilmour, a sensation after breaking into Frank Lampard’s side just before coronavirus halted football action, sits at No 11.
Incoming winger Hakim Ziyech would NOT be able for Chelsea before next season – even if the current campaign resumes.
The Morocco winger agreed a £36millon summer arrival in February and has played his last game for Ajax after the coronavirus pandemic ended the Dutch season early.
But despite plans to allow Premier League clubs to register 25-man squads if the season restarts next month, it is unlikely the 27-year-old can be included.
The Telegraph say new rules for the resumption of the season would not allow it.
COME AND SAV A GO
Chelsea and Manchester United “target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic could finally be available at Lazio.
The Serie A side say they would not stand in the £80million-rated midfielder’s way if the 25-year-old wanted to leave.
Lazio sporting director Igli Tare told Sky Sport Italia: “Generally speaking, if a player thinks that their time is up and wants to go somewhere else, it shouldn’t be a problem.
“Eras come to an end. The fact he stayed in Rome for five years is because he has strong links with the city and club.
“When there was some temptation, a bit on our part, a bit on his, we never went all the way.
“However, things must be assessed at the end of the season.”
BARCA WOULD BE FAB WINNERS
Ex-Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has hit back at Thibaut Courtois’ claims it would be “unjust” if Barcelona were made LaLiga champions without the season being played out.
Barcelona were two points clear of keeper Courtois’ Real Madrid side when the coronavirus pandemic halted sporting action in March.
Courtois, Fabregas’ former Stamford Bridge team-mate, declared: “I am sure we can still be champions.
“It would be a shame if the season was stopped for good.
“And if it was, I would find it unjust that Barcelona were crowned champions. In Barcelona they must find it logical, but I don’t.
“They drew and lost to us, we showed that we were the better team even if they are two points ahead today.
I wouldn’t find that fair. In England I can understand that Liverpool would be named champions, because they are 25 points ahead.
“Either we play it all or we don’t finish, but then we don’t designate a champion.”
But Fabregas told TVE, he said: “Everyone defends their own interests. At Monaco, we have been left without Europe next year.
“But if [LaLiga] stopped, as it has done in France, Barcelona would be worthy winners. We are not stopping because we like it. We are doing it for an unavoidable cause.”
Chelsea and Manchester target Jadon Sancho is “unlikely” to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer.
That’s the view of respected journalist Guillem Balague amid heated Premier League interest in the £100million-rated England winger, 20.
Balague said: “I know that obviously Chelsea has looked into the possibility of Sancho, so has Manchester United.
“Sancho is playing with the idea of either staying or going but it needs a huge investment to take Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund right now. We will see if that money’s available.
“If anybody’s got it, according to all the agents I have spoken to, it will be Chelsea or Manchester United or Manchester City.
“But if Manchester City don’t have European football, it leaves Manchester United and Chelsea.”
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