All signs point to Chelsea securing the services of Everton winger Anthony Gordon, although the selling club may not be content with just a hefty transfer fee, with reports they are also demanding a player on loan in return.

The report from talkSPORT mentions Chelsea have offered £50million plus around £10m in add-ons, and that Gordon has informed Everton of his interest in heading to Stamford Bridge, but they will not let him leave without first investigating what else they could come away with in the deal.

It names 20-year-old striker Armando Broja and 22-year-old midfielder Conor Gallagher as the two players Frank Lampard would like to bring in for the season on a loan deal – two players Thomas Tuchel has publicly declared the club has no interest in parting ways with.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA ASKED TO SEND OVER A PLAYER AS WELL AS CASH FOR GORDON

Gordon is young, under contract through 2025, and is on track to potentially break through on the international stage and represent England at this year's World Cup, so it is fair to say Everton will not let him walk without a deal they believe will benefit them long-term.

An extra £50m in the transfer market will allow plenty of flexibility either in this window or in January, but the prospect of also receiving a high-quality loanee to fill Gordon's shoes in the meantime is what really interests the club.

Broja impressed on loan at Southampton last season and would give Everton another option to support Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is out injured. Gallagher enjoyed a fine campaign at Crystal Palace, meanwhile, and might want regular minutes ahead of the World Cup.

The Mirror adds Everton would like to have a suitable replacement lined up for transfer before finalising a Gordon move, and have named Watford's Joao Pedro and Southampton's Che Adams as players the Toffees have enquired about.

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Manchester United are prepared to offer Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp a salary in the range of £9m to join the club, according to Sport1.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting that West Ham have submitted an €11m offer to Club Brugge for midfielder Hans Vanaken.

– According to 90min, Roma and Milan are both hoping to secure Chelsea's Trevor Chalobah on loan, with the Blues continuing their pursuit of Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana.

Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund are discussing a potential defender swap that would send Sergino Dest to Germany while Thomas Meunier would head to Spain, per Sport.

– Sport also claims Barcelona are interested in Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin.

Chelsea lost 3-0 to Leeds United on Sunday and it would appear that defeat has sparked the Blues into action.

New owner Todd Boehly has been keen to make his mark since arriving at Stamford Bridge, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella among others.

But head coach Thomas Tuchel wants more. Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana is a priority target for the defence, while last week Chelsea had two bids rejected by Everton for Anthony Gordon.

Now it would appear the Blues are confident of completing the signing, while they are also reportedly in talks to land a second attacker.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA IN FOR GORDON AND LEAO

The Times reports that Chelsea will this week push ahead and match Everton's £50million asking price for winger Gordon, who scored four goals in a breakthrough Premier League season last term.

Everton boss Frank Lampard stressed the importance of Gordon to his plans, and played the 21-year-old against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but also suggested that a decision might have to be made if a bid was too good to turn down.

Gordon might also be joined in moving to Stamford Bridge by Milan star Rafael Leao. The Portugal international scored 11 times for the Rossoneri as they won Serie A last season, and the same report claims that Chelsea are in talks with the Italian champions over a move for the 23-year-old.

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- Several outlets are reporting that West Ham have struck a deal with Chelsea to sign left-back Emerson Palmieri for around £13million.

- Eric Bailly is close to joining Marseille on loan from Manchester United, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- The Telegraph claims Newcastle United have been told they must pay £30million to buy striker Joao Pedro from Watford.

- Villarreal coach Unai Emery told El Larguero that Edinson Cavani could join the club, while he also said that Juan Foyth is of interest to Barcelona.

- Everton were hoping to have Idrissa Gueye and Mohammed Kudus signed but have bumped into difficulties with Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, says The Times.

- Fabrizio Romano also reports that Fulham and Roma will hold further talks this week over Justin Kluivert.

- Barca defender Samuel Umtiti will join Lecce, says Gianluca Di Marzio.

Manchester United are working overtime to land at least one of the Eredivisie's top stars, with their chase for Ajax's Antony and PSV's Cody Gakpo reportedly heating up.

Antony racked up eight goals and four assists in 23 league games last season, and has started the new campaign in hot form, collecting a goal and two assists from his first two fixtures.

