Real Madrid have reportedly made Chelsea's Reece James their primary transfer target ahead of next season.

Despite his time on the pitch being limited by injuries, the 22-year-old right-back has been a potent force going forwards this season, contributing five goals and six assists in 22 Premier League fixtures.

While Chelsea will likely do all they can to hold on to their homegrown England international, Madrid have had plenty of opportunities to scout the man top of their wish-list as he played all 210 minutes across their two Champions League legs, with the second going to extra-time.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID MAKE JAMES A PRIORITY

Todofichajes is reporting Los Blancos have identified right-back as a position of weakness, spelling bad news for incumbent Dani Carvajal.

Madrid, who won LaLiga on Saturday, are said to have assessed other options at the position, such as Sporting CP's Pedro Porro, but ultimately landed on James after getting an up-close look at him in the Champions League.

James still has three years remaining on his contract, and 90min is reporting a revamped new deal is one of Chelsea's top priorities once the sale of the club is complete. He is expected to fetch a transfer fee of at least €60million.

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes is a target for Juventus in the upcoming window, according to TEAMtalk.

- The Daily Mail is reporting Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans would prefer a move to Spain if he leaves the club, with Madrid said to have a strong interest.

- According to Birmingham Live, Manchester United sent a senior scout to watch Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Juve are interested in bringing Chelsea midfielder Jorginho back to Italy before his contract expires, per Todofichajes.

- Fabrizio Romano is reporting Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso is keen to return to Spain, and Barcelona have made contact. 

- Romano also claims that Chelsea are still eager to sign Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. The France defender has an €80m release clause.

Jorginho says Antonio Rudiger will be a big loss for Chelsea as Real Madrid reportedly close in on a deal for the centre-back.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel revealed following Sunday's late win over West Ham that Rudiger intends to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Tuchel suggested that Rudiger's decision was influenced by the financial restrictions imposed on Chelsea while a new owner to succeed Roman Abramovich is being sought.

According to widespread reports on Tuesday, Madrid have had no such problem agreeing terms with Rudiger and an announcement is expected to be made imminently.

The Germany international has spent five seasons at Stamford Bridge and Jorginho admits his team-mate's absence will be felt both on the pitch and off it.

"He's been here a long time so if he leaves then we're going to miss him," he told Sky Sports News. "He's a big personality and he's helped us a lot. 

"We've had amazing times here; he's a good friend of mine and of course if he leaves everyone at the club will miss him, not just me."

Asked what he will miss the most about Rudiger, Jorginho said: "His craziness. He makes me laugh a lot; all of his jokes and laughs we've had together – that's the nice part."

Rudiger has started 47 games this season, which is five more than any other Chelsea player, with Jorginho sixth on that list (42 appearances).

 

Indeed, no player from a club in Europe's top five leagues has started more matches in 2021-22 when taking all competitions into account.

Rudiger played no part in Chelsea's victory over West Ham last time out, however, a game in which Jorginho missed a penalty before Christian Pulisic snatched a late victory.

Jorginho was criticised for his spot-kick style after sending his effort straight at goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, but the midfielder suggested VAR was partly to blame for the miss.

"This sort of pressure, especially in games like this when you need to win and it's last minute, you try to isolate your mind from all that pressure even though it's hard," he said. 

"Then you have the VAR so it takes longer, it's harder to keep focus. 

"What you need to do and what I try to do is I try to isolate my mind of all this pressure, and unfortunately this time it didn't work."

Prior to his penalty miss against West Ham, Jorginho had converted each of his last 13 for Chelsea (excluding shoot-outs) in a run stretching back to Boxing Day 2020.

"When you have that little moment of doubt that's usually when you make the mistake," the Italy international added. "Maybe I had too much time to think about it, I don't know.

"This time it went like that and I'm sorry. I feel bad because it's not a nice feeling."

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Chelsea will be unable to keep hold of Antonio Rudiger, who has asked to leave the club.

Reports in the media this week claimed that Rudiger – whose contract expires at the end of the season – had turned down the offer of a new deal and had decided to leave for pastures new.

Tuchel has now revealed those reports were correct. Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are among the clubs said to have an interest in the centre-back.

And, due to the sanctions imposed on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich by the United Kingdom government in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Tuchel explained that the club have been unable to up their offer.

