Rumour Has It: Chelsea eye Lewandowski, United close in on Varane

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

After winning the Champions League, Chelsea are looking to add a goalscorer. 

With Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland seemingly no longer a possibility, the Blues could look elsewhere in Germany.

Robert Lewandowski has become the name to watch. 

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA LINE UP LEWANDOWSKI BID

Robert Lewandowski has moved to the top of Chelsea's wish list, according to the Sun. 

The Poland international scored a record 41 league goals for Bayern Munich last season and is under contract through 2023.

But Thomas Tuchel wants a prolific scorer and Lewandowski would certainly fit the bill, should Bayern accept a £50million offer for the 32-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United will make an offer for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane this week, says the Daily Mail, but not at the rumoured £50m asking price. Fabrizio Romano reports Varane wants to move to the Premier League and is ready to accept United's contract proposal. 

United also are in the mix for Real Madrid's winger Vinicius Junior, claims the Mirror. 

Mauro Icardi could leave Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus, says Footmercato.

– Barring a Lewandowski move, Chelsea could wind up as a surprise landing spot for Harry Kane if he does not end up at Manchester City, according to The Athletic.

Liverpool will extend Alisson's contract through 2026 within the next few weeks, Fabrizio Romano reports, while the Mirror says Jordan Henderson will sign a new deal at Anfield through 2023. 

Roma and Inter could lure Alex Telles away from United, according to Calciomercato. 

Arsenal are hoping to complete a deal for Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga within the next week, says the Daily Mail.

Tottenham are eyeing Atalanta's Pierluigi Gollini, says Calciomercato. 

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  • Real Madrid captain Nacho to leave boyhood club Real Madrid captain Nacho to leave boyhood club

    Real Madrid have announced their captain, Nacho, is leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the month.

    Nacho joined Madrid's youth academy in 2001 at 10 years old and is ending a 23-year association with his boyhood club.

    The defender made his debut in 2012, going on to make 364 appearances for the first team, winning 26 trophies, making him the joint-most decorated player in the team's history, along with Luka Modric.

    He captained Los Blancos to their 15th Champions League title in June, lifting the trophy for the sixth time himself. He also won five Club World Cups, four LaLiga titles and two Copa del Reys in his extensive haul.

    In a statement on social media, Nacho said: "Dear Madridistas. I want to dedicate a few words to you, which are too few to express everything I feel at this moment.

    "I am saying goodbye to the club of my life, Real Madrid. I arrived when I was 10 years old. I trained as a person and, as a player, I learned to win and to lose, to fight and to suffer, to enjoy, and to always live with enthusiasm and determination. I learned everything I am today. I have been coming to train in the same place every day for almost 25 years, which is an understatement, learning the values of Madridismo, giving my life and fighting for this crest: you have given me everything.

    "It's very difficult for me, but now it’s time to leave with the confidence and peace of mind of knowing that I have always given my best to represent this crest, on and off the pitch. When I was a boy, I often dreamed of playing in our stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, and today I have the honour of ending my time as the captain who managed to lift our 15th Champions League.

    "There are no words to express my feelings. I always wanted my end as a Real Madrid player to be beautiful and at the top, and I can tell you that it is impossible to have a better one than this."

    Nacho, who is currently representing Spain at Euro 2024, is expected to move to the Saudi Pro League when his contract runs out, with Al-Qadsiah the favourites to sign him.

  • Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke

    Former England strikers Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have defended their criticism of the Three Lions' "terrible" displays at Euro 2024 after Harry Kane said pundits should be more supportive. 

    England have four points ahead of their final Group C fixture against Slovenia, though they were uninspired as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Serbia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

    Their performance in the latter match was fiercely criticised, with Lineker describing the display as "s***" on his 'The Rest is Football' podcast.

    England captain Kane hit back at those comments on Sunday, pointing out ex-players like Lineker failed to win international silverware and telling them to be more "helpful".

    On Monday's edition of the podcast, Lineker said of Kane's response: "I thought he answered it fine.

    "There was one bit there where he says we have responsibilities as ex-England players, that we should know better and that we never won anything or words to that effect.

    "Fine, he's absolutely right. But I will say one thing; the last thing in the world we want to be is downbeat and critical. 