Gakpo netted a brace in PSV's season opener against FC Emmen, and while the Telegraph claims United will only be able to afford one of the two wingers, a conflicting report from the Netherlands' De Telegraaf says that might not be the case.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TO ADDRESS WINGER SHORTAGE WITH EREDIVISIE RAID 

The report from De Telegraaf says "it is not a question of [Antony or Gakpo], but the club wants to contract both players", which would mean well over £100million in transfer fees after their last offer of £68m for Antony was rejected.

Ajax have no interest in letting Antony leave, with the Brazilian's contract tying him to the club through 2025, but Goal is reporting he has missed recent training sessions, and the reason he was absent from his side's 1-0 win against Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday was due to him trying to force his way out.

The Telegraph claims United are "expected" to complete a £34m deal for Gakpo, but it remains to be seen if they are willing to pull the trigger on the Dutchman while they still believe they can land Antony.

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– According to The Sun, United will block any moves for captain Harry Maguire after Chelsea expressed interest earlier in the week.

– Calciomercato is reporting Milan have approached Tottenham about a potential transfer for 23-year-old English centre-back Japhet Tangana.

Tottenham and Newcastle United are waiting to see if Juventus secure Barcelona's Memphis Depay, with the two Premier League clubs hoping to swoop in if the Bianconeri's deal falls apart, according to The Sun.

– Free agent Andrea Belotti has rejected an offer from Wolves, according to Calciomercato, instead preferring to wait for Roma to make room for him.

– Sport1 is reporting Paris Saint-Germain are planning a move for RB Leipzig defenders Josko Gvardiol and Mohamed Simakan, but the German side hope to retain both. 

Bernardo Silva's future at Manchester City has been the subject of speculation throughout the transfer window.

The 28-year-old has another three years remaining on his contract with the reigning Premier League champions.

Despite that, rumours about interest from elsewhere have swirled, though City manager Pep Guardiola is desperate to keep him at the club.

TOP STORY – CITY TO OFFER SILVA NEW CONTRACT TO KEEP HIM IN MANCHESTER

Manchester City are set to offer Bernardo Silva a bumper new deal to stave off rival interest, claims the Sunday Star.

Both Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Portuguese midfielder over the past few months.

City slapped an £80million price tag on Silva to retain his services, but are now ready to offer him a new lucrative long-term deal.

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Real Madrid are set to use the money generated by the sale of Casemiro to fund a deal for Borussia Dortmund's English midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports Marca.

Chelsea and Everton are both weighing up a move for Brentford forward Ivan Toney, who has also been linked with Manchester United, according to The Sunday Mirror.

Christian Pulisic will not be going to United, should he leave Chelsea, as he will only move to join a club playing in the Champions League, claims the Mail.

– Fabrizio Romano says Arsenal and Nice are deep into negotiations on a loan deal for Nicolas Pepe. Sevilla have been linked with Pepe but are yet to made a bid.

Ismaila Sarr is close to a move from Watford to Aston Villa with the two clubs having a verbal agreement over a deal, according to Foot Mercato.

Manchester United are under pressure to make some signings amid their poor start to the new Premier League season.

The Red Devils have lost their opening two league games under new boss Erik ten Hag.

United have only brought in a few players this off-season and are in need for reinforcements.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD DECLINED BY ATLETICO IN JOAO FELIX BID

Atletico Madrid have rejected a bumper £110million (€130m) bid from Manchester United for Portuguese forward Joao Felix, claims AS.

Atleti have reportedly inserted a staggering €350m (£295m) release clause in the 22-year-old's contract.

United's reported bid is a club record, £25m more than the fee they paid Juventus for Paul Pogba in 2016.

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United want to sign five more players this transfer window reports the Telegraph and have a shortlist of potential signings with Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Meunier, Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is also on their radar to provide a back-up to David de Gea.

Paris Saint-Germain have not given up in a pursuit of Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva and are plotting a €71m (£59m) move for him, according to The Times.

Napoli are closing in on a deal to sign Sassuolo's 22-year-old forward Giacomo Raspadori reports Calciomercato. It is claimed he will join Napoli by the end of the week.

Nottingham Forest's busy window continues with the newly promoted Premier League club chasing Madrid right-back Alvaro Odriozola, according to AS.

