The Netherlands would love to start playing well, but beating the United States and reaching a World Cup quarter-final is their primary focus.

This has so far been an underwhelming tournament from the Oranje, although they still advanced top of Group A with two wins and a draw from their three matches.

Coach Louis van Gaal told the media to fly home if the football was "so terribly boring", but there is no doubt it is effective.

Discounting penalty shoot-outs, Van Gaal is unbeaten in his 10 World Cup matches as a coach. Only Felipe Scolari (12) and Mario Zagallo (11) have enjoyed longer undefeated streaks to start their finals careers.

The coach appears to have his players on board, as Marten de Roon said: "We are searching, that is clear. We hope it gets better, we all hope so.

"But the first goal is to get through to the next round. We are not deliberately playing badly here. Maybe one of you has the solution?

"Of course, we would prefer to play everyone off the carpet and win 5-0 every time and become world champions, but it is not that simple. Winning counts on Saturday, but how we do it matters less. Even if necessary through penalty kicks.

 

"I don't mind becoming a world champion without having played a good match. The positive is that we haven't lost. That may also give us the confidence that it can only get better."

The Dutch have reached at least the quarter-final in four of their last five appearances at the World Cup, exiting in the last 16 in 2006.

Meanwhile, the United States have lost three of their four last-16 matches, winning only in 2002 against Mexico.

They have only won one of five meetings with the Netherlands – all in friendlies – although that victory was in their last such clash in 2015.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

All the talk going into the tournament was around one forward in Memphis Depay, but the Netherlands have a new star. Gakpo put Oranje 1-0 up in all three group games, with David Villa in 2010 the last player to open the scoring in four matches at a single World Cup.

United States – Christian Pulisic

Pulisic expects to be fit for this match despite his injury against Iran, and his return will be welcomed. The winger has scored twice as many goals (22) for the USMNT as any other player in Gregg Berhalter's squad.

PREDICTION

The Netherlands may not be playing well, but the supercomputer expects their winning habit to continue. They are 51.9 per cent favourites for this one.

The United States have a 22.0 per cent chance, while a draw that would spell penalties has a 26.1 per cent likelihood.

Christian Pulisic says he will do everything in his power to be fit for the United States' World Cup round-of-16 showdown with the Netherlands on Saturday.

Pulisic suffered a pelvic injury when scoring the winning goal in the USA's victory over Iran on Tuesday.

The Chelsea forward was substituted at half-time, but hopes to recover in time to take on the Oranje at Khalifa International Stadium this weekend.

A USA team spokesman said of Pulisic's pelvic contusion injury during a press conference on Thursday "it's what it sounds like," but the former captain stated: "No, but at the same time, it's not.

"Like, I didn't get, like, hit in the balls."

He added: "It was very painful. You know, that bone is there for a reason, to protect you, I think. And I hit it well. And it was sore, but like I said, I'm getting better."

Pulisic continued: "I took a knee ... to a nice pelvis area - it was not nice."

The former Borussia Dortmund man is determined to play his part when the USA go in search of a quarter-final place.

"I'm gonna go meet now with the team and the medical staff, and make a decision on [training] today," added Pulisic.

"Just kinda see how I'm feeling, taking it day by day right now. But doing everything in my power to be able to be out there on the field Saturday.

"I will do everything in my power to work with this medical team and make sure that I can play."

Christian Pulisic was decisive as the United States beat Iran 1-0 to secure their place in the last 16 of the World Cup as geopolitics briefly took a back seat at Al Thumama Stadium.

Due to the long-strained relationship between the two countries politically and the ongoing civil unrest in Iran, the build-up to Tuesday's Group B clash was dominated by talk of almost anything but football.

Once the game settled, however, the USA's superiority was abundantly clear and Iran were fortunate to only trail by Pulisic's goal at the break, with Timothy Weah having one disallowed.

Carlos Queiroz's side did at least manage a shot after the break, but the USA had enough to see out a slender – albeit deserved – victory and set up a last-16 clash with Group A winners the Netherlands.

After an emotionally charged opening that saw both sides show purpose, the USA began to probe with the greater regularity.

Weah let Iran off the hook just before the half-hour, taking an early header – which led to an easy save – unaware he had time for the ball to drop.

Pulisic gave Alireza Beiranvand no chance 10 minutes later, though.

