The coronavirus crisis continues to challenge decision-makers in football's corridors of power and could soon leave some of the game's biggest clubs facing contract conundrums.

Manchester United, Milan and Paris Saint-Germain are among the major European outfits who are due to farewell high-profile players when free agency comes into force on June 30.

Domestic leagues across the world appear increasingly likely to run beyond that deadline, meaning sides up and down the divisions could be forced to renegotiate deals beyond the typical expiry date.

It remains to be seen how governing bodies will approach the unfamiliar territory but Edinson Cavani, Mario Gotze and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be watching closely like dozens more across Europe's top five leagues.

These are the stars and solid supporting cast members whose contract situations are worth monitoring in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

LaLiga

Athletic Bilbao: Aritz Aduriz (retiring), Benat, Mikel San Jose
Atletico Madrid: Antonio Adan
Espanyol: Ander Iturraspe
Granada: Roberto Soldado
Real Valladolid: Hatem Ben Arfa
Sevilla: Ever Banega (joining Al Shabab at end of contract), Nolito
Valencia: Ezequiel Garay
Villarreal: Santi Cazorla 

Premier League

Bournemouth: Ryan Fraser
Burnley: Joe Hart
Chelsea: Olivier Giroud, Pedro, Willian
Liverpool: Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne
Manchester City: David Silva (confirmed he will leave at end of contract)
Manchester United: Nemanja Matic, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Odion Ighalo (loan ends)
Newcastle United: Matty Longstaff
Tottenham: Jan Vertonghen, Japhet Tanganga

Serie A

Atalanta: Jose Luis Palomino
Hellas Verona: Fabio Borini
Inter: Ashley Young
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon
Milan: Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Napoli: Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens

Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen: Charles Aranguiz
Borussia Dortmund: Mario Gotze, Lukasz Piszczek
Hertha Berlin: Salomon Kalou
Schalke: Benjamin Stambouli
Wolfsburg: Robin Knoche

Ligue 1

Lille: Loic Remy
Monaco: Jemerson
Nice: Walter Benitez, Arnaud Lusamba
Paris Saint-Germain: Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier, Tanguy Kouassi, Layvin Kurzawa, Thiago Silva

Manchester United's improved form is said to be leading to increased confidence of landing Jadon Sancho.

Sancho, 19, has been linked with a move to the Premier League after starring at Borussia Dortmund since joining the German club from Manchester City.

And, with United in fine form and eyeing a Champions League spot next season, Old Trafford could be shaping as his most likely destination.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD CONFIDENT OF SIGNING SANCHO IF THEY QUALIFY FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Manchester United believe they are in pole position to sign Sancho, according to the Mirror.

The report says Paris Saint-Germain are their biggest competitors for the England international's signature.

United are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions and sit three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

ROUND-UP

- Thomas Partey starred for Atletico Madrid against Liverpool in the Champions League and the midfielder is attracting interest. The Telegraph reports Arsenal will consider making a move for the Ghana international ahead of next season.

- Juventus are continuing to work on a new contract for Paulo Dybala. CalcioMercato reports one aspect of a possible deal relates to the Serie A champions showing how much they value Dybala by offering him a salary second only to Cristiano Ronaldo at the club.

- Out of contract at the season's end, Willian's future at Chelsea remains uncertain. The Sun reports manager Frank Lampard is keen to offer the Brazil international, who has been linked to Arsenal, a new deal, while club director Marina Granovskaia is reportedly focusing on off-season transfer targets.

- With England's women's side out of form, could Phil Neville be set for an exit as coach? The Daily Mail reports Neville is considering his future with England having won just three of nine games since finishing fourth at last year's Women's World Cup.

- Hakim Ziyech is joining Chelsea from Ajax ahead of 2020-21, and he wants a team-mate to come with him. The Daily Mail says the attacker is hoping to persuade Chelsea to sign Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.

- Juventus are considering a move for 22-year-old Lille and former Brazil youth international defender Gabriel, according to SportMediaset.

Liverpool are reportedly considering their plans for Timo Werner should they land the RB Leipzig forward this close season.

Werner, 24, has been linked with a move to the Premier League leaders after a prolific campaign with the Bundesliga side.

But if the Germany international does sign for Liverpool ahead of 2020-21, he may not be in their initial plans.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL COULD LOAN WERNER BACK TO RB LEIPZIG IF FORWARD JOINS

Liverpool could loan Werner back to RB Leipzig for next season if they get a deal done ahead of 2020-21, according to Bild.