Rudiger sat out Chelsea's 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday due to injury and after the match, Tuchel told Sky Sports: "The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this in a private talk.

"We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the sanctions. Without the sanctions, we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don't take it personally. It is his decision.

"He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season. But it is disappointing. We will miss him a lot.

"He gives courage in the dressing room. The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level. He [has been] a top defender in the last one and a half years for me. We then need to find another solution."

Christian Pulisic's last-minute strike snatched a victory for Chelsea against West Ham, as they snapped a two-game losing streak at Stamford Bridge.

It was another below-par performance from the Blues, however, with Jorginho seeing a terrible penalty saved just before Pulisic scored the winner.

"It feels like a giant step. We have some games in hand. It was necessary and I am glad," said Tuchel, whose side are now five points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal, with a trip to Old Trafford coming up on Thursday.

"The atmosphere is like this in the dressing room. We also deserved a bit of luck after the last results and how they were created here in our stadium.

"A big game now coming in Manchester. A good feeling with a late win. It lifts everybody's mood."

Jorginho had converted each of his last 13 penalties for Chelsea (excluding in shoot-outs), with this being his first failure to score from the spot for the Blues since Boxing Day 2020 versus Arsenal, though got his attempt all wrong this time around.

"It works for us normally 100 per cent," said Tuchel. "It can happen. Hopefully, it is an unusual thing. He is disappointed but happy we could turn it around."

Romelu Lukaku can take comfort from Timo Werner's return to form and the Belgium star just needs "one spark" to find his confidence again, according to Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Werner has come under regular scrutiny following his £45million (€50m) move to Stamford Bridge from RB Leipzig in June 2020.

The Germany international scored six goals in 35 appearances in his debut Premier League campaign and has found the net on just three occasions in the top flight this season.

However, two of those strikes came in the 6-0 rout of Southampton in his last league game, as many goals as he had managed in his previous 27 appearances in the Premier League. Werner also scored at Real Madrid in the Champions League and was influential in the FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace.

Lukaku has endured similar struggles since his big-money return to Chelsea from Inter at the start of the season, last scoring in the league in December against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The former Manchester United man has been hampered by injuries as well, and although he missed glorious opportunities against Madrid and Palace on his return, Tuchel believes he will soon find his form.

"I don't think he needs inspiration as such, but he needs that one moment, that one spark," Tuchel said on Tuesday when asked if Lukaku could learn from Werner.

"He maybe would've been a natural starter against Crystal Palace given the minutes Kai [Havertz] has played and the matches recently, but after a period of injury he lacked the fitness for matches.

"I don't point the finger at him, it's just a fact.

"Compare the difference in Brentford and Southampton, and the two legs against Real Madrid, you see the effort we put into become a winning team and this is what we need.

"Romelu should've had a goal against Real Madrid and Crystal Palace, but if he plays we need all that he has."

Reece James is another who has suffered with injury problems throughout the campaign, but he has shown encouraging form in recent weeks.

Tuchel acknowledged the brilliance of the England international, even if his adaptability causes many a selection headache whether to play him as a right wing-back or third centre-back.

"I think the back three is a little less demanding physically in terms of the wing-back position given he comes from a long injury," the German added on James.

"It is a bit of an advantage to have him in the back three because it is less demanding physically. He can play both positions brilliantly and we can only pick him once, so we have to decide."

Meanwhile, Tuchel expressed his gratitude to the work of Jorginho, who started against Palace on Sunday after being rested for two league games with Southampton and Brentford.

"He sacrificed for the team and I think you see it now," he said of the Italy midfielder. 

"There are so many demands, and after a big success, like winning the Euros, he felt the pressure. This is normal and sometimes after big success it is difficult to keep on going and going.

"He put the responsibility on his shoulders and always does. That is why I love him. We see we overused him and I feel we see the consequences of that. He is not at his freshest moment at the minute."

Lautaro Martinez was very close to joining Barcelona from Inter Milan two years ago.

The Blaugrana and the Argentina international had reached a personal agreement, but the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic scuppered any possibility for the former to make any transfer happen.

As ever, though, circumstances in football change and according to reports, they have changed in a way that would allow Barca to finally get the Martinez deal over the line.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN FRAME FOR LAUTARO

Barcelona are back in the running to sign Inter's Lautaro Martinez, according to reports from Sport.

