Rumour Has It: Chelsea to table new bumper Lukaku bid

By Sports Desk August 03, 2021

European champions Chelsea have been in the market for a new striker this off-season.

The Blues chased Erling Haaland without success and have now set their sights on Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku was on Chelsea's books from 2011 and 2014 but has since become one of the world's best forwards.

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA TO TABLE NEW BUMPER LUKAKU BID

Chelsea  are preparing to table a new bid of between £100million and £110m (€120-130m) bid for Inter forward  Lukaku  claims Fabrizio Romano.

The Blues had an initial £85m (€100m) offer, including Marcos Alonso, for the Belgian striker rejected by Inter.

The Sun claim Lukaku is keen on a return to Chelsea, citing "unfinished business" from his previous stint in London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are not guaranteed to retain Real Madrid target  Kylian Mbappe , reports AS. The France superstar has already informed PSG that he will not extend his current contract, due to expire in 2022, and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is set to take over talks.

- Aymeric Laporte has told Manchester City he wants to leave to return to Spain this off-season, reports 90min. Barcelona and Real Madrid are both interested in the Spain international, who is not first choice at City.

- Arsenal have proposed a player-plus-cash deal, believed to be worth £60m, for Leicester City's James Maddison according to Football.London, but negotiations are "very slow". 

- Tottenham will complete a £47m (€55m) deal for Atalanta defender  Cristian Romero imminently according to Romano. Atalanta will fill the void by signing Merih Demiral from Juventus.

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    Milan will attempt to recover from a miserable January when they do battle with in-form Inter in a derby at San Siro on Sunday.

    The Rossoneri have suffered three consecutive defeats in all competitions, conceding 12 goals in the process to lose the Supercoppa Italiana and leave their hopes of retaining the Serie A title in tatters.

    Stefano Pioli's side have slipped to fifth, but a victory this weekend would put them above their second-placed city rivals.

    Either way, there are appears to be no stopping Napoli in their quest for the Scudetto, with the runaway leaders holding a 13-point advantage at the summit.

    Stats Perform picks out the standout Opta numbers for a derby Milan fans may be dreading given their alarming slump.

    Milan suffer the January blues

    It has certainly not been a happy new year for Milan so far, and a 5-2 home defeat to Sassuolo last Sunday saw them sink to a new low.

    That came on the back of a 4-0 hammering at Lazio, and Inter also capitalised on their defensive frailties to win the Supercoppa Italiana with a 3-0 victory last month.

    Milan have extended the season of goodwill into 2023, and they made unwanted history in January, with the 18 goals they conceded more than they had previously shipped in any single month since records began in 1929-30.

    The last time they lost four games in a row was between January and February 2017 under Vincenzo Montella.

    Inter to deny Milan a long-awaited double?

    Inter have won their past two games in all competitions and were able to keep defender Milan Skriniar during the transfer window, although he is expected to join Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season.

    Simone Inzaghi's side have lost their past two Serie A derbies against Milan, but they have not suffered three losses in a row to their fierce rivals since a run of four defeats on the spin between November 2002 and February 2004.

    Rafael Leao scored twice in a 3-2 win when Milan were the home team in the Serie A clash in September, and they will be striving to complete a first league double over Inter since the 2010-11 campaign.

    Nerazzurri's strong home form built on solid foundations

    While Milan can't stop conceding goals, Inter have had no such trouble at home in Serie A this season.

    They have only let five goals in at home in the league, the joint-best record along with Roma.

    Only Napoli (28) have earned more points at home this season than Inzaghi's men, who have 24 from 10 games – winning eight and losing two.

     

    More derby delight for Giroud?

    Milan striker Olivier Giroud has scored in both Serie A derbies he has played in against Inter.

    The France international could become the first player to find the back of the net in his first three derbies for Milan in the three-points-for-a-win era (since 1994-95).

    Giroud was on target in the drubbing at the hands of Sassuolo last weekend, that goal taking his tally in Serie A to six for the season.

  • Conte could make shock Spurs return for Man City game after midweek surgery Conte could make shock Spurs return for Man City game after midweek surgery

    Antonio Conte could be on the Tottenham bench for Sunday's Premier League game against Manchester City, just four days after having his gallbladder removed.

    That possibility was revealed by his assistant coach, Cristian Stellini, who would take the reins if Conte has to wait for his return to work.

    Stellini held the fort at Friday's pre-match press conference, and there is a strong chance of him remaining in charge for the home clash with title-chasing City.

    Yet Conte said within hours of the operation that he was "already feeling better", and that improvement has continued according to his second-in-command.

    Stellini said: "We don't know yet when Antonio is coming back. Everything is possible. The surgery was good and he's recovering well.

    "At the moment he's at home. We have two days before the game and everything can happen."

    Asked whether Conte could therefore be involved on Sunday, Stellini said: "We don't know yet. The decision will be made tomorrow. We are ready to do everything.