Werner has scored 27 goals in 35 games this season, leading to interest from across Europe.

The Germany international, capped 29 times by his country, said last month he was proud to be linked to Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paulo Dybala is close to signing a five-year contract with Juventus, according to CalcioMercato, which reports only a late phone call from the attacker to his agent scuppered a move to Manchester United last year.

- Alexis Sanchez's future is unclear, but it appears it will not be at Inter. The Daily Mail reports the Serie A side have no interest in keeping the Chile international, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester United and has made just seven starts this campaign.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Willian appears set for a Chelsea exit. Le 10 Sport reports Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the attacker, while Arsenal and Manchester United are their main rivals for the Brazil international's signature.

- Arsenal are lining up a move for Manchester City defender John Stones in the close season, according to TEAMtalk.

- Tahith Chong is yet to re-sign with Manchester United despite being out of contract at the end of the season. The Sun reports the Premier League club are confident they can convince the attacker to re-sign amid interest from the likes of Inter.

Carlo Ancelotti admitted Everton failed to compete for the first time since his arrival at the club, but backed them to recover from their 4-0 thrashing by his former team Chelsea.

The Toffees' winless run stands at three Premier League games after goals from Mason Mount, Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud helped Chelsea to an easy win at Stamford Bridge.

Everton are 12th in the table as they prepare for the Merseyside derby against Liverpool at Goodison Park on March 16, but Ancelotti insisted a top-six finish is within reach.

"Everything went wrong," said Ancelotti. "It's not difficult to judge this game, to analyse this game. We were not good enough defensively.

"We were too open, not compact, lost a lot of duels, and with the ball we made a lot of mistakes on passes. So it wasn't a good game. Not a good day, but we can learn from our mistakes.

"Honestly, it's the first time, the first game where we didn't compete. Usually, in the other games, also we didn’t win but we competed until the end of the game.

"We've never talked about Champions League. This team was close to relegation. We are still there, six points from the Europa League. We have to fight for this."

Everton lost only one of their first eight top-flight matches under Ancelotti, but have tasted defeat in two of their last three as they head into a run of games against Liverpool, Leicester City and Tottenham.

Ancelotti was asked about the club's prospects of playing in the Champions League – a competition he won twice with Milan and once with Real Madrid – and the Italian is upbeat about Everton's potential.

"That's the target of the club," he said. "In the future.

"We have to improve, of course. As I said, today we were not at the same level as Chelsea. A week ago, though, we were at the same level as Manchester United.

"You cannot judge a team on one week. At the end of the season we will see where we are. But the future is set: this club wants to be competitive in the Premier League and Europe."

Frank Lampard was unwilling to get ahead of himself after Chelsea produced a brilliant display to brush aside Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Carlo Ancelotti led Chelsea to glory in the Premier League and FA Cup during his two years as manager in west London, when Lampard was one of his players, but was on the receiving end of a chastening defeat on Sunday.

Mason Mount and Pedro struck in the first half, before Willian and Olivier Giroud scored within three minutes of one another in the second period to put the result beyond doubt.

Prior to Tuesday's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory over Liverpool, Chelsea had won just two of their previous eight games in all competitions.

Despite an upturn in form for the Blues, Lampard was unwilling to suggest they have got a second wind that could carry them into the final stretch of the season.

"I'm a bit wary to say that. The last two performances would look like that, but I'm experienced enough to know we go to Aston Villa away, a team who are fighting for their lives and have got good players, so we have to replicate what we showed today every week," said Lampard.

"Yes, we had a good early patch this season. Then we've had inconsistencies recently. Who hasn't, other than Liverpool, in this league?

"I don't accept those inconsistencies, obviously, but it's understandable in this transitional period. But we had to work today to show we can finish the season with strength and get better."

With N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic out injured and Jorginho suspended, Billy Gilmour made his first Premier League start alongside Mount and Ross Barkley in midfield and was named man of the match.

"He's receiving the ball in difficult areas on the pitch," Lampard said of Gilmour. "If you don't move it quickly, firstly you don't get the rhythm in our play and it breaks down from, and secondly if you give it away in those areas, it is dangerous.

"I was going to use a rude word there, but you need... confidence to do that. Jorginho has it and Billy has it.

"One of the most pleasing things with Billy was he showed those balls in the first half, but when he stepped up and played higher up in the pitch second half, he instantly took it on board, arriving in the box and playing balls higher up the pitch.