Sergino Dest headed Weston McKennie's exquisite pass into the danger zone and Pulisic slammed home while colliding with Beiranvand, ultimately forcing the Chelsea man off at the interval.

Weah strayed just offside before scoring what he thought was the USA's second, and half-time substitute Saman Ghoddos almost capitalised as he headed over just after the break.

Iran enjoyed a lot of late pressure but their efforts did not yield an equaliser, with Morteza Pouraliganji heading agonisingly wide and Mehdi Taremi failing to convert from close range in stoppage time.

Christopher Nkunku has long been inked with Chelsea, with reports he had undergone a medical in September.

The 25-year-old Frenchman netted 20 goals in the Bundesliga last season and already has 12 this term.

The Blues are undergoing a period of change under owner Todd Boehly and new head coach Graham Potter – and could be about to land a big-name target.

 

TOP STORY - NKUNKU'S CHELSEA DEAL SET TO BE SIGNED

Chelsea are on the cusp of finalising the deal for RB Leipzig forward Nkunku with contracts set to be signed, reports Fabrizio Romano.

The Blues have reached an agreement with Nkunku's German club Leipzig for more than £52million (€60m).

Nkunku, who was ruled out of the World Cup earlier this month due to a knee injury, will apparently pen a long-term deal starting from June 2023.

ROUND-UP

- ESPN has reported that  Lionel Messi has not agreed to a deal to join Inter Miami from Paris Saint-Germain following reports that he is on the verge of a deal with the Major League Soccer club.

Chelsea are reportedly not willing to let Christian Pulisic depart on loan in January, amid links with Premier League trio Manchester United, Newcastle United and Arsenal. The Blues would prefer a permanent deal for the United States international.

- Sky Sport's Florian Plettenberg claims RB Leipzig's Konrad Laimer has reached a verbal agreement to join Bayern Munich at the end of this season, with a view to a long-term deal until 2027.

Edin Dzeko is set to earn a new one-year deal with Inter, according to Gazzetta. But the 36-year-old must accept a pay cut, from about €5.5m to €3m per season (plus bonuses).

- Ecuador international midfielder Moises Caicedo, who is currently on Brighton and Hove Albion's books, is drawing interest from Manchester United, claims Sky Germany.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Brighton are in talks with Molde to sign 19-year-old Ivorian striker David Datro Fofana. The Norwegian club want more than €10m (£8.6m) for him.

In 1998, Lyon's Stade de Gerland played host to what has since become known as the most political match in World Cup history between the United States and Iran.

Relations between the two countries had been tense for three decades at the time, and Iran players were reportedly ordered by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei not to walk towards their American counterparts during the pre-match handshakes.

Those pre-game formalities were carefully orchestrated to ensure the USA players were the ones walking during the pleasantries, but despite the political hostility, the Iranians handed white roses to their opponents as a peace offering and the two starting XIs posed for a joint photo.

The two nations will tussle for the first time in a competitive game since then on Tuesday, and despite the backdrop of civil unrest in Iran, this contest goes ahead with nowhere near the same kind of political intrigue.

Iran and the USA remain relatively hostile politically, but USA coach Gregg Berhalter was adamant that will not impact what occurs on the pitch during a game that is essentially a winner-takes-all encounter.

"I've played in three different countries, and I coached in Sweden, and the thing about soccer is you meet so many different people from all around the world, and you're united by a common love of the sport," Berhalter said.

"I envision the game being hotly contested for the fact that both teams want to advance to the next round – not because of politics or because of relations between our countries.

"We're soccer players and we're going to compete and they're going to compete and that's it."

Iran can secure their place in the last 16 with a draw, but the USA – who drew their first two matches – need to win.

The USA were eliminated by Iran as a result of a 2-1 loss in that infamous 1998 duel, which was also one of seven defeats they have suffered on matchday three on World Cup group stages.

They've only won their third group game once.

But the USA produced a positive performance during the draw with England, and Berhalter is happy his team have their destiny in their own hands.

"We win or we're out of the World Cup, and that's going to be the focus of ours in preparing the team," he added.

"Any time you're in a World Cup and you get to go into the last game controlling your destiny, that's a pretty good thing."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Iran – Sardar Azmoun

After being benched for the defeat to England, Azmoun started against Wales and carried real promise both in terms of his link-up play – their early disallowed goal was teed up by him – and his goalscoring threat.

