Rumour Has It: Chelsea prepare £120m Sancho swoop

By Sports Desk December 22, 2019

Could Chelsea gazump their Premier League rivals in the race for Jadon Sancho?

According to reports, the Blues are working on a club-record deal for the Borussia Dortmund winger.

Frank Lampard was among Sancho's idols growing up and the Chelsea boss has been open about his desire to bring in a replacement for Eden Hazard.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO SET FOR STAMFORD BRIDGE?

Chelsea could celebrate the end of their transfer ban by splashing out £120million to secure Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho, according to The Sun.

The huge price tag attached to one of Europe's brightest prospects has reportedly quashed Liverpool's interest and Manchester United are also said to be at risk of missing out on a long-term target.

The Sun claims Chelsea head coach Lampard believes Sancho, 19, can be the man to fill the attacking void left by Hazard's close-season departure to Real Madrid.

Sancho has scored nine Bundesliga goals this season and hit eight in seven games across all competitions prior to Dortmund's 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim on Friday.

 

ROUND-UP

- LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Premier League champions Manchester City are monitoring Marquinhos' contract impasse at Paris Saint-Germain, writes Le 10 Sport. The Ligue 1 leaders are reportedly unwilling to meet the Brazilian's financial demands as they seek to extend his deal beyond 2022.

- There is a "big question mark" hanging over Paco Alcacer's future at Dortmund as the striker struggles to carve out a regular Bundesliga starting spot, reports Ruhr Nachrichten.

- Tottenham have opened talks over a January move for Flamengo midfielder Gerson, says 90min. The 22-year-old started for Flamengo in their Club World Cup final loss to Liverpool on Saturday.

- Barcelona included Arturo Vidal in their starting XI against Deportivo Alaves on Sunday and are now seemingly determined to block his expected Camp Nou exit. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Chilean's agent has met with club executives in a bid to secure a mid-season switch to Serie A, where Inter are rumoured to be his strongest suitors, but €20m will not be enough to do a deal.

- The Nerazzurri's city rivals might have more success in making a midfield acquisition. La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Stefano Pioli's Milan are interested in United outcast Nemanja Matic, who has been linked to Inter.

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    Koke insists Atletico Madrid's focus is not slipping in LaLiga after their lead was cut again this weekend as they drew with Real Madrid.

    Atleti are now just three points clear of second-placed Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand, as they failed to respond after Ronald Koeman's men won on Saturday.

    Luis Suarez opened the scoring in Sunday's Derbi, but Atleti's winless run against Madrid was extended to 10 league matches thanks to Karim Benzema's late leveller.

    It means Diego Simeone's side have won just nine points from six matches since the start of February, a period in which Barca have claimed 16 and Madrid 14.

    But Atleti will have the opportunity to increase their advantage again on Wednesday when they play their leftover fixture against Athletic Bilbao.

    And Koke says his team are ready to fight again, eager to improve on a run of one win in five in all competitions.

    "It is you who said the league was over and such and such," he told Movistar. "This goes until the season is over.

    "We have to focus on Wednesday's game, when we can earn points while our rivals cannot."

    As well as their long sequence without victory against Madrid in all league matches, Atleti are yet to beat their neighbours at the Wanda Metropolitano in four attempts in LaLiga.

    "We were superior, but they can score at any moment," Koke said. "Fresh people came on and the team tried to push forward, but we have had a great rival who have a lot of potential to score goals.

    "It is true that we have not been able to beat them here yet, but we have not been able to win [against Madrid] for a long time."

    Benzema's equaliser was the last of eight attempts from the former France striker, three of which drew outstanding stops from Jan Oblak, who ended with seven saves.

    "I was angry, because a few minutes earlier I was able to score but the goalkeeper made good saves," explained Benzema, whose 371st LaLiga appearance set a new Madrid record among non-Spanish players.

    "I think we played a good game. It was very difficult against a good team. I think the first half was for them and the second half for us. It was a good point."

    The point made Zinedine Zidane just the second Madrid coach to avoid defeat in his first four away games against Atleti in LaLiga history, following in the footsteps of Luis Molowny in 1986.

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    Luis Suarez scored a dazzling goal and was named man of the match, but on the day his former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard finally became a league champion, did Suarez have his own 'Gerrard's slip'?

    Championships are often decided on fine margins, and it is almost seven years since Liverpool's Premier League title hopes were brutally hit by Chelsea, when Gerrard's famous stumble let in Demba Ba to score. Manchester City snatched the silverware from the long-time favourites, and Liverpool had to wait another six years before landing the trophy.

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    How he has been revived this season under Diego Simeone, and what a moment it would be were he and Atletico to carry off the title in Spain this year.

    But this game at the Wanda Metropolitano finished 1-1, and Suarez will know he is partly responsible for the home side not seeing out victory.

    In the 87th minute, Atletico had a glorious chance on the counter-attack to go 2-0 in front. Suarez, in plenty of space inside the Madrid half, could not find the pass that would have sent Saul Niguez through on goal, instead pushing his team-mate wide, and the chance was snuffed out.

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    Kingpins, that's what Suarez and Benzema are to their teams. Like Gerrard at Liverpool. They are the players whose influence is felt throughout the team, the squad, the club and beyond.

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    This was a result that would have been cheered in Barcelona, if they were paying attention in Catalonia and not all-consumed by the elections for a new club president.

    Maybe a Madrid win would have been an even better result for Barcelona's title prospects, but nobody among the Blaugranas would dare admit that.

    Barcelona sit second, just three points behind Atletico now, and Simeone's team must still visit Camp Nou. How Suarez must be relishing that, and how he must be relieved that Atletico remain in the box seat in this three-team battle.

    He was excellent for large parts of this game, hitting the target with four of his six shots and typically delighting in winding up the opposition.

    Benzema, by contrast, looked far from sharp until the final half hour, when the player who was returning from a three-week injury lay-off found something extra.

    Zidane had labelled Benzema "a joy for football" before this game, but by the break he had registered three attempts, none of which hit the target; a tame shot and two stray headers.

    This game seemed ripe for Atletico to end their nine-game winless run in LaLiga games against Madrid (D5 L4), with Marcos Llorente's skilful evasion of Nacho and Suarez's world-class finish from the pass that followed a real treat for the eyes. It was the Uruguayan's 10th goal in 13 LaLiga games against Madrid.

    It was Suarez's 17th goal from his 29th shot on target this season in LaLiga, and by early in the second half the expected goal (xG) rating for each side showed Atletico were leading by 1.2 to 0.4.

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    "We know how difficult this championship is," Simeone said in his pre-match news conference, pointing to how Madrid and Barcelona have been gradually reeling in Atletico in recent weeks.

    It may get a whole lot harder now.

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