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Ross Barkley Chelsea

Chelsea were disappointing in their London derby against Tottenham, and could put out a much-changed side for their Europa League tie against PAOK.

The Blues have already qualified for the next round of the tournament, and Maurizio Sarri should mix things up with the starting XI as he has done in this competition.

The manager would expect a reaction from the side that was humbled by Tottenham on Saturday, and here is our predicted XI for the side.

Predicted Chelsea XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK)

Kepa should have done better for two of the goals we conceded against Spurs, and it would not be a surprise seeing him start in this game.

Davide Zappacosta (RB)

The Italian should replace Cesar Azpilicueta at the back as he has done in most of the Europa League games.

Gary Cahill (CB)

Cahill doesn’t get a look in our Premier League team and should start for Sarri in the Europa League.

Andreas Christensen (CB)

The Danish defender is facing the same problem as Cahill and should partner the Englishman in the heart of our defence.

Emerson Palmieri (LB)

Emerson has been decent during his Europa League outings and should replace Marcos Alonso in the left-back slot.

Cesc Fabregas (CM)

Another player that doesn’t feature regularly in the Premier League, Fabregas should start for Chelsea against PAOK.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek Chelsea

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM)

Loftus-Cheek has a hat-trick to his name in this competition already and should be in the starting XI.

Ross Barkley (CM)

It was a surprise not seeing Barkley start against Tottenham but the Englishman should return to the line-up against PAOK.

Pedro (LW)

Eden Hazard should be rested by Sarri and Pedro could be the man to replace the Belgian in the attack.

Olivier Giroud (ST)

The Frenchman looked good after coming off the bench against Spurs and got a goal for his troubles too. Giroud should get the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata, who is struggling again.

Read more: 30-year-old Serie A superstar awaiting Chelsea contact

Willian (RW)

The Brazilian had a poor game against Spurs and could start for us against the Greeks.

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Chelsea plan to bring back former youth star to replace midfield general

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Declan Rice

Chelsea target Declan Rice to replace N’Golo Kante if he leaves

According to the Daily Mirror, Chelsea have identified former youth player Declan Rice as the perfect successor to N’Golo Kante in case the Frenchman leaves the club.

Kante has struggled to make an impact due to injuries this season. The 29-year-old has made just 22 appearances while scoring three goals. His future too is now in doubt following interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.

According to the report, Kante is not keen on a move away. This has not stopped the Spaniards from making him their number one target over Paul Pogba.

N'Golo Kante
N’Golo Kante is a transfer priority for Real Madrid

The Blues, however, are looking to stay on top of things by earmarking a successor to the Frenchman if the worst comes to pass. Capable of playing in both defensive midfield and centre-back, Rice will offer Lampard a number of options.

West Ham are adamant to hold on to their prized possession and value the player at £70million minimum. Premier League rivals Manchester United are also interested.

A return to Stamford Bridge will see the youngster reunite with best friend Mason Mount at the place where it all began for the duo. Having joined the club as a 7-year-old, Rice was eventually released in 2014.

Declan Rice started his youth career at Chelsea
Declan Rice is close friends with Mason Mount

He then moved to West Ham, where he made the most of the opportunity given to him by Slaven Bilic.

His performances saw him win West Ham Players’ Player of the Year award while also being declared as Young Hammer of the Year for the third consecutive season. (h/t Mirror)

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Rice is one of the best young English midfielders in the league today. A return to Stamford Bridge after having proven his ability elsewhere will see the budding star redeem himself for being let go.

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Former Blues favourite feels Dutch star will fit in well at Chelsea – likens him to Lampard

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Jesper Gronkjaer believes Donny van de Beek will be a proper fit at Chelsea

According to Goal.com (h/t Mirror), former Chelsea favourite Jesper Gronkjaer believes Ajax star, Donny van de Beek will thrive at Chelsea.

He lavished praise on the Dutchman, likening him to club legend and current boss Frank Lampard. He has been described as a box to box player capable of taking a long shot.

“He is more like Frank Lampard, that kind of player. He is a big guy, box-to-box, and takes good long shots.”

Goals from midfield were something Lampard specialized in, and Gronkjaer’s words are no small praise for the Dutch sensation. If he is anything close to our former number eight, we will have a real player on our hands.