Brighton and Hove Albion want a permanent move for Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour, reports the Daily Mail. 

Timo Werner "lost a bit of the fun" playing under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea after losing his place in the side ahead of returning to RB Leipzig.

Germany international Werner sealed a permanent move back to Leipzig last week, just two years on from joining Chelsea in a £47.5million (€50m) deal.

Werner struggled to live up his price tag at Stamford Bridge as he scored just 10 Premier League goals in 56 appearances, and 23 goals in 89 games overall.

The 26-year-old found playing time hard to come by in the 2021-22 campaign, starting just 15 out of a possible 38 league matches – only the 15th most of all Chelsea players.

After bringing an end to his Stamford Bridge stay, Werner has explained he opted for a return to Leipzig as he wants to play regularly again with an eye on Qatar 2022.

"For me, having fun playing football is the most important thing," Werner, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021, told the Einfach mal Luppen podcast. 

"I was very successful at Chelsea, but in the end I lost a bit of the fun because I didn't play regularly any more.

"I think the coach's game system didn't suit me perfectly. So it was clear to me that I wanted to take a new step. I'm at an age where I want to play as much as I can."

As well as playing a part in last year's Champions League triumph, Werner also won the European Super Cup and Club World Cup with Chelsea.

Werner was spotted in the Stamford Bridge stands during Sunday's 2-2 draw with Tottenham and says he will forever be connected to the west London side.

"I really associate Chelsea with great successes – the greatest of my career," he said. "It'll always be a special club for me. I'll stay in contact with many players from the team."

 

Werner contributed to 40 goals in 89 appearances for Chelsea, which was bettered only by Mason Mount (46 goal involvements in 108 games) during his time at the club.

The ex-Stuttgart star netted just 36 minutes into his second debut for Leipzig in last week's meeting with Koln, scoring from his only attempt, yet it was only enough for a 2-2 draw.

"I would have liked a win to start," Werner said. "Still, I can't complain because the team have welcomed me back and I was involved right away.

"We have a great squad here and, if we improve further, we can achieve a lot with this team in terms of trophies."

Manchester United have come in for huge criticism following their poor start to the season.

United have failed to land major off-season transfer targets and are eager to add reinforcements.

The start of Erik ten Hag's tenure as manager has been hugely disappointing, with back-to-back Premier League defeats.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TURN TO VARDY TO SOLVE STRIKER ISSUES

Manchester United are considering a bid for Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy to solve their striker conundrum, claims The Athletic.

The Red Devils have endured a frustrating transfer window and have only netted once in their opening two league games.

Vardy is among a number of targets United are keen on, having also been linked with Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Sun.

 

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– TalkSPORT claims Manchester United are getting close to a €50million (£42m) deal for Atletico Madrid's Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha. The 23-year-old joined Atletico from Hertha Berlin last year on a five-year deal.

Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Inter's Cesare Casadei, according to Calciomercato. Inter have set their asking price at €15m (£12.5m) plus €5m in bonuses, which the Blues are edging closer to meet. The deal may aid Romelu Lukaku sealing a permanent switch to the Nerazzurri.

– Talks are ongoing between Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus on agreeing a move for Leandro Paredes, reports Fabrizio Romano. Personal terms have been agreed between the Argentinian and the Bianconeri on a long-term deal.

Wolves will sign Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes for a club-record fee of €45m (£38m) plus €5m in add-ons from Sporting CP, according to Record. Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City had been tracking Nunes.

– Diario Sport claims Barcelona may be willing to let Samuel Umtiti exit as a free agent amid interest from various unnamed clubs. Umtiti, who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2026, has struggled with injuries during his time at the Blaugrana.

Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a second bid for 21-year-old Everton winger Anthony Gordon after their initial £40million offer was turned down.

Gordon, a product of Everton's youth academy, broke into the first team this past season, tallying four goals and two assists in 35 Premier League appearances.

Manager Frank Lampard has publicly said the club values him highly and that he is not for sale, but with a bidding war beginning to emerge, it remains to be seen if there is a price that could change that mindset.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA CHASE ENGLAND UNDER-21 WINGER

According to ChronicleLive, it was Newcastle United who first approached Everton with a £35m offer, which Chelsea caught wind of and immediately began the process of coming in over the top with a larger bid.