The 24-year-old is increasingly likely to leave the reigning Serie A champions, but it appears the club would be willing to lower their asking price in exchange for players as part of a package deal.

Inter have shown interest in Miralem Pjanic and Memphis Depay, two players who appear to be surplus to requirements in a rebuild under Xavi at the Catalan giants.

Martinez, who has provided 15 goals and three assists in 28 league appearances this season, is seen as a more affordable alternative to Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski.

 

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– Liverpool are eyeing Aberdeen right-back Calvin Ramsey to provide depth for Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Sun reports.

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to part ways with Mauricio Pochettino in order to hire Zinedine Zidane as their head coach, per Le Parisien.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Roma would consider an offer of €60million (£49.6m) for highly-rated 22-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo, as interest from Serie A and Premier League clubs looms.

– Juventus are prepared to offer for Chelsea's Jorginho, with the Turin giants seeking to bolster their midfield next season, according to Tuttosport.

– Chelsea are willing to let 28-year-old striker Romelu Lukaku go with Inter and PSG interested, per 90Min.

After excelling in the Champions League for Benfica, Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez has attracted interest from Newcastle United.

Darwin, who turns 23 in June, has scored 24 goals in 24 Primeira Liga games, as well as six goals in 10 Champions League appearances. No Benfica player has ever scored more goals in a single Champions League campaign.

While some of the world's biggest clubs – including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United – are hoping to sign the breakout star, they will have to contend with an aggressive offer to bring him to St James' Park.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE MAKE £50M BID FOR DARWIN

Newcastle have been linked with all kinds of big-name signings for the upcoming transfer window, but Footmercato is reporting that they have made a £50million bid for Darwin in an effort to fend off the challenge of rival clubs.

At such a young age, he could be the kind of marquee signing the new Newcastle board can build their future side around as they also chase more experienced players, such as Christian Eriksen from Brentford on a free transfer.

The Footmercato report also mentions that if Darwin is to leave, Benfica plan to replace him with Petar Musa, who is on loan at Boavista from Slavia Prague.

 

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– 90min is reporting Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri is very interested in reuniting with Jorginho, as he is unlikely to be offered a new contract at Chelsea beyond 2023.

– Erik ten Hag would like to bring Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni to Manchester United when he takes over as manager, according to ESPN.

Arsenal, Leeds United and Newcastle are set to compete for the signature of Hoffenheim's Florian Grillitsch when his contract expires after this season, per the Daily Mail.

– The Sun is reporting Kalvin Phillips will reject Manchester United's advances and sign a new deal with Leeds.

Burnley are targeting Sam Allardyce to take over as manager after the sacking of Sean Dyche, per The Sun.

Jesse Lingard's future with Manchester United is unclear.

The 29-year-old England international is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lingard had a brilliant loan spell at West Ham United last season but has remained out of favour at Old Trafford this term.

 

TOP STORY – ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR LINGARD

Lingard could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the Italian club joining the race for the forward, according to the Mirror.

Lingard is being pursued by West Ham following his impressive loan spell, while Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old.

Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus also have an interest in Lingard, with a move to Italy offering a lucrative alternative option.

English pair Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have enjoyed productive spells at Roma, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on loan from Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are moving on from their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe , who appears set to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, by turning their attention to landing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, claims the Mirror.

- Inter will make a move to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, following his August exit from the Italian champions, reports Football Insider. Lukaku previously expressed his regret at leaving Inter.

- The Sun claims that Arsenal and Tottenham will battle to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison who is rated at £60million and could be put up for sale.

- Danny Ings could be on his way out of Aston Villa as manager Steven Gerrard plans a clear-out, according to the Mirror.

- CBS Sports claims Liverpool and West Ham are no longer interested in Leicester City's Youri Tielemans, leaving the door open for Manchester United to land the midfielder.

- Juventus are circling for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho , reports Tutto Mercato.

Roberto Mancini has revealed the decision to release several senior Italy faces such as Jorginho is to help repay the efforts made between club and country.

The Chelsea midfielder, along with a clutch of other key players such as Marco Verratti, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne, have left the Azzurri camp ahead of Tuesday's clash with Turkey.

