The transfer window may be closed but the rumours do not stop!

Christian Eriksen was unable to secure a move away from Tottenham prior to Monday's deadline.

Since then, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Inter have been linked to the Spurs star.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO PREPARING JANUARY MOVE FOR ERIKSEN

Atletico Madrid are set to return for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, according to AS.

Eriksen was linked to the likes of Atletico, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United but a move did not materialise.

Now, Atletico, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation as Eriksen prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Mirror, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is set to be offered a chance to move to the Premier League. The Croatian veteran was linked to Manchester United but a move failed to transpire prior to the transfer window closing.

- LaLiga pair Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao are keeping tabs on Chelsea and Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, reports the Mirror. It comes amid concerns the Spaniard could lose his spot in the Chelsea XI to Reece James.

- Brazilian side Flamengo are interested in signing free agent Claudio Marchisio, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Juventus star Marchisio is without a club since leaving Zenit. Flamengo were also close to luring Mario Balotelli before he opted for Brescia.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new defender in January. The report comes after Aymeric Laporte's knee injury left City with just two fit centre-backs – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to TNT Sports. The expansion franchise – who are backed by the former Manchester United star and will enter MLS in 2020 – have also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

Eden Hazard has been named the UEFA Europa League Player of the Year for 2018-19, after leading Chelsea to the trophy.

Hazard scored twice in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Premier League rivals Arsenal in May's final in Baku, his only goals in Europe's second-tier competition last term.

His double proved to be his final Chelsea goals, with the Belgium forward moving to Real Madrid in the off season.

The 28-year-old overcame competition from former team-mate Olivier Giroud, top scorer in last season's Europa League with 11 goals, and current Madrid club-mate Luka Jovic, who helped Eintracht Frankfurt to the semi-finals, where they were beaten by Chelsea.

"Thank you to everyone who voted for me and I'd like to wish everybody playing in the Europa League good luck," Hazard said in a video interview broadcast ahead of the draw for this season's group stage in Monaco.

Adrian saved from Tammy Abraham as Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to win the first all-English UEFA Super Cup following a 2-2 draw in Istanbul.

Olivier Giroud gave Frank Lampard's side a deserved first-half lead on Wednesday, but the introduction of Roberto Firmino as a half-time substitute changed the game for the Reds.

Firmino quickly set up Mane for the equaliser and, in the first period of extra time, the Senegal star smashed home from his team-mate's pass again before Jorginho equalised from the penalty spot.

But it was the European champions who triumphed in the shoot-out, Alisson's deputy Adrian denying Abraham with his right leg to secure victory for Jurgen Klopp's side.

New Real Madrid signings Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic are in the running to be crowned 2018-19 Europa League Player of the Season.

Hazard and Jovic were named on the final three-man shortlist for the annual award alongside Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

The Belgium international scored twice on his farewell appearance for Chelsea in May's 4-1 final win over Arsenal in Baku before completing a reported €100million (£88m) switch to Madrid.

His new team-mate Jovic starred for Eintracht Frankfurt during their run to the semi-finals, notching 10 goals in 14 appearances.

But neither player could match Giroud for goals as the Frenchman topped the Europa League scoring charts with 11, including the opener against former club Arsenal, while also registering five assists.

The final three were selected by coaches of the 48 clubs that competed in last season's group stage, alongside a journalist from all 55 UEFA nations.

The winner will be announced on August 30 ahead of the 2019-20 group stage draw.

Frank Lampard is the perfect choice as Chelsea coach while they are operating under a transfer ban, according to striker Olivier Giroud.

The 41-year-old was appointed as Maurizio Sarri's successor on a three-year deal last week.

Chelsea are currently unable to register any new players because of a two-window transfer ban imposed by FIFA - which they have appealed through the Court of Arbitration of Sport - but Giroud insisted iconic former midfielder Lampard can get the best out of the players already available to him - including the younger members in the squad.

"I like his energy and desire to always improve and win," Giroud told Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

"I think he is the right person. He is basically a Chelsea legend.

"We all believe in his quality to improve the team and with the transfer ban it's a good opportunity for the young players to show what they can do.

"Now we're excited to play the first league game."

Giroud scored twice for Chelsea as they beat St Patrick's Athletic 4-0 in Saturday's friendly, with Mason Mount and Emerson Palmieri also on target in Dublin.

The Blues have five more matches to play before taking on Manchester United in their opening Premier League fixture of the 2019-20 campaign on August 11.