Gordon is only a couple of seasons into a five-year extension that ties him to the club until 2025, although further reporting from CBS claims Everton have told interested parties that a figure of £50m would trigger a serious conversation.

CBS's Ben Jacobs adds that Chelsea are very interested in including players in their offer, although Everton have no desire to bring back Ross Barkley, and the Stamford Bridge club do not want to include Armando Broja, although Michy Batshuayi was mentioned as a possibility.

Newcastle are expected to re-enter the chase for Gordon if Chelsea can agree on a fee.

 

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– Deportivo Mundo are reporting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants to stay at Barcelona and fight for a starting spot after a £12m bid from Chelsea was turned down, although Metro claims the Spanish giants would accept a bid in the range of £23m.

– According to the Mirror, Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham are all interested in 20-year-old Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.

– Sky Sports Italy reports Nottingham Forest are close to landing Arsenal target Houssem Aouar from Lyon, and talkSPORT add the newly promoted Premier League side have also bid £17m for Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Djibril Sow.

Leicester City are prepared to let Youri Tielemans leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to the Times.

West Ham have made a €10m offer for 22-year-old Spezia centre-back and Polish international Jakub Kiwior, per Calciomercato, with Milan also said to have interest.

Manchester United are reportedly engaged in discussions with Atletico Madrid about a potential move for striker Alvaro Morata in an effort to add some much-needed firepower up front.

Morata, 29, spent the past two seasons on loan at Juventus, where he racked up 32 goals and 21 assists in 92 club appearances, but with the Italian giants opting not to make it a permanent move, the Spaniard's future is unclear.

He has been starting for Madrid in pre-season games – including netting a hat-trick against Juve earlier this month – but with Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix and the club's top-scorer from last season Angel Correa all available, it appears Diego Simeone may prefer to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOK TO FORMER CHELSEA STRIKER FOR ANSWERS

The report from The Athletic claims the Old Trafford side view a move for Morata as "a genuine possibility", with the price tag said to be in the neighbourhood of £30million.

It highlights the state of United's current forward stocks, with Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard departing, while Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly requested a transfer, and the futures of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are considered up in the air.

After a horrible beginning to their Premier League campaign, United are expected to be active for the remainder of the transfer period – with Metro also reporting Frenkie de Jong has told team-mates he will likely be headed to Manchester.

 

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– The Daily Mail are reporting Chelsea have agreed to personal terms with 21-year-old Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana, although they have had two bids rejected as the asking price remains above £80m.

– The Daily Mail also claims United have told Paris Saint-Germain that Rashford is not for sale, with the Times adding that the French giants view him as a long-term partner to Kylian Mbappe.

– According to Sunday Express, Newcastle United have engaged Benfica in discussions about 21-year-old Portuguese midfielder Goncalo Ramos, who is said to be valued at £35m.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting 19-year-old Udinese full-back Destiny Udogie is in England for a medical to confirm his £15m move to Tottenham, although he will be loaned back to Udinese for the remainder of the season.

Nottingham Forest have agreed to a £15m move for Brighton striker Neal Maupay, per The Athletic.

Manchester United's transfer market activity appears to be getting increasingly desperate.

The English giants have added only Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez to their first team in this window.

United have been linked with a host of other players but missed out, including Benjamin Sesko, while no deal has transpired despite their attempts to sign Frenkie de Jong.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD BOSS TEN HAG KEEN ON ZIYECH

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has identified Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech as a target, according to the Manchester Evening News.

However, United's hierarchy are not convinced and have offered resistance to the Dutchman's plans to sign the Moroccan, whom he worked with previously at Ajax.

United have been priced out of their move for Ajax's Antony, and Ten Hag views Ziyech as a good alternative.

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– SPORT1 claims Bayern Munich will attempt to bring Kai Havertz to the club from Chelsea. The Germany international, who moved to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen two years ago, is seen as someone who can offset Robert Lewandowski's departure.

– Juventus are still keen on Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Leandro Paredes, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Bianconeri are ready to swoop once Adrien Rabiot's move to Manchester United is sealed.

– The Athletic reports Newcastle United may target Chelsea's United States international Christian Pulisic.

– West Ham have entered the race for Barcelona's Memphis Depay, submitting a "big-money" offer to the Blaugrana, according to Football Insider.