His four shots was a team-high as was his 0.46 xG, he was just unfortunate in front of goal as he hit the post and saw a close-range header blocked by Wayne Hennessey.

Nevertheless, his performance was something of a statement after being left out on matchday one, and his pairing with Mehdi Taremi – who remarkably created eight chances last time out – will surely be key if Iran are to beat the USA.

United States – Christian Pulisic

The USA need to win, so they could do with their most-recognisable player leading by example in attack.

Pulisic had his moments against England, with his combined tally of five shots and chances created a high for his team, while he also generally worked hard, engaging in more duels (10) than any other USA player.

There's a perception Pulisic has failed to develop as many expected when he was younger, but this would be a great time to remind the doubters of his ability.

PREDICTION

According to Stats Perform's prediction model, the USA are more than twice as likely to win this game than Iran are, with their respective victory chances at 50.2 per cent and 24.1 per cent.

In fact, the supercomputer reckons a draw (25.7 per cent) is more likely than an Iran win, though crucially for Carlos Queiroz's men, a stalemate could be enough for progress as long as Wales don't beat England.

Lionel Messi has been linked with a blockbuster move to MLS club Inter Miami.

The Times report that the US franchise, co-owned by David Beckham, are ready to make Messi the highest-paid player in MLS history.

Messi is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move to his former club Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY - MESSI AND BUSQUETS COULD BE BOUND FOR MIAMI

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets is set to join ex-team-mate Lionel Messi at MLS club Inter Miami, according to Cope.

The 34-year-old Spain captain is out of contract at the end of this season and has been weighing up his future at Camp Nou.

Messi and Busquets spent more than a decade together at the Blaugrana and could re-unite in Florida, where the Argentina great regularly vacations at a house he owns.

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports Manchester United are exploring a January loan move for Chelsea's Christian Pulisic. Newcastle United and Arsenal have also been linked with the United States international by the Mail.

- Chelsea have been keeping a close watch on Bayer Leverkusen's Ecuadora centre-back Piero Hincapie during the World Cup, reports the Mirror.

- Fichajes claims that Real Madrid's German midfielder Toni Kroos has rejected the chance to move to Manchester City.

- Newcastle will move for 18-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos in January, according to the Northern Echo.

- Milan are eager to discuss lowering the €22m purchase option fee for on-loan midfielder Brahim Diaz with parent club Real Madrid, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Spaniard's two-year loan deal is due to expire at the end of the season.

Yunus Musah believes "the whole world will see" the United States' quality after they held England to a goalless draw at Al Bayt Stadium.

England are considered among the favourites for the World Cup, but they were on the back foot for long spells against the USMNT.

Neither team could forge a breakthrough, despite Christian Pulisic saying his side "showed dominance" at times.

Musah felt a draw was the fair result, but the teenager – who was eligible to play for England – was still enthused by the United States' performance.

Agreeing it was a game in which the team could send a message, the midfielder said: "I feel like the team played really well today, showed how great they are.

"Most of them are playing in great teams at a high level, and I feel like today the whole world will see the US can do good things.

"I guess time will tell. We can't just live for one game. We've got to do it consistently."

Playing England made for an extra special occasion for Musah, but the United States as a whole could take encouragement from taking the game to one of the world's leading sides.

"We said that numerous times. These guys are one of the favourites to win the tournament," Musah said. "They're so good.

"We knew that, and we had to work double hard today to make sure they didn't score. I'm proud of the team."

The USMNT's success in frustrating England was evident in the way the Three Lions were booed off at the final whistle, and Pulisic added: "I guess that's a positive sign when you play for the other team.

"It was a really good performance. There were stretches of the game where we had control and we had them pushed back in their own half.

"Of course, the opposing fans don't like to see that, especially when we're the 'underdogs', but we went toe-to-toe with them and put in a good performance."

But the United States remain winless and must now turn their attention to Iran, who beat Wales earlier on Friday.

"I feel like a constant theme that I'm seeing when we watch any game is it's about who wants it more," said Musah.

"You saw Iran, they were running and running and running, closing down and fighting for every single ball.

"At the end of the day, every team's got quality, so the team who wants it more comes out on top most of the time. That's what I saw.

"We have to be ready for that. We can't drop the intensity against them."

