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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has told his boys to target lifting the FA Cup and qualify for the Champions League before the season’s end.

The Blues were eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona on Wednesday and their final hope of winning a trophy this term is the FA Cup, which resumes with Sunday’s quarterfinal clash against Leicester.

But there is no more time to cry over spilt milk as Conte, who has come under severe criticism in the last couple of months, will have to devise a plan to successfully negotiate Leicester in the FA Cup.

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Asked about the team, Conte didn’t specify much but there have been suggestions that Willy Caballero could keep his place against Leicester after Thibaut Courtois’ poor outing against Barcelona.

“I think that we are talking about two good goalkeepers, Thibaut and Willy. We don’t have rules for the [different] competitions. On Sunday I’ll try to make the best decision, because we want to try to go to the next round,” Conte was quoted by ESPN.

The Blues exited the Champions League to which our gaffer responded by saying:

“It was a pity to go out of the Champions League, especially after two good performances against Barcelona, but this is football, this is life.”

“Now we have to face another competition and we must have great confidence to trust in our strength and try to move on. It’s a great competition – the oldest competition in the world. Last season we did very well to reach the final at Wembley, and now we have this possibility to reach the semi-final again.”

Conte, however, is adamant that he will not prioritise a top-four finish over winning silverware this season.

“We have to try to do both,” he added. “To try to go to the next round and to reach the semifinal in the FA Cup. It won’t be easy.

“Leicester is a good team. In the last game we played at home [in the Premier League] we suffered against them. Then [we have to] do our best also in the league, to find a place in the Champions League. It won’t be easy.

“Every trophy is important for us. We started the season to try to fight until the end for every competition.

“In the Carabao Cup we reached the semifinal, in Champions League the last 16. This is the FA Cup quarterfinal. If we win we can play another semifinal at Wembley. We try to do our best in every competition. This must be our target.”

England defender Gary Cahill and Spain striker Alvaro Morata have found themselves out of the team of late and were left out of their respective national teams for this month’s friendlies, putting further doubts over their chances of making the World Cup in summer.

Speaking on that, Conte explained:

“This question is for the coach of the national team, not for me. My only worry is that we try to have our players in the best form for Chelsea. Then the national team coach has to make the best decision for the country.”

It was disappointing to bow out of the Champions League but we really took the game to Barcelona. However, there can be no better time to be back in action and let’s hope we bounce back strongly against Leicester.

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Chelsea identify former Man United starlet as a cheaper alternative for £75m star

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Frank lampard confirms that Chelsea are yet to bid for Kai Havertz

Chelsea earmark Angel Gomes as an alternative to Kai Havertz

According to the Express, Chelsea have earmarked former Manchester United starlet Angel Gomes as an alternative for Kai Havertz.

The 19-year-old was considered to be one of the best young players at the United academy. The club’s efforts to keep him came to nothing as he officially became a free agent on 1st July.

Costing nothing, he will cost significantly lower than Havertz, who is valued at about £75million.

Having already invested significantly in both Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, the club could move for the cheaper option here.

Angel Gomes is seen as an alternative to Kai Havertz
Angel Gomes is seen as an alternative to Kai Havertz

Gomes was not happy to continue at Old Trafford owing to the limited opportunities afforded to him in the first-team. Since making his senior debut in 2017, he has made just 10 appearances since.

The youngster will find opportunities easier to come by at Chelsea. Frank Lampard has shown the willingness to play youth when necessary. The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, and Reece James have all broken into the first-team, with Christian Pulisic also becoming a key player.

Havertz is the much more glamourous option and is also at this moment a much better player. However, given his asking price, we could find value in signing Gomes instead.

Frank lampard has done well with his young squad
Frank Lampard has used a number of young players

The youngster is a talented player who had won the Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year in 2017. If we can get his talent to bloom, he can become a worthwhile player to have.

Lampard had earlier spoke on the topic of the club signing Gomes. He confirmed that Chelsea have not made an offer for the former Red.

In the changing landscape of the transfer market, opportunities cannot be passed by. It remains to be seen if we indeed make a move for Gomes.

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Gomes has represented England at the youth level. He has made 34 appearances across different age groups.

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33-year-old veteran Chelsea star linked with a move to London rivals

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Olivier Giroud of Chelsea

Oliver Giroud linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur

According to the Daily Star, former Tottenham Hotspur star Paul Robinson has tipped Oliver Giroud to make a switch to his former club in the upcoming window.

This will put the Frenchman in a list of just two players who will have played for all three of London’s top teams. The only other player to do so was William Gallas, who spent five years at the Bridge at the turn of the century.

According to Robinson, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is keen to bring in the Frenchman as a backup for Harry Kane.

Oliver Giroud has been tipped to join Tottenham Hotspur
Oliver Giroud has been tipped to join Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs failed to replace Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen, and have no senior striker to call on in place of the England captain.