Barcelona coach Xavi refused to rule out exits for Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the eve of their LaLiga opener, acknowledging "anything can happen".

Manchester United's interest in De Jong has evolved into one of the longest-running sagas of the transfer window, while Chelsea are being strongly linked with both the Netherlands midfielder and Barca striker Aubameyang.

Although Xavi and president Joan Laporta have expressed confidence Barca will overcome their financial woes to register a host of new acquisitions ahead of Saturday's fixture against Rayo Vallecano, they are trying to offload players and reduce the wage bill.

While Xavi still considers both men key players, he made it clear they may depart before the transfer window closes.

"From here until August 31 a lot can happen, but I like Aubameyang a lot," Xavi told a news conference on Friday.

"He helped us a lot, he's an important player for me, he arrived here with a lot of humility, a good work ethic, so we'll see what happens."

On De Jong's future, the Blaugrana boss added: "It's the same as Aubameyang, he's an important player and he's part of the squad. 

"If I can use him, great. From now until the 31st we will see what possibilities there are and where we are with regards to our participation in the market. 

"From now until August 31, anything can happen with Frenkie and with any players in the squad."

Reports have suggested tensions are high between De Jong and the club after he appeared to be jeered by a group of supporters while arriving at training earlier this week.

But Xavi denies there is any ill-feeling towards De Jong, who joined from Ajax for a reported fee of €75million in 2019.

"I didn't hear whistles, I heard applause," Xavi claimed. "People are able to express how and when they want, I'm here to try to improve the squad and make a cohesive unit. 

"It depends on how you perform on the pitch whether they support you or whistle. I think Frenkie can help the squad very well, he's helped the club also and I have no complaints."

 

One player who is set to leave Barcelona is young midfielder Nico Gonzalez, who declared on Wednesday he would be joining Valencia on a season-long loan.

Nico made 37 appearances for Barca last season – although only 17 were starts – and Xavi revealed the 20-year-old asked to leave.

"He came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico," Xavi said. "But a few days ago, he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. 

"He has been brave and is going to Valencia. I hope he comes back more mature because it will be important for the future of Barca. 

"For the midfield we have Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, [Franck] Kessie, Frenkie, Sergi Roberto, and even [Andreas] Christensen who can play there."

Premier League football returned with a bang last week, and the second round of matches throws up the first clash between two sides anticipated to be right in the thick of the battle for a top-four finish.

Chelsea's first home game of the season hands them a London derby against Tottenham, with both on a high following their opening victories against Everton and Southampton respectively.

On the weekend the Premier League celebrates its 30th birthday, all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge as Antonio Conte faces off against his former employers.

Both Chelsea and Spurs had busy pre-seasons, including the former being taken over by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, and with both playing in the Champions League this season, will be among the favourites to secure their spots in Europe's elite competition once again.

Securing points against rivals in the battle may well be decisive come May, and Chelsea know they have the historic edge.

Spurs' Stamford Bridge struggles

In 2018, Spurs won consecutive Premier League matches against Chelsea – a rare phenomenon for the north London side, who are historically poor in their trips across the capital to Stamford Bridge.

Since losing 3-1 at Wembley in November 2018, Chelsea have returned to form in the fixture, with seven Premier League matches unbeaten against Spurs, six wins and one draw.

During that run, Chelsea have conceded just a solitary goal and not even that was scored by a Spurs player, with Antonio Rudiger netting an own goal in Chelsea's 2-1 win in February 2020.

Spurs' record at Stamford Bridge makes for even worse reading. Their 3-1 win in April 2018 is their only success in their last 37 visits to Chelsea, suffering 24 defeats and sharing the spoils on 12 occasions.

 

Kane's killing edge

Thierry Henry stands as the highest Premier League scorer in London derbies with 43, but Harry Kane (41) is now closing in on the former Arsenal captain.

The England skipper is a reliable threat in front of goal against opponents from the capital but has a poor run of form against Chelsea, having failed to score in any of his last five appearances against the Blues.

In the top-flight, Kane has only had longer goalless runs against Manchester City (seven games between 2017 and 2021) and Manchester United (six games between 2014 and 2016).