Liverpool are reportedly keeping a close eye on Declan Rice's performances for England at the World Cup, and will prepare a move for the West Ham midfielder if they feel he handles the pressure of the big stage.

Rice, 23, played in all seven games for England in their run to the Euro 2020 final, and he has played in every minute of West Ham's 15 fixtures this Premier League season.

The defensive midfielder is a favourite of manager David Moyes, who declared in April that his price had risen to such an extent that "£150m just now would be minimum" – but his contract situation could force the club's hand.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WATCHING IF RICE CAN RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

According to Football Insider, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a "huge admirer" of the man with 35 international caps already under his belt, but he still wants to see more.

The report claims Liverpool will be paying attention to "how Rice copes with the type of scrutiny and huge-game pressure he does not get at West Ham, who do not compete in the Champions League or challenge for trophies".

Rice's contract ties him to the club until 2024, although there is a club-option to extend the contract for an extra year.

He turned down a bumper new deal earlier this year that would have paid him £200,000 per week, indicating this will likely be his last contract with West Ham, and that factor will drive his price down the longer the club waits.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport are reporting Manchester City are close to locking up Pep Guardiola on a new contract through 2025.

- According to 90min, Tottenham are eyeing Everton's Jordan Pickford, Brentford's David Raya and Brighton's Robert Sanchez as potential replacements for 35-year-old club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Chelsea's Christian Pulisic will likely be headed to the Serie A, per Fichajes, with Inter and Juventus said to be competing for his signature in January.

- AS are reporting Atletico Madrid will loan out Joao Felix in January after a lack of transfer interest.

- Newcastle United will make another run at 21-year-old Watford forward Joao Pedro, according to Football Insider, after having a £30m offer rejected before the season.

Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams believe the United States have every chance of beating England, with their confidence having not taken a hit in Monday's draw with Wales.

Pulisic supplied the assist for Timothy Weah's deserved opener at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium but the USA were unable to hold on in their opening World Cup game.

Walker Zimmerman's clumsy tackle on Gareth Bale handed Wales' talisman a chance he duly took, lashing home from 12 yards to send the large Welsh contingent behind the goal into raptures.

While Wales were able to celebrate snatching a point from what was their first World Cup game since 1958, the USA were left to lament not making the most of a bright first half.

The USA's expected goals (xG) of 0.66 far exceeded Wales' 0.17 in the first half, albeit they only had three attempts, despite having 66.7 per cent possession.

Pulisic, however, is confident that the USA can match England, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday, in their next Group B game on Friday.

"Absolutely. I think we have a good enough team to make it out of this group," he told reporters.

"England is our next test, we've got to be aggressive and go to win the game."

It was a sentiment echoed by captain Adams, who said: "Yeah, I think we match up well against them.

"Football is a game of inches, it comes down to mistakes or minimal details. We're obviously going to try and execute our game plan.

"We trust in the coach's ability to set us up well, but they're very flexible as well. At the end of the day it comes down to certain moments."

Head coach Gregg Berhalter fielded the USA's youngest team in a World Cup match since 1990, and Pulisic acknowledged there were nerves among the squad, with the nation having failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

"The nerves were there, we were all excited, but now we have to take this experience into the next one," Pulisic said.

"There's a lot of positives from the game in general. The team looks good. Now we have to figure out how to put that together for 90 minutes.

"A point in the first game is better than none. We have to move on, learn from this, it's a lot from our first game.

"I want to win. I'm very competitive. I love this team so much, I'm honoured to play in a World Cup for my country so the least I can do is give it all that I have."

Christian Pulisic has accepted being his "best self" is all the United States want from him after spending years obsessing about being the team's talisman.

The Chelsea forward is set to play a big part when the USA launch their Qatar World Cup campaign against Wales on Monday.

Gregg Berhalter's team later face games against England and Iran, and their presence at the finals comes as a huge relief after the team surprisingly missed out four years ago.

The US missed out on the Russia 2018 finals after losing 2-1 against Trinidad and Tobago in their final qualifier, described by Pulisic as a "freak game".

All the results that had to go against the Americans did just that, and they were left despondent and distant from the action that unfolded.

Pulisic says he used that failure as "a lot of motivation" this time around, explaining his disappointment by saying: "A lot was going on in my head. One of my biggest dreams was to be playing at a World Cup."