Defeat against North Macedonia last week left the Euro 2020 hopes' of reaching Qatar 2022 in tatters, ensuring they will miss a second successive World Cup.

With that in mind, Mancini looks set to field a more experimental side for a dead rubber against Turkey, who were also eliminated from the play-offs.

Speaking ahead of the match at Torku Arena, Mancini explained that it was on his orders that Jorginho and others departed early, stating that it was intended as a favour to their respective clubs.

"I forced them to leave," the manager sought to clarify in his pre-match press conference. "If I can do something for them and for the clubs, we do it.

"They would not have played. Some were not physically at their best. Some of them, I forced them to go.

"Chelsea sent us Jorginho three days earlier [and] did not let him play in the FA Cup. I sent [him] back home because [he] would not have played."

Jorginho has endured a tough few months in the Azzurri fold, with his crucial missed penalties against Switzerland in the group stage qualifiers effectively costing his side a straight passage to Qatar.

While Mancini added that neither Napoli forward Insigne or Lazio striker Immobile would have featured against Turkey, but still paid tribute to their contributions.

"Lorenzo had physical problems [and] Immobile would have gone to the stands," he stated.

"The boys in recent years have deserved a lot. There are special players here, a special group has been created."

Marco Verratti and Jorginho were among a group of six players to leave the Italy camp after their failure to qualify for the World Cup. 

Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Berardi and Gianluca Mancini also returned to their clubs ahead of schedule, with the latter two having sustained knocks. 

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is expected to ring the changes in a friendly against Turkey on Tuesday following the Azzurri's shock defeat to North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on Thursday. 

The Euro 2020 champions' first ever home loss in World Cup qualifying meant they failed to reach successive finals for the first time in their history. 

Instead of taking on Portugal in the play-off final, Italy will depart for Konya on Monday. 

Jorginho admits his missed penalties earlier in the campaign will haunt him forever following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

The Azzurri were crowned Euro 2020 champions just eight months ago after beating England in the final on penalties.

However, Roberto Mancini's side will not be at the World Cup later this year after they were stunned 1-0 by North Macedonia in the playoff semi-finals.

Although the hosts dominated proceedings in Palermo, Aleksandar Trajkovski struck in stoppage time to give the visitors a shock victory.

Having drawn four of their last five games, Italy had to settle for a playoff place after finishing two points behind Switzerland in Group C.

Among them was a 1-1 stalemate with the Swiss, during which Jorginho missed two penalties that would have seen the Azzurri displace their opponents in top spot.

And the Chelsea midfielder revealed his sense of responsibility for his nation’s subsequent failure to qualify.

"It is difficult to explain what happened," he told RAI Sport. "It hurts so much. I'll be honest, I am still incredulous. 

"I don't think we lacked creativity, as we always dominated matches and created so many chances. Unfortunately, we were unable to finish them off.

"We played good football, we won the European Championship last summer, but unfortunately in the last few games, we made small errors and were unable to recover from them. They made the difference.

"It hurts when I think about [the missed penalties], because I do still think about it, and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

"Stepping up there twice and not being able to help your team and your country is something that I will carry with me forever, and it weighs on me.

"People say we need to lift our heads and carry on, but it's tough."

Meanwhile, team-mate Marco Verratti acknowledged that the reigning European champions were made to pay after failing to turn their superiority into goals.

"It is difficult to understand. I think we dominated this match, and we should've won. We had to win," the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder added.

"This is football, it is fundamental to be clinical and ruthless. It's just so difficult to explain. It was a nightmare.

"Looking around the locker room, we had the players to challenge for the tournament itself, yet here we are talking about a disaster. It's so tough to go from hero to zero.

"We experienced special times together, and I will always be proud of my team-mates. 

"We have to ask ourselves questions now. There's some bad luck, but you also need to make your own luck."

Paul Pogba has one foot out of the door at Manchester United, going on the record this week to say he has been disappointed by his five seasons with the Red Devils.

With his contract set to expire in June, the 29-year-old will have plenty of suitors from all over Europe.

While he is expected to sign with an established Champions League contender, Premier League sides Newcastle United and Aston Villa are reportedly assessing if the France international has any interest in remaining in England.