"He showed he can do both, which is a great thing for me when I'm thinking about how the midfield looks at times."

On whether he saw signs of maturity from his team after a tricky spell, Lampard said: "I don't think we're there yet. It would be easy for me to say it after today but I'd much rather say it in mid-May, when the last game is.

"To think we're there and to think that we've got over the issues, even at home, would be too over-confident and think we are all right.

"We are improving in big degrees. We have to keep working. I see a bigger picture, an even longer run than that. I think we have a gap that is big to Liverpool in terms of points. At the minute, it feels like we're working in the right direction, but we've got lots of work to do."

Carlo Ancelotti's return to Stamford Bridge ended with Everton suffering a chastening 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.

Everton were completely overwhelmed by a Chelsea midfield that saw Billy Gilmour make his first Premier League start alongside Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, who got the Blues up and running in the 14th minute.

Pedro assisted Mount and was himself on target in the Premier League for the first time since February 2019 seven minutes later – the experienced winger involved in as many goals in the opening 21 minutes as in his previous 21 appearances in the competition.

Willian drove home a powerful effort and set up Olivier Giroud in the space of three second-half minutes to put the result beyond doubt, with Frank Lampard's side claiming just their third top-flight win of the year.

Jordan Pickford did well to keep out Mount's first effort, but the midfielder scored the opener when a sublime first touch while turning on the edge of the box was followed by a sweeping drive into the bottom-left corner.

Willian outpaced Mason Holgate and had a cross-goal effort kept out well by Pickford, before Pedro doubled the hosts' lead by slotting home from Barkley's throughball to finish a wonderful passing move.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin failed to show the prowess in front of goal that earned him a new five-year contract his week, scuffing wide when up against Kepa Arrizabalaga in the goalkeeper's first Premier League game since January 21.

Chelsea picked up where they left off in the second half with Willian arrowing a powerful finish past Pickford in the 51st minute.

Giroud then evaded some dismal marking from Holgate to turn home a curling, first-time delivery from Willian, before Pickford stopped Pedro from making it five.

Lampard handed Premier League debuts to teenagers Faustino Anjorin and Armando Broja off the bench. A good challenge from Djibril Sidibe prevented Anjorin marking the occasion with a goal to round off an already resounding win.
 

What does it mean? Everton a shambles

The Toffees beat Chelsea 3-1 in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park but fell well short of replicating that display in west London.

Ancelotti won the Premier League and FA Cup during two years with the Blues, but his decision to set his team out in a 4-4-2 shape allowed Chelsea to dictate the terms of the match in midfield, while Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison received minimal service.

The benefit of experience

Chelsea's front three of Pedro, Giroud and Willian stood in stark contrast to their youthful midfield, but each of the attacking trio played an important role in the victory. The wingers had a goal and assist each, while Giroud connected the play well.

A bad Davies at the office

Everton were overrun in midfield from minute one, but Tom Davies was guilty of giving Mount too much space ahead of the opener and was nowhere to be seen on the next two goals. He was replaced by Moise Kean in the 58th minute.

What's next?

Chelsea head to Aston Villa next Sunday, while Everton have a Merseyside derby against Premier League leaders Liverpool awaiting a week on Monday.

Frank Lampard was left to rue "a bad 10-minute spell" as Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.

The second goal of Marcos Alonso's double came five minutes from time at the Vitality Stadium, securing a point for the visitors after Jefferson Lerma and Joshua King had struck in quick succession to eclipse the Spaniard's first-half opener. 

Blues boss Lampard saw his side beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, when the German giants scored two goals in three minutes.

And, after Lerma and King's goals came 176 seconds apart on the south coast, Lampard questioned his players' concentration levels.

"We should win, we had many chances," he said. "We had a bad 10-minute spell where they scored and that I don't like.

"I'm pleased with the character to get a draw but we should win the game.

"Against Bayern we conceded twice in a short space of time, it's not the first time. Could it be a lack of concentration? Possibly from the players.

"People talk about the defence but if you are 1-0 up and leave teams in the game then one set-piece can change the game.

"We should score more goals and then we don't have that problem."

The result leaves Chelsea vulnerable in fourth spot, with Manchester United able to close the gap to one point when they visit Everton on Sunday.

Lampard is pleased to have the advantage in what is a tight race for Champions League qualification, but knows it will only matter if they are still there at the end of the season.

"The way the season has panned out, we should be pleased that we are fourth but it means nothing at this stage," he said.

"If we manage to get in the top four the achievement is huge but we are a long way from that yet."