He was just 19 at the time of the finals in Russia, starring as a teenage breakout star in Germany for Borussia Dortmund, and has since relocated to the Premier League.

The acclaim that was coming his way was tough for the young Pulisic, and he said: "To be honest, I took a lot of that weight on my shoulders at that time because I felt it was my job to help the team and score goals to put us in a position to qualify for that World Cup.

"That whole process was definitely tough on me and in the end not qualifying was one of the biggest disappointments of my life."

Pulisic explained, in an interview released by US Soccer, how initially he felt "a little chip on my shoulder throughout the qualifying process" this time around.

"I felt like I had to really perform and be the main man at times," he said.

"But there came a point when I realised I don't need to be that with this team. There's so many unbelievable players in this team now that I can just be my best self and be a part of the teams and that's enough.

"I used my team-mates and leaned on them at times and the guys did an unbelievable job."

He feels "incredibly proud" to qualify this time around.

"Playing in the World Cup would obviously mean everything for me," Pulisic said.

"Knowing a lot of these guys for so long, and being able to do it with them by my side, is definitely special and hopefully a moment we're going to cherish for the rest of our lives."

Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen was one of the notable omissions from the United States' 26-man World Cup squad confirmed by head coach Gregg Berhalter on Wednesday.

Chelsea's Christian Pulisic, Juventus' Weston McKennie, Milan's Sergino Dest and Leeds United pair Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams were all included in the squad which is in Group B alongside Wales, England and Iran.

Steffen, who is on loan at Championship club Middlesbrough from City, missed out with Matt Turner, Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath preferred as the three goalkeepers.

Fulham defender Tim Ream along with Turkey-based forward Haji Wright have also been included, while exciting 19-year-old striker Ricardo Pepi has missed out, along with Paul Arriola and Jordan Pefok.

"Final roster decisions are always difficult, and we appreciate everyone's contributions who helped us get to this point," Berhalter said. "We believe we have a talented group, a strong team spirit, and one that is ready to compete."

This year's event marks USA's return to the World Cup having failed to qualify for Russia 2018. Deandre Yedlin is the only member of their last World Cup squad from 2014 to be carried over in this group.

The United States face Wales in their opening Group B match on November 21, before taking on England and Iran.

USA squad: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Sean Johnson (New York City), Matt Turner (Arsenal); Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Shaq Moore (Nashville), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville); Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams (Leeds United), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders); Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Norwich City), Tim Weah (Lille), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor)

Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic is excited by the prospect of facing former BVB heroes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic after they drew Chelsea in the Champions League.

Dortmund finished second to Manchester City in Group G of the Champions League, and were subsequently handed a tie against Graham Potter's Blues in Monday's last-16 draw.

The first leg – set for February 15 at Signal Iduna Park – will see Aubameyang and Pulisic return to their old club, for whom the Gabon striker scored 98 Bundesliga goals in a prolific five-year stint.

Asked about the draw at a press conference on Monday, Terzic said: "With Chelsea, a top team from England awaits us.

"With Aubameyang and Pulisic, they have players that were with us up until a few years ago.

"I am also close friends with the coach Graham Potter. I'm looking forward to seeing him again. But we won't play them now, but in February. 

"Until then, there is a lot to do, so much homework to do, but we definitely look forward to those games. 

"Attractive opponents like this are what we expect from the Champions League, and we will try to progress to the next round."

Meanwhile, Chelsea's director of football operations David Barnard is relieved they will not be facing former Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who has made a flying start to life in England with Manchester City.

"We're looking forward to playing Dortmund because this will be the first time that we've come across them in the Champions League, it will be interesting from that point of view," he said. 

"They played in the City group, as you know, and hopefully we'll get some inside knowledge from City on this particular one. At least Haaland is not playing for Dortmund on this occasion.

"We've obviously got Pierre going back to one of his old clubs, so we are looking forward to it."

Graham Potter was full of praise for his "really impressive" Chelsea players after they cruised to a 3-0 victory over Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

A brilliant Kai Havertz header in first-half injury time set the Blues on their way, before Christian Pulisic and substitute Armando Broja added second-half goals to cap a brilliant display.

The three points took Chelsea into the top four and gave Potter an important first home league victory after arriving from Brighton and Hove Albion in September.

Potter was delighted with his team after the game, telling reporters: "Winning games helps so we look forward to the games.