The 33-year-old Giroud has spent most of the season on the periphery. However, he has stepped up magnificently in the absence of Tammy Abraham and has since penned a one-year extension at the club.

He has played in all three of our Premier League games from the restart, starting two of them. The addition of Timo Werner could see him drop down the pecking order, but he remains a potent option despite his advanced age.

William Gallas is the only player to play for all three of London's top clubs
William Gallas is the only player to play for two of London’s top clubs and also Spurs

The report goes on to say that Chelsea could still consider selling the player after in spite of him penning an extension. It is not the first time that the Lilywhites have been linked to our number 18. They were keen to sign him in January but were unable to do so.

Giroud has scored a number of key goals for us, the most important of them coming in the Europa League final against Arsenal last year. A game we won 4-1.

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Tammy Abraham has failed to reproduce the form he showcased at the beginning of the season. With Michy Batshuayi underperforming and Timo Werner needing to adjust, selling Giroud will be a gamble.

The Frenchman is an established striker who can still do a job for us. It would be ideal for us to keep him at the club and not sell him to a direct rival.

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Transfer News: Championship trio ready their knives in the battle for Chelsea youngster

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Championship trio keen on Chelsea starlet Ike Ugbo

According to TeamTalk (h/t Derby Telegraph), a trio of Championship clubs has entered the race to sign promising Chelsea starlet Ike Ugbo.

The 21-year-joined has been at Chelsea since 2017. During this time, he has spent time out on loan at four different clubs.

A striker by trade, it is at Dutch side JC Roda that he has come into his own. Ugbo made 29 appearances for the Dutch second division side and has scored 13 goals and 3 assists. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Chelsea youngster Ike Ugbo is in demand among Championship clubs
Chelsea youngster Ike Ugbo is in demand among Championship clubs

This has garnered the attention of Derby County, West Bromwich Albion, and Nottingham Forest. Premier League side West Ham United have also been linked while Crystal Palace and Watford have also been credited with an interest. (h/t Derby Telegraph)

Although he is yet to make a senior appearance for Chelsea, he has represented the club at the youth level. He has registered 34 assists for the club’s Under-23s. (h/t Derby Telegraph)

The report states that he is likely to be sent out on loan. Given his impressive recent spell, he could be considered a catch for the second-tier clubs.

Michy Batshuayi has been abject
Michy Batshuayi has been abject

With his contract expiring next summer, it remains to be seen what Chelsea do.

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Timo Werner looks set to be our preferred option up front. Although Oliver Giroud is a dependable backup, Tammy Abraham has fallen off the pace while Michy Batshuayi has been abject.

Ugbo has shown in his recent spell at Roda that he has the ability to find the back of the net. Although there is a wide gap to bridge between the Dutch second division and the Premier League, it will be worth the trouble to use him as a backup to gauge his usefulness.

He certainly cannot do worse than Batsuayi. You never know, he could very well blossom into a dependable player.

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Chelsea willing to put ego aside in pursuit of promising young English star

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Frank lampard wants Declan Rice to become Chelsea's defensive leader

Chelsea are interested in bringing back Declan Rice

According to the Athletic, Chelsea are willing to admit they were wrong in letting Declan Rice leave the club as a teenager.

The 21-year-old was on the club’s rolls as a youngster and came through the ranks alongside Mason Mount. He was however deemed not good enough and was let go in 2014.

The youngster moved to West Ham United, where has thrived since. One of the shining lights in what has been a disappointing campaign for his team, Rice has now emerged as a target for his former club.

Chelsea are willing to put their embarassment aside in the attempts to sign Declan Rice
Declan Rice was released by Chelsea as a teenager (Image Credits: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Despite making his Hammers bow as a defensive midfielder, it is in the heart of the defence that he shines. Ironically, this is a position Chelsea could have done having him at.

According to the report, a club insider believes that bringing Rice back will prove to be an embarrassing decision for some. Although it is not the easiest thing to do to admit you are wrong, we feel not rectifying it this summer will be even worse.

“West Ham will demand a lot of money for him and this is a player the club had on their books and allowed to leave for free. Paying a vast sum could embarrass a few people.”

However, the club is also aware that not only is Rice a commanding defender but also adds leadership and communication at the back. Qualities that the Blues desperately require.

Declan Rice in action against Willian
Declan Rice in action against Willian

A young player with considerable experience, he will only get better with the right guidance. The Blues are undergoing a rebuild and Rice will fit in well.

“He is young and English too so you can see how he would fit in with what Chelsea are building there.”

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Strengthening ourselves at the back could make the difference between victory and defeat in the coming season. Yesterday’s setback at West Ham United showed that the need is as pressing as ever.

Should it happen, it will prove to be a triumphant return to the Bridge for the former Chelsea trainee. One that is in all honestly well earned.

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