And with a month of pre-season still to go, centre-back David Luiz claimed Lampard's methods are already starting to rub off on his team-mates.

"We are starting to understand what Lamps wants from us," he told Chelsea TV. 

"It has been good to see Lamps and the staff because they know this club well and they deserve this opportunity, so there is a positive energy. 

"It is always important to be positive. It is great to start pre-season this way and we need to understand the responsibility. We need to work a lot and understand what we have to do."

Frank Lampard saw Olivier Giroud score a brace and academy product Mason Mount also get on the scoresheet as Chelsea beat St Patrick's Athletic 4-0 in a pre-season friendly.

After seeing his new charges pegged back by a late goal in a 1-1 midweek draw against Bohemians, Lampard enjoyed his first win since taking the reigns as head coach nine days earlier.

Giroud's brace equalled the number of Premier League goals he scored for Chelsea in 2018-19, while Mount's lively performance will have come as no surprise to Lampard, who managed the 20-year-old during his loan spell at Derby County last season.

Michy Batshuayi, who scored against Bohemians, impressed again in the early stages at Richmond Park, where he crashed a shot against the crossbar after 14 minutes.

Moments later, Mount latched onto Mateo Kovacic's well-timed pass and rolled the ball calmly into the net.

Ross Barkley hit the post for Chelsea before Emerson Palmieri's long-range strike slipped through goalkeeper Barry Murphy's hands and into the net.

Just before the hour Giroud met Kenedy's cross with an unstoppable volley, beating Murphy at his near post, and the France international netted again two minutes from the end to send a message to his new coach ahead of the season.

Maurizio Sarri's spell as Chelsea boss is officially over after just 11 months in charge as it was confirmed on Sunday he is returning to Serie A with Juventus.

The former Napoli boss lifted the Europa League and finished third in the Premier League during his only season at Stamford Bridge, while also only missing out on EFL Cup glory in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the final.

But Sarri never truly won over Chelsea supporters with his style of play and a new man - likely to be Blues legend Frank Lampard - will now take over ahead of the new season.

Lampard has just one year of managerial experience under his belt, having guided Derby County to the Championship play-off final in 2018-19, yet he is considered the frontrunner to succeed Sarri.

Here, we look at the winners and losers following the Italian's exit and Lampard's possible appointment.


LOSERS

Jorginho

He was the marquee signing lured to Chelsea last year following Sarri's arrival and was supposed to be the player that personified his coach's style of play. That in many ways turned out to be true, but not in a good way. Pass-master Jorginho was often criticised by his own supporters last season, not helped by Sarri's decision to play him in the position favoured by fan favourite N'Golo Kante, and it remains to be seen whether he has a future at Stamford Bridge under the new management.

Gianfranco Zola

Zola, whose return to Chelsea in a coaching capacity seemed like a shrewd piece of business at the time, is expected to make way during the close-season as part of a backroom reshuffle. Each member of Sarri's coaching staff reportedly only had one-year deals and that was no different for Zola, who it is said will not form part of Lampard's team.

Gonzalo Higuain

Chelsea chiefs will argue they backed Sarri in January by bringing in Higuain from Juventus in a complicated and protracted deal. The Blues have the option of signing the striker on a permanent basis, but that now seems even more unlikely to happen following Sarri's departure. Another reunion with the man who got so much out of him at Napoli awaits, but Juventus have already loaned him out twice and his chances will surely be limited in a side that already contains Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Moise Kean and Mario Mandzukic.

 

WINNERS

Olivier Giroud

The Frenchman did not hide his frustration at a lack of first-team chances last season, made all the more disappointing by the fact that he regularly took his opportunities when they arrived in the Europa League. Chelsea triggered a one-year extension in Giroud's contract last month and he may now have a bigger part to play, especially given that Higuain - used regularly through the middle by Sarri - is seemingly heading back to his parent club.

N'Golo Kante

Easily the most frustrating of Sarri's tactical tweaks, the experiment to use Kante out of position went on for far too long - eight months too long, in the view of many Shed End regulars. The Word Cup winner, widely considered to be the best defensive midfielder in the world in the two seasons leading up to Sarri's arrival, was used on the right of a three-man midfield. Moving Kante back into his favoured holding role should be the first tweak made by the next manager..