Kane comes into Sunday's clash seeking to open his account for the season but will have fond memories of his last London derby, where he struck twice in a convincing win over Arsenal in May.

 

Centurions in wait

Tottenham sit just one victory away from celebrating 100 wins in Premier League London derby matches and, if they beat Chelsea, will become the third side to reach that milestone after the Blues and Arsenal.

Securing a win at Stamford Bridge is difficult enough but Spurs are also edging towards being centurions in Premier League London derbies at the opposite end of the spectrum as they have 97 defeats – only West Ham (112) having more.

Both milestones could be reached during the course of the 2022-23 season, and Spurs will hope to tick off the former first.

 

Home headache

Two of Chelsea's last three home Premier League London derby matches have ended in defeat, having lost to Arsenal and Brentford in April.

In that run, Chelsea suffered as many defeats in three games as they had in their previous 17 – where they had only dropped 12 points from a possible 51.

Those losses to Arsenal and Brentford hit harder, however, with the fact that Thomas Tuchel's side conceded eight goals in total – as many as they had conceded in their previous 16 combined.

Spurs can pack a punch too, with Conte's men winning their last four Premier League matches with an aggregate scoreline of 13-1, which stands as the longest winning run within the top-flight.

For the second consecutive year, Romelu Lukaku is returning to a former club. This time around, there is greater confidence he will be a success.

Lukaku's second attempt to forge a career at Chelsea proved as frustrating as his first.

Underused at Stamford Bridge as a young player before departing for Everton, Lukaku would argue he was misused last season.

The unstoppable force who had fired Inter to the 2020-21 Serie A title was gone, with the Belgium forward looking a little lost in Thomas Tuchel's system.

Now, though, Lukaku is back at Inter. Antonio Conte may no longer be at San Siro, but Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku's former strike partner, crucially still is.

The main man in Lukaku's absence, Martinez improved his goal output from 17 in 2020-21 to 21 last season, albeit that tally was still only enough to finish third in the Capocannoniere race.

Lukaku had been second the year before with 24, beaten by Cristiano Ronaldo, but his focus in returning to Italy is again on team success, with Inter having just lost the Scudetto to Milan.

"I don't care about the top scorers' ranking, I tell you honestly," Lukaku told DAZN ahead of the new season. "I only think of the Scudetto.

"Yes, the goals come, but we are at Inter, here we play for the Scudetto and not for individual things."

 

Succeeding as a team means playing as a team, and Lukaku and Martinez undoubtedly did that in 2020-21.

The pair created a combined 29 chances for one another, with eight of those leading to goals. That goal-assist combination made Lukaku and Martinez the most effective partnership in the division, ahead of Ruslan Malinovskyi and Duvan Zapata at Atalanta (seven goals).

The five goals Lukaku laid on for Martinez contributed to his 11 assists for the season, trailing only Malinovskyi (12) in that regard.

Indeed, since Opta's Serie A assist data began in 2004-05, Lukaku is the only player to score 20 or more goals and provide 10 or more assists in the same season.

Lukaku's inability to contribute a single assist in the Premier League last term therefore illustrates how spectacularly Chelsea failed to get the best out of him. Netting just eight times himself, he failed to link up with any Blues team-mate for more than a single goal.

That is not to say Lukaku and Martinez clicked instantly at Inter; in the former's first season in Italy, in 2019-20, he scored 23 goals but assisted only two. One of those two assists saw Lukaku tee up Martinez, but the Argentina forward did not return the favour even once.

In 2020-21, unlike at Chelsea, Lukaku was able to make the most of his best attributes for the benefit of both himself and his team-mate.

Rather than consider Lukaku a target man, Conte allowed his number nine to turn and run with the ball, with five of his assists coming following ball carries – along with four of his goals. Only Luis Muriel (12), another Atalanta player, contributed to more Serie A goals following carries than Lukaku's nine.

None of his eight Chelsea goals came following carries as he recorded only 4.4 carries per 90 minutes, down from 7.7 at Inter.

 

With Simone Inzaghi still using the same 3-5-2 formation that suited Lukaku so well, he and Inter will hope his reintegration now is seamless.

There remain other issues at the Nerazzurri, and goals were not necessarily the biggest problem Inzaghi's side had last term; they scored just five fewer than the previous season and led the league in that regard.