    "Probably a doctor that did the surgery, they have to decide for him. We have 48 hours from today to decide, so we have time."

    Conte was experiencing severe pain which necessitated the surgery, and usually a patient will need a longer recovery than four days after such an operation.

    The UK's National Health Service suggests a patient will usually require two weeks of recovery before returning to a desk job, and longer for manual work.

    Given Conte is usually an animated figure on the Tottenham touchline, his role seemingly falls into the latter category, and Stellini said it would be important for his fellow Italian to be prudent once he does come back.

    "I think no one here can keep Antonio calm. He knows that to have a surgery and a surprise like he had, it's not easy," Stellini said.

    "He's an intelligent man, so he knows what's happened to him. It's not the worst surgery you can have, but it's a surgery. You have to be careful and Antonio has to do it."

    Stellini said Conte's staff, including first-team coach Ryan Mason, were ready to carry out his usual duties.

    "Antonio sends me a message and he trusts us completely, one hundred per cent trust in the staff," Stellini said. "We are focused more than normal because we have to do what Antonio normally does, and Antonio is happy about our job."

    He said Conte had been "so sad" about the prospect of having to have surgery, and it comes at a time when fifth-placed Tottenham do not want to risk becoming cut off from the top four.

    They trail Newcastle United and Manchester United by three points, having played one game more than both, raising the stakes for a rematch with City, a fortnight after Spurs squandered a 2-0 half-time lead and lost 4-2 to the same opposition at the Etihad Stadium.

    Stellini said Tottenham are "scared, in the right way" about the game, expressing optimism the outcome can be different this time, with Richarlison fit to play and new recruit Pedro Porro in line for a possible debut.

    "This is the game you are waiting for, and you want to play every time this type of game," Stellini said.

    "The players are excited. I feel the players are so focused on this match. For sure, we have to be worried in the right way, speaking about not only [Erling] Haaland but all the team they have.

    "It's a great team, maybe it's the greatest team in the world, and they fight every time to win a trophy.

    "So we are scared, in the right way. We respect them, but we think we can repeat the same first half we had in the last game and we can do it for 90 minutes."

  • PSG boss Galtier defends handling of Mbappe as injury blow jolts French giants PSG boss Galtier defends handling of Mbappe as injury blow jolts French giants

    Kylian Mbappe has not been mishandled by Paris Saint-Germain since the World Cup and injuries are "part of the job", coach Christophe Galtier said on Friday.

    Mbappe is expected to miss PSG's Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich on February 14 after suffering a hamstring injury in the win at Montpellier on Wednesday.

    Facing three weeks on the sidelines, Mbappe should also sit out Ligue 1 games against Toulouse, Monaco and Lille, as well as the Coupe de France clash with Marseille.

    Considering Mbappe has 25 goals in 26 appearances for PSG this season, this is a major blow at a significant stage of the campaign, with Neymar also on the injured list.

    The Toulouse game comes on Saturday as PSG look to extend their five-point lead over second-placed Marseille, with Lionel Messi heading into the fixture without his fellow star attackers.

    Galtier has considered whether he has played Mbappe too much since the France striker returned from Qatar 2022. His verdict is that PSG have protected Mbappe as much as possible.

    "We are in a unique season, with a World Cup in the middle," Galtier said, "and I realise that at many other clubs with many internationals, there has been fatigue that has generated automatically and injuries.

    "As a philosophy, I am in the habit of saying injuries are part of the job.

    "We're sorry above all for Kylian. He is a competitor and always wants to be involved, but we can't have a season where we don't have physical problems, that's part of a season and part of the competition. 

    "It's even more so for a club with internationals who are in demand all the time, as much with club as with country."

     

    Galtier said PSG "took a lot of precautions for Kylian's return".

    The striker reported for duty with the capital giants in the midweek after France's World Cup final penalty shoot-out loss to Argentina in December, illustrating his eagerness to get back into club action.

    He was then allowed a holiday in January, with Mbappe travelling to the United States for that break.

    "I don't think Kylian played too much," Galtier said, "and from the moment you play, there is always an element of risk."

    Veteran defender Sergio Ramos, hit by a thigh problem at Montpellier, is another who will sit out the Toulouse game. The onus will fall on Messi to drive PSG to victory on Saturday, and the Argentine great scored in the 3-1 success at Montpellier.

    "Leo Messi was able to take matters into his own hands against Montpellier, as soon as Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos went off," said Galtier.

    "He was a natural leader and the players put themselves at his service. I congratulated everyone for doing the work necessary to get this victory, which was difficult to obtain.

    "The absence of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is inevitably damaging since there were many connections between these three players. I now have to organise the team, taking into account these combined absences.

    "Leo Messi will continue in his usual role. It will be up to the players who will be at his side to seize the opportunities and for everyone to raise their level of play."

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