Rumour reel: Chelsea finding it tough
Frank Monkhouse | 18 July 2017
Conte missing out on top targets
We’ll start in the usual place – Goodison Park. Everton have signed yet another player, out of contract Southampton defender Cuco Martina joining on a free transfer. The 27-year-old right-back penned a three-year deal, and joins one of the most exciting squads in the division.
On revealing Martina, Toffees boss Ronald Koeman spoke to fans about the importance of having strength in depth and competition for places. He certainly has that this season. Let’s flick through the latest from Coral’s rumour reel.
More frustration for Conte
Chelsea looked all set to spend big this summer and strengthen their title winning team in good time for an assault on the Champions League and a successful Premier League defence. It hasn’t worked out the way fans would’ve hoped however, with a number of top targets slipping through the net, including Romelu Lukaku. Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata will choose AC Milan over the bridge too, if rumours are to be believed, and the news is no better on Alex Sandro. The Juventus left-back has been linked with Chelsea all summer, but it now looks like he’ll turn his back on The Blues and stay at Juve. The Old Lady are keen to hold on to the 26-year-old, with Leonardo Bonucci away to AC Milan. Finally, Nemanja Matic has told bosses he wants to leave for Juventus, and wants to do it on the cheap too.
Liverpool back in for van Dijk
We knew we hadn’t heard the last of the Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool story, and the Dutchman is apparently still keen on a move to Anfield, telling The Reds to come and get him. Current employers Southampton were annoyed at how Liverpool approached their player earlier this summer, and have now slapped a £60m transfer fee on his head. We’re sure a cheque of that size would help them get over it. Some newspapers believe Arsenal are lining up a bid of £45m, and Gunners fans would be delighted if they were to add a bit of muscle to their backline. Sticking with Liverpool and they will have to up their £57m bid for Naby Keita, with Leipzig playing hardball.
Wenger gives up on Mbappe
Arsenal fans were dreaming of Wenger signing in-demand Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe, but the French boss has now given up on that one, accepting that he’s fighting a losing battle. Arsene has plenty of rebuilding to do however, so will get on with chasing other targets, including Thomas Lemar. The 21-year-old, a teammate of Mbappe, has told Monaco to allow him to leave for London and he wants to get settled at the Emirates in plenty of time for the new English football season. Arsenal are working hard to hang on to star striker Alexis Sanchez, but if they do lose the Chilean, they’ll replace him with Celtic and France U21 scorer Moussa Dembele. The 20-year-old set the heather alight in Scotland last term, and has also attracted attention from the likes of West Ham and Chelsea.