The youngsters

Sarri was reluctant to use Callum Hudson-Odoi for large parts of last season, despite coming in for criticism from the stands, and there was also limited playing time for many of the other talented youngsters in Chelsea's bloated squad. With Sarri no longer around, though, and a two-window transfer ban hanging over the club, the younger players may play a more significant role from next season - not least the likes of Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori following their successful time on loan in the Championship with Lampard's Derby.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud admitted he found Maurizio Sarri's decision to sign Gonzalo Higuain rather than give him a regular starting place "annoying", but stressed he remains committed to the club.

Giroud made just seven Premier League starts among 27 top-flight appearances for the Blues in Sarri's first campaign in charge at Stamford Bridge, scoring two goals as Chelsea finished third in the table.

He was utilised more often in the club's charge to Europa League glory with 11 goals in 14 appearances, but he revealed the signing of Higuain in January left a sour taste.

Higuain arrived on loan as Sarri looked to a player he knew well from his time in charge of Napoli for firepower rather than giving Giroud more game time.

The Argentine netted five goals in 14 Premier League appearances, during which time Giroud spoke to Sarri about his reasons for overlooking him.

"It is true that at one point I went to see him [Sarri] when I did not understand his choices," Giroud told reporters ahead of France's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra. 

"He gave me explanations. What was annoying is in January, when he preferred to recruit an attacker who he knew very well, Higuain, it was not easy for me to reap any benefits.

"As usual, I tried to stay focused to prove that I could play. I tried to stay focused to prove that he was wrong about some of the choices.

"But when you bring in a player in January it's hard to put him back on the bench and disown him."

Giroud, 32, signed a one-year contract extension in May and, with Chelsea currently unable to sign new players due to a transfer ban, he remains optimistic about his chances of playing regularly in 2019-20.

Prior to his arrival he spent five-and-a-half years at Arsenal, and he expressed his desire to stay in English football for the foreseeable future while hinting that changes are afoot at Stamford Bridge, where Sarri's future is the subject of speculation.

"I have at least another year in England and the chances are it will be more than a year," said Giroud. "I do not see myself anywhere other than in Chelsea.

"I did not have a lot of playing time in the league, and it's not something that pleased me, but I tried to be effective every time I played. I did not give up, despite my frustration.

"We're going to start over for next year with a few changes, I'm happy and I cannot wait to get back.

"I won a title this year. It's a great pride to continue at a club that wins titles and is expected to challenge for the Premier League.

"I am very happy to continue, whoever the coach is next year."

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas thanked Chelsea after their Europa League final victory over Arsenal confirmed his team's return to the Champions League group stage.

Chelsea beat Premier League rivals Arsenal 4-1 in Baku on Wednesday, a result that means Lyon will not have to compete in a qualifying round next season.

Lyon will enter 2019-20 with ex-Arsenal left-back Sylvinho in charge after the departure of head coach Bruno Genesio, who was also congratulated by Aulas.

Eden Hazard struck twice with Pedro and Olivier Giroud – who was linked with Lyon before renewing his Chelsea deal – also on target to earn Maurizio Sarri his first major silverware in charge.

"Bravo to Chelsea for this beautiful victory in the Europa League thanks to N'Golo [Kante] and Olivier who gave us the happiness to participate in the group phase of the Champions League," Aulas wrote on Twitter.

"Bravo and thanks to Bruno for this tremendous performance."

Perhaps it was inevitable a game between two teams from the same league played in the middle of nowhere often felt more like a pre-season warm-up than a major European final, hardly providing the fitting farewell Eden Hazard's Chelsea career deserved.

Arguments over travel and ticketing arrangements dominated the build-up to Wednesday's Europa League final between Arsenal and the Blues, with only a few thousand fans of either side able to attend and witness Hazard signing off in style.

UEFA selecting Baku as the host city for the final always seemed a curious call - money and Azerbaijan's increasing use of soft power plays the most obvious logical reasons - but once Arsenal qualified it was thrown even more sharply into focus by the Henrikh Mkhitaryan issue.

That the Arsenal playmaker, who featured 11 times in the competition this season, felt unable to travel to Azeri capital over safety concerns will surely be remembered as a blight on the European game. Had it been Lionel Messi or another superstar like Hazard put in Mkhitaryan's position, it is tempting to wonder whether the final would have gone ahead.

UEFA insisted both Arsenal and Mkhitaryan had been guaranteed the player's safety, but it was completely understandable the Armenia international opted not to take any risks. And Arsenal will rightly think they would have been more competitive with Mkhitaryan available, although the gifted midfielder would hardly have stemmed the Hazard-inspired flow of constant Chelsea attacks down the Gunners' right in a chastening 4-1 loss.