TOP STORY - POGBA TO STAY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

While away on international duty, Pogba spoke to French media about how his time at Manchester United has fallen short of expectations.

He spoke about how he has been depressed at times throughout his latest near six-year stint in England, and went on to describe the current season as "dead", pointing to his ambition to win trophies in the future.

It seems likely that Pogba's future will be at another club, and while it is widely reported that the favourites to attain Pogba's services are European giants Juventus, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain, The Sun is reporting that Newcastle and Aston Villa are "monitoring the situation".

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Milan are considering a summer move for Chelsea's Jorginho after his agent declared it would be a "dream" to return to Italy. "Today he can play in four or five teams: AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Roma or Napoli," agent Joao Santos declared this week.

- The Evening Standard is reporting that Declan Rice would prefer to move to Chelsea as opposed to Manchester United after West Ham reportedly placed a £150million price tag on the English midfielder to try and fend off circling clubs.

- Tottenham's Harry Kane was non-committal when asked about his future at the club, with The Daily Mirror reporting there is interest in reuniting the striker with former boss Mauricio Pochettino if he is to secure the top job at Manchester United.

- UOL is reporting that Barcelona are set to make it a three-horse race for young Ajax star Antony after Dani Alves recommended the Barca hierarchy should match the bids of Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Spotify's new $235million deal with Barcelona has given the Spanish side some extra spending money, and all eyes are on Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

The Red Devils were eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, and currently occupy fifth spot in the Premier League table in what has been a disappointing season.

Pogba recently made headlines after his home was burgled while he played in the second leg of United's tie against Atletico, coming off the bench in the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA CLOSE IN ON POGBA 

According to The Daily Star, Barcelona's recent windfall has the club looking around at options to add to Xavi's side, with Pogba now considered within their price range and near the top of the list.

Pogba, 29, has nine assists and one goal in his 16 Premier League appearances this season, with his contract set to expire this summer.

Meanwhile, TuttoJuve say Manchester United have identified Dutch 19-year-old Ryan Gravenberch as a potential replacement if they can pry him away from Ajax. 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona coach Xavi has said club legend Lionel Messi will "always be welcome" back at Camp Nou. However, Marca also report that Messi does not plan to leave Paris Saint-Germain during his two-year contract.

- According to Fichajes, Newcastle United are interested in signing superstar forward Neymar, who is under contract at PSG through 2025.

- Juventus are to target a move for Manchester City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, The Daily Star reports, if the English giants manage to sign Norwegian striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that Antonio Rudiger is set to join Juventus when his Chelsea contract expires this summer, signing a four-year deal with the iconic Italian club.

- Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta has agreed to a free transfer to Barcelona, with the deal expected to be completed at the end of the season according to Football Insider.

- The agent of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho said he would one day like to return to Serie A, according to The Daily Mirror. The 30-year-old Italian spent three seasons with Hellas Verona, and five seasons with Napoli before heading to the Premier League.

Romelu Lukaku's Chelsea return has not gone to plan – and it may well be that the striker departs after just one season back at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international has 11 goals in 31 matches and is struggling to nail down a spot in Thomas Tuchel's starting line-up.

With Chelsea's problems growing off the field, they may now face a big decision regarding their record signing.


TOP STORY – LUKAKU WANTS INTER RETURN AT ALL COSTS

According to Calciomercato, Lukaku is doing everything in his power to push through a return to Inter ahead of next season after departing the Serie A champions in August.

The Italian outlet claims that Lukaku accepts he made a big mistake in departing San Siro and, amid a breakdown in his relationship with Chelsea fans, he is desperate to return.

However, while the 28-year-old is said to be willing to take a pay cut, Inter are unable to finance a permanent transfer and may instead look to purchase him on an initial loan. 

Chelsea would also have to be cleared to sell the player following the heavy sanctions placed upon owner Roman Abramovich by the United Kingdom government this week.

ROUND-UP

- Those sanctions cast doubt over Chelsea's ability to sell or recruit players in the next transfer window, but that has not stopped the Blues being linked with more players. The Mirror reports that they remain hopeful of signing Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal.

- Should they be allowed to offload players in the coming months, Tuttosport suggests that Juventus will attempt to sign Jorginho from Chelsea. The Italian club are also reported to be in the mix to land wing-back Emerson Palmieri.