Marcos Alonso scored twice as Chelsea were made to work hard for a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.

The full-back had given the visitors, reeling from a 3-0 midweek loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, a first-half lead at the Vitality Stadium.

But quickfire second-half goals from Jefferson Lerma and Joshua King looked set to pile the misery on Blues boss Frank Lampard.

However, Alonso had the final say, heading home five minutes from time after Aaron Ramsdale could only parry Pedro's strike.

Philip Billing had two excellent chances inside the opening five minutes as Bournemouth made a promising start.

Willy Caballero produced an instinctive save to repel a first-time effort from the Dane, who then nicked the ball away from a sleeping Fikayo Tomori before drilling hurriedly into the side netting. 

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Mateo Kovacic's dipping shot called Ramsdale into action, before Callum Wilson's strike brought another stop from Caballero. 

Alonso broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when he fired into an empty net after Olivier Giroud had flicked Reece James' cross onto the crossbar, with Ramsdale having already committed to the first attempt.

Giroud fluffed his lines badly from eight yards out early in the second half and was made to pay as the hosts struck twice in three minutes.

Lerma's header from Ryan Fraser's delivery was too hot for Caballero to handle and the turnaround was complete when King tapped home from Jack Stacey's cross.

A hail storm arrived in the final 25 minutes and Lampard had a face like thunder when substitute Michy Batshuayi had a goal ruled out for offside, only for Alonso's late intervention to ease his worries.

 

What does it mean? Race for fourth heating up

The Blues are looking increasingly vulnerable in fourth spot, with Manchester United able to close within a point if they beat Everton on Sunday. Tottenham will be two back with a win against Wolves, who are only six points back themselves.

For Bournemouth, this will have felt like two points dropped and there is only a two-point gap to Aston Villa in 18th.

Gritty Bournemouth denied

Credit is due to Bournemouth practically across the board. They were at it from the off and should have taken the lead inside five minutes. Even after the setback of falling behind, they kept their heads up and came roaring back at Chelsea. On this evidence, and despite the late goal, they will avoid the drop with ease.

Giroud awakening

Giroud opened the scoring in a crucial win over Spurs last time out in the Premier League but was wasteful on the south coast, his scruffy miss in the early stages of the second half representing a turning point.

What's next?

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool are up next for both sides. Chelsea host Jurgen Klopp's men in the FA Cup on Tuesday, while Bournemouth head to Anfield on Saturday.

Frank Lampard remains hopeful Chelsea can keep Willian at Stamford Bridge, with the winger having expressed frustration over the terms offered.

The Brazilian told Esporte Interativo, a TV channel in his homeland, he wanted a three-year deal, with the Premier League club only looking to extend his stay by two years.

Willian's contract is set to expire in July and the apparent impasse has raised doubts over his future.

However, Lampard believes a deal could still be struck to retain the 31-year-old's services

"It's an ongoing conversation," said the Blues boss.

"Maybe [Willian talking to the media] was not ideal timing but I get asked every three days here, players get asked after games and it's not always easy for them. People want some form of answer.

"Conversations are ongoing but at the minute I don't want to get too drawn into it because I am the manager of the team and don't want to look too far down towards the summer.

"It's why some of the headlines this week had a slight sense of frustration for me because we are working day-to-day to finish the job this season and we are not jumping ahead to the summer.

"But Willy's one is an ongoing situation. It's not over. We'll see."

Wiliian moved to Chelsea from Russian club Anzhi in 2013. He has scored four times in 26 Premier League appearances this season, with Chelsea fourth in the table ahead of Saturday's trip to Bournemouth.

If you want to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, prepare to splash the cash.

Koulibaly is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe and clubs are expected to come calling at the end of the season.

Teams from Spain, England, Germany and France are queuing up.

 

TOP STORY – NAPOLI SET KOULIBALY FEE

Napoli are ready to accept €99million (£85m) for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Koulibaly is reportedly wanted by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is apparently unwilling to accept anything less than the price mentioned.

 

ROUND-UP

United are monitoring Fiorentina and Italy star Federico Chiesa, reports the Daily Mail. The 22-year-old winger has previously been linked to Juventus and Inter.

- Calciomercato journalist Fabrizio Romano says Juventus are set to meet with striker Gonzalo Higuain to discuss his future in Turin. The 32-year-old is out of contract in 2021.

- The Suns says Arsenal's Europa League exit has jeopardised their transfer plans. Mikel Arteta and the Gunners had reportedly lined up moves for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah and Gent striker Jonathan David. However, the loss of income could damage Arsenal's plans.

- Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli is being pursued by Serie A rivals Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Atletico Madrid are eyeing a surprise swoop for Chelsea's Willian, claims Tuttomercatoweb. Willian will be available on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Brazilian is yet to recommit to Chelsea. Barcelona, Tottenham and Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow have been credited with an interest.

Willian has hinted he will look to find another London-based club to play for if he and Chelsea do not agree to a contract extension, as he is desperate to remain in the English capital for family reasons.

Brazil winger Willian has been at Chelsea since 2013, when he joined from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and he has been a first-team regular for most of his time at Stamford Bridge.

Willian has played in all but one of Chelsea's 26 Premier League games this term, despite becoming a target for criticism from some supporters, with Frank Lampard seemingly trusting of the 31-year-old.

He claimed in December that contract talks have taken place regarding an extension beyond the end of the season, but with an agreement yet to be confirmed, doubt remains about his future, particularly after Chelsea agreed a deal to bring Ajax's Hakim Ziyech to the club in July.

While Willian seems set on staying at Chelsea, he is also adamant about a desire to remain in London, potentially offering hope to other clubs in the area should he ultimately depart.

Writing in a column for The Players' Tribune, Willian said: "I have played for Chelsea for more than six years now, and I can honestly say that I am very happy here.

"If you ask my wife if she wants to leave London, she'll say no. My daughters feel the same way. Of course, Brazil is Brazil, right? It's our home, our culture. We always feel good when we go there on holiday and see family and friends, but London is my second home.

"In fact, I recently passed a British citizenship test. Man, it was hard. It's British history in a nutshell. Some questions are so difficult that not even some of my British friends knew the answers!

"As it turned out, I failed on my first two attempts, but got it on the third. I am now a British citizen!

"So, London is where I want to stay. This is where I have my family, my church. I want my daughters to grow up here."

First Barcelona and now Real Madrid. Lautaro Martinez is a wanted man.

With 16 goals across all competitions for Inter this season, Martinez is attracting plenty of interest following previous links to Manchester United.

Madrid and Barca are set to go head-to-head on and off the pitch.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID JOIN BARCA IN MARTINEZ RACE

Real Madrid want to pay the release clause of Inter star and Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, according to Tyc Sports.

Martinez has long been linked with LaLiga champions Barca, who are eyeing a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

However, Martinez is now firmly on Madrid's radar with a release clause of €115million and Luka Jovic struggling to score regularly behind veteran striker Karim Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN says Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are chasing Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is on loan at Premier League side Sheffield United. The 22-year-old – who is contracted to United until 2022 – has impressed at Bramall Lane and is reportedly unwilling to return to Manchester unless he is number one ahead of David de Gea.

Manchester City have joined Madrid, Barca, Arsenal and Tottenham in the race to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, reports the Manchester Evening News. Pep Guardiola's City are desperate for defensive reinforcements following Vincent Kompany's exit and injury woes.

- According to the Daily Express, Serie A champions Juventus are eying a shock move for Chelsea's Willian, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

- Remaining in Turin and the Daily Mail claims Juve have entered the chase for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. The 17-year-old is also wanted by United and Chelsea.

Tottenham are plotting a double swoop for Norwich City pair Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons, the Express says. It comes as the Daily Mail reports Spurs will sell Eric Dier if he does not sign a new contract.

- Marca says Barca have contacted Levante about Roger Marti but the club have pointed to the striker's release clause. Barca are looking to bring in an emergency forward following Ousmane Dembele's long-term injury. Real Betis' Loren Moron and Lucas Perez of Deportivo Alaves are also reported options.

Liverpool might be cruising towards the title but the runaway Premier League leaders could still face a crucial fight in the near future.

According to a new report, star centre-back Virgil van Dijk has become a top target for Italian giants Juventus.

Could a record-breaking transfer to Turin appeal to the Netherlands international?

 

TOP STORY – JUVE SET SIGHTS ON VAN DIJK

Maurizio Sarri's Juve have identified Reds defender Van Dijk as the man to help achieve their Champions League dream, according to The Sun.

The Bianconeri are said to be preparing a €178.5million (£150m) offer that could force Liverpool to consider parting company with the 28-year-old, who swapped Southampton for Merseyside in a £75m move in January 2018.

The report claims Van Dijk "may be open to a move abroad" if he wins the Premier League this term, which now appears a mere formality.