The Dutchman’s performances have garnered interest from European giants Juventus and Real Madrid, two sides who Van de Beek starred against last season.

Van de Beek had scored 10 goals and 11 assists this season prior to football being suspended. The season in the Netherlands has now been declared null and void, making his efforts pointless.

Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek has garnered interest from Juventus and Juventus

Having come through the youth ranks at Ajax, the midfielder has gone on to make 175 appearances for Ajax while scoring 41 goals and 34 assists. 

Just 22, he can only get better and can turn into a key player in the coming years. Whether we sign him or not remains to be seen. He has gone on to win nine caps for his country.

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Chelsea is undergoing a youth revolution under Lampard. The addition of Van de Beek will not just give us a young promising midfielder, but also one who has shown he can compete at the highest level.

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Chelsea keen to beat off arch-rivals to 53-goal Ligue 1 star

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Chelsea keen to beat Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to Memphis Depay

According to Spanish website Todofichajes (h/t Express), Chelsea are set to face off against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal for Lyon star Memphis Depay.

With the French giants missing out on European qualification for next season, the future of the former Manchester United star has been called into question.

The 26-year-old arrived at United with much fanfare in 2015. It proved to be a disaster, with him scoring just 7 goals and 6 assists in 53 appearances for the club. He was eventually moved on in the summer of 2017 to Lyon.

Memphis Depay has attracted interest from Chelsea
Memphis Depay has attracted interest from Chelsea

To his credit, the Dutchman has rebuilt his reputation in France. A regular for Lyon, he has scored 53 goals and 43 assists in 134 games.

At 26, he has a number of years left in him and should be a risk worth taking. Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas has already conceded that Depay could leave owing to the lack of European football next term

With his contract set to expire in 2021, Lyon could end up losing him on a free next summer. With clubs set to face a financial hit due to the coronavirus crisis, the French side will do well to earn top dollar for the Dutchman this summer.

Mohamed Salah returned to the Premier League a different beast
Mohamed Salah returned to the Premier League a different beast

The lack of European football means Lyon’s finances are set to suffer even further, giving us some leeway in trying to force a deal. With Arsenal and Tottenham looking likely to miss out on the Champions League, our hand could be further strengthened.

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In spite of having failed at United, Depay still remains a potent player. Mohamed Salah has shown that all players need sometimes is a second chance in the right system.

A versatile attacker who can play anywhere along the frontline, Depay could very well get the opportunity to do the same.

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Transfer blow for Chelsea as rivals move ahead in race for £60m-rated Ligue 1 ace

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Moussa Dembele doesn't have a lot of Premier League experience

Chelsea fall behind in the race for Moussa Dembele

According to the Daily Star, Chelsea have fallen behind Manchester United in the race to sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele.

The Red Devils are increasingly confident of getting their man, having scouted him extensively over the past few months. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has sent scouts to watch Dembele at least three times in the last six months and is keen to convince him to make a switch to Old Trafford.

Dembele has enjoyed an excellent season at the Groupama Stadium and has scored 22 goals and assisted 7 in 42 appearances.

Moussa Dembele is a target for Chelsea
Moussa Dembele prefers Manchester United over Chelsea Image Credits: Getty Images)

Tammy Abraham has established himself as the first-choice striker under Frank Lampard. With Michy Batshuayi woefully out of form and Oliver Giroud out of contract this summer, bringing in a striker is key.

The major drawback in our pursuit is likely to come from the player himself. According to the report, Dembele is keen on making the switch to Manchester over a return to London.

The 23-year-old has experience of playing in England, having made more than 150 appearances for Fulham and Celtic. A clinical finisher, his best is yet to come.

Tammy Abraham
Chelsea have been heavily reliant on Tammy Abraham for goals this season

Lyon are resigned to losing a number of their stars owing to their failure of qualifying for Europe next season. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has already accepted that he may have no other choice but to sell. (h/t Daily Star)

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It is unfortunate that we have apparently missed out on a promising striker. He would have added competition and numbers to our attack going into the new season.

We will hopefully keep United at bay in the race for fourth place. A return to the Champions League will strengthen us in our ability to attract players in the summer.

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