    "We want the England team to perform well on the pitch. The best punditry of all is when England play well."

    Shearer was also scathing of Gareth Southgate's team after the Denmark game and has refused to back down, saying: "It's important we never get personal. That's the most important thing.

    "They were terrible and we have to say that. If England were brilliant we'd say they were brilliant, that's the way it is.

    "As a player you always get the right of reply on the pitch. I have no problem with what we said, I wouldn't take anything back we said.

    "England were really poor. I think the vast majority of the country, and even the boys in the squad, will know they were awful against Denmark. There were hardly any positives."

  • Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica: Wasteful Selecao frustrated in Copa America opener Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica: Wasteful Selecao frustrated in Copa America opener

    Brazil began their Copa America campaign with a frustrating goalless draw against Costa Rica at the SoFi Stadium.

    The Selecao dominated large periods of the Group D clash. Marquinhos saw a goal ruled out following a VAR review, while Lucas Paqueta rattled the woodwork from distance.

    Yet despite enjoying just under three-quarters of the possession and registering 19 shots to their opponents' two, they could not find the breakthrough and failed to win their opening match in the competition for the first time since 2016.

    Dorival Junior's side subsequently lost early ground on Group D leaders Colombia, who beat Paraguay 2-1 earlier in the day.

    Brazil quickly asserted their authority on proceedings in California as they sought the game's opening goal.

    Rodrygo steered a shot wide following a jinking run into the penalty area, while Raphinha was denied by Patrick Sequeira after latching onto a diagonal ball over the top of the Costa Rica defence.

    The Selecao thought they had broken the deadlock on the half-hour mark when Marquinhos applied the finishing touch after Rodrygo glanced Raphinha's free-kick towards the far post, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside following a VAR review. 

    Rodrygo fired narrowly over in first-half stoppage time and, then on 63 minutes, Lucas Paqueta saw his ferocious 25-yard drive crash against Sequeira's left upright.

    Dorival withdrew the quiet Vinicius Junior in favour of Endrick and Savinho for the final 20 minutes, and both looked dangerous upon their introductions.

    The latter's cross almost saw Costa Rica defender Haxzel Quiros head into his own net with his blushes spared by Sequeira, who then beat away Guilherme Arana's fierce volley.

    Savinho was involved again in stoppage time as he teed up one final opportunity for Bruno Guimaraes, who bent his first-time shot narrowly wide to compound a frustrating start to the tournament for the nine-time winners.

    Selecao stutter on return to States

    It is fair to say Brazil do not boost particularly fond recent memories of playing in the United States in recent years.

    After all, the Selecao crashed out in the group stages when the Copa America was last held in this nation eight years ago.

    Neymar, who was part of that side, watched on from the stands having been ruled out of this tournament through injury.

    Try as they may, his team-mates just could not break down their opponents and turn their dominance into the elusive goal, with just three of their 19 attempts on target.

    Fresh from playing a starring role in Real Madrid’s LaLiga and Champions League double, Vinicius Junior was unable to inspire his nation – his tallies of 45 touches and 23 passes were the lowest recorded by any of Brazil’s outfield starters.

    On a brighter note, Marquinhos made his 16th Copa America appearance – with only Dani Alves (19) and Thiago Silva (18) playing more times for the Selecao in the competition since 2000 – though a VAR review prevented him from marking the occasion with a goal.

    Another clean sheet for repellent Costa Rica

    Costa Rica were heavy underdogs on their return to the Copa America for the first time in eight years.

    Not since 2004 have Los Ticos progressed from the group stages of this competition, but they certainly know what it takes to claim a scalp on the big stage.

    Exactly 10 years ago, they beat Uruguay and Italy to top Group D, which also featured England, on the way to reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.

    Fast forward a decade and Joel Campbell, who was part of that side, came off the bench for his 140th cap as his nation halted a run of nine successive defeats by Brazil. 

    More impressively, Costa Rica have kept clean sheets in each of their last four competitive games.

    Their failure to record a single shot on target for the first time in a Copa America match since 2011 will be a slight concern, but that defensive stubbornness will stand them in good stead as they look to progress in this tournament.

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