The proposed fee would eclipse the £80m that saw Harry Maguire leave Leicester City for Manchester United and again make Van Dijk the world's most expensive player in his position.

 

ROUND-UP 

- After signing Maguire, the Red Devils appear to be pining for another expensive defender. The Daily Star suggests the club will ramp up their attempts to capture Kalidou Koulibaly in the close season - although the Napoli centre-back could cost up to £90m.

- Arsenal rejected a deadline-day approach for Mesut Ozil from an unnamed Qatar club, the Mirror states. Ozil, 31, reportedly "would have been willing to listen" to an offer, but the contact came too late for the Gunners to arrange a replacement.

- LaLiga leaders Real Madrid considered signing teenage attacker Amine Gouiri and contacted Lyon before deciding against lodging a formal January bid, according to L'Equipe.

- Their title rivals Barcelona are close to agreeing a deal that will see Chelsea winger Willian arrive on a free at season's end, reports Marca.

- Gouiri is not the only Lyon youngster attracting interest. Milan, already planning for next season, are monitoring the Ligue 1 club's promising right-back Pierre Kalulu, claims CalcioMercato.

The time might have come for Chelsea to cash in on one of their longest and most loyal servants.

According to reports, LaLiga giants Barcelona are eager to take winger Willian to Camp Nou before the January transfer window closes on Friday.

The experienced Brazilian has been with Chelsea since 2013, but his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY - BARCA WANT WILLIAN

Barcelona will test Chelsea's resolve with a late €23.6million (£20m) offer for Willian, Sky Sports have reported.

The Blaugrana are said to be are "long-term admirers" of the 31-year-old and hope to have him on board for the remainder of their title battle against Real Madrid.

Willian could leave Stamford Bridge on a free at the end of June if Chelsea choose not to cash in now.

Frank Lampard last month said contract talks were ongoing with the former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker, but he has not yet agreed a new deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- News of Barca's approach comes amid suggestions they have had an eye-watering €100m (£85m) offer for Richarlison rejected by Everton, rumours the Mirror indicates have been laughed off at Goodison Park.

- Chelsea, however, could be preparing their Willian replacement. According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League top-four aspirants are looking to sign 32-year-old Napoli forward Dries Mertens for a cut-price £6m fee.

- Barca, meanwhile, are trying to find a new home for Philippe Coutinho after learning Bayern Munich will not activate their €120m option to buy the on-loan playmaker, say Catalunya Radio.

- England international Danny Rose will spend the remainder of the season at Newcastle United after Tottenham accepted a £2m loan fee for the left-back, claim the Guardian.

- Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund must improve their bid from €22m to €30m to convince Serie A champions Juventus to part with midfielder Emre Can, claim CalcioMercato.

Frank Lampard has ruled out a January exit from Chelsea for Ross Barkley, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is taking positive steps in his return to fitness.

Barkley was a regular for Maurizio Sarri last season but has made just six Premier League starts under Lampard, though a foot injury suffered in October ruled him out for almost two months.

A reunion with David Moyes, who handed him his top-flight debut at Everton in 2011, at West Ham had been touted, but the Blues boss was adamant the England international will not be leaving.

"There's no talk here of Ross Barkley going anywhere. He's our player. I've got a lot of faith in Ross. That's news I heard like everyone else this week," said Lampard.

Asked about other potential departures, Lampard said there has been no movement on a deal for Olivier Giroud, who is reportedly a target for Newcastle United – Chelsea's opponents on Saturday – Aston Villa and Inter, while Willian will be staying put and could extend his contract beyond this season.

"Olivier Giroud there may be something that can happen. He's experienced and I have a great relationship with him. If the circumstances fall right it might happen.

"Willian is not going anywhere. His contract is up at the end of the season but he's still in talks with the club."

Lampard remains open to potential incomings at Stamford Bridge but assured there was "nothing imminent".

However, his squad could be bolstered after the February break with Loftus-Cheek stepping up his recovery from an Achilles rupture that has ruled him out since May.

"He's training now with the Under-16s, Under-18s and then the Under-23s in a short space of time, which is good for us. The sooner he can be back with us the better," said Lampard.

"We're working in every way. There's a different look on his face, more smiley and happy. It's been tough. He's not one that's walked around head down creating a negative atmosphere, but it's a lonely place.

"He's integrating more towards us now. It can be forgotten we've missed a hugely influential player. If he can be training with us after the break he might not be far away."

Lampard added that Christian Pulisic is in line to return from a groin problem next month.

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