With three fewer victories than in their title-winning campaign, Inter finished two points shy of rivals Milan.

Yet Lukaku either scored or assisted in 22 of Inter's 38 games in 2020-21 and in 20 of their 28 wins – both league highs that show how vital his contributions can be.

The Nerazzurri will now head into the new season feeling confident they have re-signed the one man most likely to dominate Serie A matches on his own... or with a partner.

Paris Saint-Germain have been open about wanting three more new signings before the transfer window closes.

PSG head coach Christophe Galtier also explained that among those was the desire to bring in a forward.

The French champions have already sealed the services of Renato Sanches, Nordi Mukiele, Hugo Ekitike, Vitinha and Nuno Mendes during the off-season.

TOP STORY – PSG IN TALKS WITH MAN UTD'S RASHFORD

PSG have opened talks with Marcus Rashford's representatives about joining the Ligue 1 club from Manchester United, according to L'Equipe.

The England international striker is contracted with United until 2023, having signed a four-year deal in 2019 with the option to extend by a further year.

Sky Sports, however, claims that PSG are unlikely to follow up on their initial interest, having first enquired about Rashford last week.

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Manchester City are targeting Atletico Madrid's Brazilian Renan Lodi as they look to add a new left-back, according to The Telegraph. City want to bolster their options in the position following Oleksandr Zinchenko's departure for Arsenal. City are also considering Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney, claims 90min.

– Foot Mercato reports that Italian champions Inter are looking at Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo as a possible replacement for Martin Skriniar, should he leave. Todibo also has interest from PSG and Chelsea . Inter have also been linked to Borussia Dortmund's Swiss defender Manuel Akanji along with Lazio veteran Francesco Acerbi.

– Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri is drawing interest from both Nottingham Forest and Atalanta, according to the Evening Standard. The 28-year-old left-back is being squeezed out at Stamford Bridge following Marc Cucurella's arrival.

Napoli and Argentina international forward Giovanni Simeone have reached a verbal agreement, reports Sky Sport Italia. Simeone is set to join Napoli on loan from Hellas Verona, but Sky Sport Italia claims Juventus are prepared to poach him at the last minute.

Timo Werner simply needs to enjoy his football again after ending his frustrating Chelsea spell by returning to RB Leipzig, according to his new head coach Domenico Tedesco.

The Germany forward failed to live up to expectations after arriving at Stamford Bridge for a fee of £47.5million (€50m) two years ago, scoring just 10 Premier League goals in 56 appearances.

Werner had previously made his name during a four-year spell at Leipzig, for whom his tally of 95 goals remains a club record, and re-joined the side on a four-year contract this week for a fee said to be around £25m.

Tedesco, who led Leipzig to a fourth-placed Bundesliga finish after taking over midway through last season, is keen to avoid heaping pressure on the 26-year-old following his disappointing time in the Premier League.

"As for Timo, there is no pressure at all," Tedesco told a news conference. "Of course, we notice what kind of commotion that's creating. He's coming back, he played for Leipzig before as you know.

"He did a good job then. That's all we ask for. He just needs to enjoy what he's doing. He did the full pre-season with Chelsea but only played two games with them. 

"So we will not burden him. We all have to be careful that we don't overload him. We just want him to have fun, show his strengths, of which he has many. 

"The rest will come bit by bit. This won't happen overnight."

 

Leipzig recorded 28 shots and enjoyed 68 per cent of the possession in their Bundesliga opener at Stuttgart last Sunday, but could only manage a 1-1 draw after taking the lead eight minutes in.

Tedesco's side have also added David Raum and Xaver Schlager for eight-figure fees in the transfer window, but he insists their arrivals have not placed him under greater pressure to deliver, adding: "I am happy to have these guys on our team. You feel the biggest pressure from yourself.

"We would like to play every game like the one in Stuttgart but then also win. Other than that, [we want] the feeling to look forward and the joy to have a squad like this. 

"We are looking forward to midweek fixtures soon. Then we can get things going with this squad. This will also be important. 

"It makes a difference if we play every seven days or every three and a half days. Playing will be more fun. It was like that last season and now our team is even broader."

Leipzig host Koln in their first home match of the Bundesliga season on Saturday. 

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