Rumour Has It: Real Madrid plot sensational swoop for Chelsea's Reece James

By Sports Desk March 30, 2023

Chelsea have underwhelmed this season and may look to offload players to ensure they meet financial fair play requirements, but could Reece James really leave Stamford Bridge?

The Blues have spent big money over the past 10 months since Todd Boehly took over ownership from Roman Abramovich.

Enzo Fernandez, Wesley Fofana, Mykhailo Mudryk, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling, Benoit Badiashile, Kalidou Koulibaly, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto were all signed in lucrative moves.

TOP STORY – MADRID CONSIDER SHOCK MOVE FOR CHELSEA'S JAMES

Real Madrid are plotting a shock swoop to sign Chelsea full-back Reece James as the Blues plan a clean-out, claims AS.

James, 23, is contracted with the Blues until 2028, making any deal complicated, but Los Blancos are reportedly hoping Chelsea's need to balance the books can work in their favour.

Madrid previously landed Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard from Chelsea, albeit in different circumstances with both only having shorter terms remaining on their contracts.

AS claims Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham remains Real's priority signing.

ROUND-UP

– The Evening Standard claims Arsenal are making West Ham midfielder Declan Rice a transfer priority, amid plenty of interest from Premier League clubs. Rice is expected to leave the Hammers at the end of this season, with ChelseaManchester City and Manchester United also reportedly in the hunt.

– Manchester United are keeping an eye on Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani and Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund should their advances for Tottenham's Harry Kane fail, claims the Manchester Evening News.

– Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat is eager for a move to Barcelona, claims Footmercato. The Blaugrana had interest in the Moroccan during the last transfer window.

– Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have lodged initial bids for 16-year-old Hajduk Split defender Luka Vuskovic, according to 90min.

– Footmercato reports Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is set to sign a new five-year contract with Napoli, having been linked with PSG recently.

– El Chiringuito claims Manchester City are eyeing a move for ex-Spain boss Luis Enrique amid talk Pep Guardiola could opt for a sabbatical at the end of the season.

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  • Minnesota United v D.C. United: Lesesne praises Black-and-Red's fight after ending winless streak Minnesota United v D.C. United: Lesesne praises Black-and-Red's fight after ending winless streak

    D.C. United head coach Troy Lesesne says his side deserved the win that snapped their winless streak as they aim to keep their momentum against Minnesota United.

    D.C. were on an 11-match winless run, losing eight, including a heavy 5-0 thrashing at Orlando City before their 2-1 comeback win against Nashville on Saturday.

    The victory lifted them to 12th in the Eastern Conference, and another win could put them in touching distance of the playoffs.

    Lesesne was pleased to finally put their torrid run behind them, saying: "I try to stay away from really obvious statements, but everyone knows the last couple of months haven't been what we wanted.

    "There's performances in there, but we didn't see three points. There were so many individual performances that willed that to happen, and they've been fighting, they deserve this."

    Meanwhile, Minnesota snapped their six-match losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Houston Dynamo at the weekend.

    The Loons moved into ninth in the Western Conference, though they still remain without a win in any of their last eight MLS outings.

    However, head coach Eric Ramsay remained optimistic and is keen to build on the result to get them back in contention.

    "It was a really important point," Ramsay said.

    "I'm incredibly pleased with the application of the players, their aggression, their intent to spot the run we're on at the moment, so we take a lot from that."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Minnesota United – Robin Lod

    Robin Lod scored his sixth goal of the season in Minnesota's draw on Saturday, his fourth season with at least six goals.

    No other player in the team's MLS history has more than two seasons with six or more goals.

    D.C. United – Cristian Dajome

    Cristian Dajome's brace in D.C. United's win over Nashville on Saturday was the seventh multi-goal game by a D.C. United player since the start of the 2023 season, but the first by somebody other than Christian Benteke.