Had Baku been equipped to hold a game of this magnitude - Arsenal needed to win to gain qualification for the Champions League, which Chelsea had already secured via a top-four finish in the Premier League - UEFA's decision may have been forgiven, or at least forgotten.

But the vast Olympic Stadium was a bad choice regardless of the complications of trying to get to Baku from London, with the cavernous stands situated a huge distance away from the pitch and featuring plenty of empty seats. Those hardy supporters who did make a near 3,000-mile trip would have welcomed binoculars.

Speaking of the pitch, it did not appear conducive to hosting a final, with regular bobbles resulting in bad control, misplaced passes and general low quality in a first half of non-action. Even a magician like Hazard initially struggled to cast his spell on the contest.

Chelsea adjusted to testing conditions slower than Arsenal, who had a strong penalty appeal rejected when Alexandre Lacazette went down under a challenge from Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Although VAR was in use, video replays were somewhat oddly not called into play.

By half-time Chelsea were on top and three goals in 20 minutes after the restart then set up the first major silverware of Maurizio Sarri's career, in what might well prove the Italian's final game in charge of the club. Juventus are reportedly keen to appoint him as Massimiliano Allegri's successor, Sarri having pushed the Bianconeri all the way with Napoli in Serie A last term.

Hazard is also virtually certain to depart, with Real Madrid set to complete a long-mooted move for the Belgium star, and he was able to mark what was surely his farewell appearance with two goals.

"I think it is a goodbye," Hazard told BT Sport after the game and Chelsea will miss him something rotten, especially if their appeal against a two-window transfer ban is not overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

In Petr Cech's last game before retirement, the veteran goalkeeper's brilliant low save to deny Olivier Giroud in the first half was left moot as his own exit ahead of a reported return to Stamford Bridge to take an off the field role turned into a comparative nightmare.

And for Arsenal there was only the prospect of a horribly long trip home from Baku, which should never have hosted this final or Hazard's farewell.

Olivier Giroud says he refused to celebrate his goal in Chelsea's Europa League final triumph over Arsenal because the Gunners "changed his life".

The France international opened the scoring in Baku shortly after half-time – his 11th of this season's competition – to set his side on their way to a resounding 4-1 win.

Giroud joined Chelsea in January 2018 after spending five and a half years with the Gunners and says it would not have felt right to celebrate against a club that has given him so much.

"These two clubs changed my life, they gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League," he told BT Sport.

"I didn't want to celebrate against Arsenal but I am so proud to win this trophy with Chelsea.

"It was a good final and we have been better and more efficient in the second half.

"I am very proud. This team deserved to win something. It was special for me and I am happy for this club.

"When you give me the chance to get game time, I always try my best. It was our second target to win the Europa League after finishing in the top four, so I feel blessed."

Eden Hazard's brace helped Maurizio Sarri claim his first major trophy as Chelsea crushed Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday.

In perhaps his final appearance before a mooted move to Real Madrid, star man Hazard struck two second half goals to confirm Chelsea's second triumph in six seasons in this competition.

Olivier Giroud sparked the landslide against his former employers in the 49th minute before Pedro put a second past retiring Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Alex Iwobi pulled one back in between Hazard's double but Arsenal faded horribly after half-time and, having finished fifth in the Premier League, are now consigned to another season outside the Champions League.

Kepa Arrizabalaga exuded nerves early with a poor punch and was fortunate that referee Gianluca Rocchi overlooked a slight touch on Alexandre Lacazette when the forward went to ground in the 18th minute.

Cech, Chelsea's keeper in their 2013 success, appeared a picture of calm at the other end.

The 37-year-old parried an Emerson Palmieri shot and then brilliantly clawed away Giroud's angled effort.

He could do little to stop the striker a second time, however, with World Cup winner Giroud stooping to nod in Emerson's cross from the left.

Arsenal's encouraging start had fallen apart and Hazard teed up Pedro to slide in Chelsea's second with an hour played, before Ainsley Maitland-Niles bundled into Giroud's back.

Chelsea's talismanic Belgian made no mistake from the resultant spot-kick, although substitute Iwobi momentarily give Unai Emery's men a glimmer of hope courtesy of a thunderous volley.

But the ex-Sevilla coach's bid for a fourth Europa League crown was shattered within three minutes, Hazard capping off a classy combination with the tournament's top scorer Giroud to completing the humiliation.

Olivier Giroud has signed a new one-year contract at Chelsea, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Giroud, who joined from Arsenal in January 2018, will now remain with the Blues for the 2019-20 season.