"It's about hard work, it's being together, that stuff is important but the guys have been really impressive.

"Credit to Wolves, they came out and gave us more of a test in the second half, we saw that period out and we managed to score a nice goal.

"We want to score more than one, we were playing so well and if you have that performance level, the goals will come.

"The effort was fantastic and they've worked hard in training this week.

"I've said from the start I've been impressed with how open, honest and responsible they are. It's difficult to keep the same 11 with the schedule, but there is an element of consistency to how we play.

"[I am] Really happy with the boys and how we've recovered. We go again [at Milan] on Tuesday."

Potter explained his decision to make seven changes from Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League home victory against Milan, saying: "I pick the right team to [try to] win.

"The schedule is tight so there's not a load of recovery time. We have to try to select the best team to give us the chance to perform well."

The Chelsea boss was also pleased to see Broja get on the scoresheet with a well-taken finish into the bottom corner in the 90th minute.

"Great finish, nice pass too," Potter added. "Whenever he comes on he works hard for the team.

"He's had to be patient but he's been working hard in training and it's nice for him to score."

Goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja gave Chelsea a 3-0 win over Wolves at Stamford Bridge in Graham Potter's first home league match in charge.

A much-changed Chelsea dominated the opening 45 minutes and took the lead in first-half injury time when Havertz nodded home Mason Mount's cross.

Mount then had a big hand in the second, playing in Pulisic to dink over Jose Sa, before substitute Broja raced through to add a late third as Chelsea beat Wolves for the first time in four attempts.

The Blues move up to fourth as Potter earns an important first home league victory after making seven changes.

The hosts started brightly with Conor Gallagher and Havertz both going close in the early minutes, though Daniel Podence headed just wide at the other end.

Jorginho saw a low drive parried away by Sa, while Mount dragged a shot left of the target as Chelsea pressed for an early goal.

Joao Moutinho tested Kepa Arrizabalaga with a powerful free-kick, before Sa made a brilliant save to tip a Pulisic curler wide at full stretch.

But Wolves' resistance was broken in first-half injury time as Havertz looped a sublime header into the far corner from Mount's driven cross from the right.

The visitors enjoyed a much better spell after the interval, but fell further behind when Pulisic and Mount combined before the former delicately finished to make it 2-0.

Havertz could have added a third shortly after, but his chip was pushed away by Sa before Hwang Hee-chan missed a golden opportunity to pull a goal back as he fired straight at Arrizabalaga.

Broja rounded off the scoring in the dying minutes, cutting onto his right foot before firing a delightful finish into the bottom corner to cap a brilliant Chelsea display.

Chelsea's admiration of 23-year-old Milan forward Rafael Leao is not a secret.

The Blues, along with several other clubs including Manchester City, are keen on the Portuguese.

Chelsea have also been linked with Christopher Nkunku in recent days but are plotting ways to land Rafael Leao too.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND MILAN PLOTTING SWAP DEAL

Chelsea and Milan are considering a swap deal whereby Rafael Leao would join the Blues, claims Calciomercato.

Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi would be part of the deal, although the Italian champions would still demand a £90million fee for the Portuguese.

According to the report, Milan will use their Champions League game on Wednesday against the Blues at Stamford Bridge to talk with Pulisic, along with Trevoh Chalobah.

ROUND-UP

– 90min claims that West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is top of Chelsea's transfer wish list. The Hammers slapped a £120m price tag on the England international in the off-season, although that will likely drop as the length of his contract shortens.

– Football Insider claims Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with 21-year-old winger Bukayo Saka on a new contract. Saka's current deal expires in 2024.

Everton are eager to use the option-to-buy trigger in Conor Coady's loan deal from Wolves, claims The Times. Coady would cost the Toffees less than £10m.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper could be sacked by owner Evangelos Marinakis, according to The Mail, with The Guardian linking Rafael Benitez with the role along with ex-Burnely boss Sean Dyche.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that former Inter and Lazio midfielder and Red Star boss Dejan Stankovic has reached a full agreement with Sampdoria to become the Italian Serie A club's new manager to replace the sacked Marco Giampaolo.

Jose Mourinho is set to be offered a new contract by Roma, potentially keeping him in the Italian capital until 2026, reports La Repubblica.

– Sport1 claims ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has declined the opportunity to take over at Bayer Leverkusen amid their poor start to the season.

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