Rumour reel: Chelsea to give Barkley a new challenge
Frank Monkhouse | 29 July 2017
Conte wants more of an English presence
Football bad boy Joey Barton may come again, after seeing his suspension slashed by five months, meaning he’s free to return to work on 1st June next year. Already 34 years old, does he have a future?
Judges on the panel at the FA found the former Man City, Rangers and Burnley man’s initial punishment to be excessive in the circumstances. He’s currently without a club, will it stay that way? We’ll keep our eyes on that one. In the meantime, here’s the latest from Coral’s rumour reel…..
Champions target midfield pair
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will raid his Premier League rivals for two English midfielders before the start of the new season. The Blues boss has set aside £50m and is ready to end the uncertainly over Ross Barkley, before finally getting his hands on one of his main summer targets, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman confirmed Barkley will be leaving Goodison Park in the near future, telling fans the 23-year-old fancies a new challenge. He’ll certainly get that at the champions, as Conte builds a squad capable of competing both domestically and in the Champions League.
Oxlade-Chamberlain only has a year left on his current deal at the Emirates, and Arsenal will be eager to cash in now, rather than lose him later down the line. Conte wants more English players in his ranks, with Gary Cahill the only regular at present.
Jose Mourinho making moves
Manchester United have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic to Old Trafford, and it looks like they may have finally made the breakthrough.
San Siro boss Luciano Spalletti spoke to the Italian press recently, saying he wants the Croatian to stay, but can’t be sure what will happen before the transfer window closes. Reading between the lines, that sounds like a challenge to Jose Mourinho to cough up the cash and let the player decide.
Perisic isn’t the only name being liked to last season’s Europa League winners. Rumours connecting them with Chelsea’s defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic refuse to go away, but Argentine target Paulo Dybala won’t be on his way, the 23-year-old choosing to remain at Juventus for the foreseeable future.
Pennant to drop down to semi-pro football
Remember Jermaine Pennant? The former Liverpool star may only be 34 years old, but the winger has been forced abroad in recent times, turning out for the likes of Indian side FC Pune City and Singapore League outfit Tampines Rovers.
He’s currently a free-agent, but that hasn’t caught the attention of too many managers, and he has been handed a straight choice between joining Neil Lennon at newly promoted Scottish Premiership side Hibs, or playing semi-pro football in Essex for Billericay Town. Ricay, who finished eighth in the Isthmian League last season, have money to spend, and fancy climbing through the ranks of English football.