The striker has scored a competition-high 10 Europa League goals this season and is set to face his old club in next week's final in Baku.

And he will do so with his future settled by putting pen to paper on a 12-month extension.

"I am very happy to sign a new contract," France forward Giroud told Chelsea's official club website.

"I really wanted to stay at least one more year - I have felt a part of the team, the family, since the beginning and hopefully there will be more trophies to come."

Giroud had been linked with a return to Ligue 1, with Lyon having expressed an interest in signing him on a free transfer and the 32-year-old also indicating he was open to the move.

But with Chelsea under a two-window transfer ban - which the club are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport - they have opted to keep Giroud at Stamford Bridge.

"We are very pleased that Olivier will be a Chelsea player for another season," said Blues director Marina Granovskaia. "Since joining us 18 months ago, he has at times had to be patient and wait for opportunities, but has still been able to make a positive contribution to the team.

"Whether it is his unselfish link-up play or his 10 Europa League goals this season, he has been a crucial member of the squad and we hope he will be able to pick up a second Chelsea winner's medal in Baku later this month to accompany last season's FA Cup win."

Giroud featured in every game as France won last year's World Cup in Russia, although he did not manage to find the net for Didier Deschamps' side.

Olivier Giroud is relishing facing his old club when Chelsea take on Arsenal in the Europa League final.

Giroud is expected to lead the line in the May 29 showpiece, with his 10 Europa League goals the most anyone has scored in this season's tournament.

The World Cup winner left Arsenal for Chelsea in January 2018 but has been linked with a return to Ligue 1 for more playing time at the end of the season.

Giroud therefore has the chance to sign off in style when Maurizio Sarri's side take on the Gunners in Baku.

"I always like playing against my old teams," Giroud told the Daily Mail. "It's going to be tough, and it could be painful if it's not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.

"I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.

"I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away. I knew a few of the players and I'm a sociable person, I always try to communicate. It wasn't difficult to integrate. I always see it as a new challenge. 

"I couldn't have hoped for it to be better. And now I want to win my second trophy with Chelsea, to finish as top scorer and help my team. Our target is to win a trophy every season and this is the last chance."

Giroud previously aired his frustration over his back-up role at Stamford Bridge but indicated he is open to signing a new contract at Chelsea.

"I feel very happy at the club," he said. "Maybe I need a bit more game time but I won't give up. That's my mentality. That's how I'm made. It's not sorted yet but we are talking about another year."

Chelsea's transfer ban - which is being appealed by the club - could see the Blues forced to put faith in young talent, a move that would be welcomed by Giroud.

"The main difference is Arsenal always tried to give the chances to the young players," he added. "It felt like more players formed at the club could have the opportunity to play. Maybe you would get more time at Arsenal. They would be more patient.

"At Chelsea you have to be ready quickly because, in terms of trophies, it has been the best club in England for the last 10 years. You don't have time at Chelsea and when you are young it is quite difficult to find your place.

"You can see we have a very good academy producing very good players and a few of them are in the first team. That is a good example for the future generation.

"I don't want to kill the dreams of these young Chelsea players. They are very talented, but it makes sense because Chelsea invest more in every transfer window and they buy more top players in the world who are more experienced.

"I am just being honest. People who know football and the Premier League and these two clubs, they know Arsene Wenger could not spend too much money. It was the philosophy of the club and because of that — or thanks to that — he would give the opportunity to young players."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a suspected ankle injury in Chelsea's 3-0 friendly win over New England Revolution on Wednesday.

Maurizio Sarri's men continued their preparations for the Europa League final with a comfortable victory, but they were dealt an injury blow in the untimely charity friendly.

Loftus-Cheek, introduced at half-time, came off after appearing to hurt his ankle at Gillette Stadium.

The midfielder went down under a challenge and was in discomfort before being replaced in the 69th minute, the injury a blow ahead of the May 29 decider against Arsenal in Baku.

The friendly looked to be going well for Chelsea, with Ross Barkley scoring a brace to go with an Olivier Giroud header.

Barkley scored in the third minute before Giroud headed in Davide Zappacosta's cross just prior to the half-hour mark as Chelsea outclassed the MLS outfit.

Gonzalo Higuain, who struck the crossbar early in the second half, had an effort hit Barkley before going in to make it 3-0.

But Loftus-Cheek's ankle injury soured what was an otherwise comfortable outing for Chelsea.

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