- With Harry Maguire struggling, Fichajes reports that Manchester United are targeting versatile Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez. However, United may face competition from LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid.

- According to The Sun, United are ready to offer Juan Mata a coaching role should the midfielder call time on his playing career. Mata has played just four games all season, starting two of those, and is due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

- The Daily Mail reports that mega-rich Newcastle United intend to move for Leeds United's in-demand midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who has also been linked with ambitious Aston Villa. Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea is another supposed target for the Magpies.

Chelsea are eager to fly out Thomas Tuchel to the Club World Cup final, as Jorginho said the head coach could make all the difference.

Tuchel tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up to the trip to the United Arab Emirates, with Chelsea announcing that blow to their preparations last Saturday.

The Champions League winners beat Al-Hilal 1-0 in the semi-finals without Tuchel on the touchline, thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal, and now they are preparing to face Palmeiras in the final.

Brazilian giants Palmeiras, holders of the Copa Libertadores, were 2-0 winners against Al Ahly and will present tough opposition for Chelsea.

Saturday's trophy match is one that Tuchel would want to attend, and Chelsea reportedly have a private jet on standby, but he needs negative test results before he can be cleared to travel to Abu Dhabi.

Asked about preparing for the game without Tuchel, Jorginho said: "Of course it's different. His energy helps a lot, but he's not here now and the staff is trying to do their best. We can feel that.

"We feel sorry Thomas is not here with us, but he's involved all the time, in touch with the staff and team. We can feel the staff, all of them, are doing their best."

It would help, however, if Tuchel can be present in person, rather than making plans from afar.

"Of course it gives you more," Jorginho said. "There's more energy in the changing room. It'll be really important for us if he could be here. That's what we hope but at the moment we just don't know. We can hope."

Chelsea assistant boss Zsolt Low, set to lead the team if Tuchel cannot make the trip, added: "We still hope he can come and enjoy the group and the final as soon as possible.

"He is following the rules and getting tested. There is a lot of time. Any test he does could be negative. We hope this happens in the next hours. Thomas absolutely thinks he can be there, and the team and the whole staff want him to come for the final.

"We hope he can come, but if he cannot, we are still well prepared. We have had a lot of meetings. We had a video conference after the first game analysing it, and seeing what we can do better and what problems we had. We are absolutely clear what happened in the first game and what we have to do better in the second game."

Chelsea have yet to decide whether goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, back from helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations, should come back into the team in place of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

"We have to take this decision tonight or latest tomorrow," said Low. "We talk to Thomas about it, we talk with the goalkeeper coaches, and we will make the final decision tomorrow, some hours before the game.

"Whoever sits on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about. Both goalkeepers have had big performances in the last weeks, and that's why it's just a decision for this game."

Jorginho will be targeting another major trophy, after his Champions League win with Chelsea and Euro 2020 triumph with Italy last year.

"It's an important trophy. It's February. It's so much. We really want it. We're not thinking about the Premier League right now, we're thinking about tomorrow," Jorginho said. "That's the important thing right now."

This will be the fourth Club World Cup final between an English and a Brazilian side, making it the most commonly contested final by teams from two specific nations.

Brazilian sides have won three of their four games against English opposition at the tournament, the exception being a 1-0 defeat for Flamengo against Liverpool in the 2019 final.

Chelsea lost to Corinthians in the 2012 final, and Palmeiras are bidding to become the fifth Brazilian winners of the competition.

Palmeiras certainly head into the final in strong form, having achieved a 10-game unbeaten run across all competitions (W7 D3), with their last defeat coming back in November against Fortaleza in the league.

Romelu Lukaku scored his first Premier League goal since September and Jorginho struck from the penalty spot twice as Chelsea beat Aston Villa 3-1.

Thomas Tuchel's side had fallen behind to a Reece James own goal in the 28th minute, but they restored parity shortly after thanks to a Jorginho spot-kick.

Half-time substitute Lukaku then headed home for the first time in the top flight since he scored a brace against Villa at Stamford Bridge on September 11, before Jorginho added a third with another penalty in stoppage time. 

The victory meant Chelsea moved level on points with second-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand, while Villa dropped down to 10th after earlier moving up to ninth following Leicester City's heavy defeat to Manchester City.

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