    MATCH PREDICTION: MINNESOTA UNITED WIN

    The home side have won all five meetings between Minnesota and D.C., with the last meeting a 2-0 home win for the Loons in 2022. Minnesota have outscored D.C., 7-0, in their three meetings at home.

    Minnesota United ended their club-record six-match losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Houston on Saturday but remain winless in eight straight (drawn two, lost six), the longest regular-season winless run in the team's MLS history.

    Meanwhile, D.C. snapped their 11-match winless run with a 2-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday. D.C. have not won consecutive matches within a single season since a four-match winning run in April 2023.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Minnesota United – 54.2%

    Draw – 23.5%

    D.C. United – 22.3%

  • 'Thank you Gareth' - Rice and Pickford lead tributes to outgoing England boss Southgate 'Thank you Gareth' - Rice and Pickford lead tributes to outgoing England boss Southgate

    Declan Rice thanked outgoing England boss Gareth Southgate for "memories that will stay with me forever".

    Southgate announced on Tuesday he would step down as the Three Lions' head coach following their heartbreaking Euro 2024 final defeat by Spain.

    It was a second successive run to the European Championship final the 53-year-old had overseen since replacing Sam Allardyce in September 2016, while also guiding England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

    Rice has earned all 58 of his Three Lions caps under Southgate since making his debut in 2019, while playing in every game at each of the last three major tournaments.

    "Thank you gaffer. It's been a privilege to play for England under your guidance," the Arsenal midfielder posted on his Instagram story. "Memories that will stay with me forever. All the best in your next adventure."

    Jordan Pickford also made his senior international bow under Southgate in 2017, and was an ever-present in goal at all four major tournaments since.

    "Completely gutted. This will hurt for a while," the Everton goalkeeper wrote on Instagram in his first post since Sunday's final.

    "Appreciate everyone who supported us during the tournament and I’d like to thank all my teammates and staff for their work throughout.

    "I also want to say a special thank you to the boss for always believing in me during his time with us and I would like to wish him all the best in his next steps. Thank you Gareth."

  • Southgate steps down as England manager Southgate steps down as England manager

    Gareth Southgate has resigned as England manager following their Euro 2024 final defeat.

    Southgate's contract was due to expire at the end of the year, but the 53-year-old had admitted he was unlikely to carry on if they did not lift the trophy.

    He was in charge of the Three Lions for eight years, having taken on the role following Sam Allardyce's abrupt exit in September 2016.

    Southgate managed England at four major tournaments, leading them to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in the first.

    The former defender then led the side to their first major tournament final since 1966 at Euro 2020, losing 3-2 on penalties to Italy at Wembley, before guiding them to the quarter-finals at the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

    His final tournament in charge saw his side reach their first-ever final on foreign soil, though a 2-1 defeat to Spain saw England become the first team in history to lose consecutive Euros finals, with Southgate the only manager to ever lose two such matches.

    Southgate took charge of 102 matches with England, winning 61 of those, with the Three Lions netting 223 goals during his tenure.

    His 14 wins at major tournaments are the most of any manager in England's history, while they reached more finals (two) in four attempts than they did in their first 23 appearances at the World Cup and Euros.

    Speaking to the Football Association's (FA) website, Southgate said: "As a proud Englishman, it has been the honour of my life to play for England and to manage England.

    "It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all. But it's time for change, and for a new chapter. Sunday's final in Berlin against Spain was my final game as England manager.

    "I have had the privilege of leading a large group of players in 102 games. Every one of them has been proud to wear the three lions on their shirts, and they have been a credit to their country in so many ways.

    "The squad we took to Germany is full of exciting young talent, and they can win the trophy we all dream of.

    "I am so proud of them, and I hope we get behind the players and the team at St. George's Park and the FA, who strive every day to improve English football and understand the power football has to drive positive change.

    "We have the best fans in the world, and their support has meant the world to me. I'm an England fan and I always will be.

    "I look forward to watching and celebrating as the players go on to create more special memories and to connect and inspire the nation as we know they can.

    "Thank you, England – for everything."

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