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Boost for Chelsea as Liverpool shift focus away from Bundesliga starlet with €42m release clause

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Dayot Upamecano is a man in demand

Boost for Chelsea as Liverpool shift focus away from Dayot Upamecano

Chelsea appear to have gained an advantage in the pursuit of RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano as Liverpool have shifted their focus elsewhere.

According to Bild’s Christopher Falk (h/t Express), Liverpool, who were also keen on the Frenchman, have shifted their attention to his defensive partner Ibrahima Konate.

Also from France, Konate is a year younger than Upamecano and has formed an excellent partnership with his much-hyped countryman. In fact, both players are not that different when it comes to their skill set.

Liverpool have dropped out of the race for Chelsea target Dayot Upamecano
Liverpool have dropped out of the race for Chelsea target Dayot Upamecano

According to Melissa Reddy of The Independent, Liverpool dropped out of the race for another Chelsea target, David Alaba thanks to the Austrian’s susceptibility in the air.

Konate, on the other hand, is an aerial colossus and has won twice as many headers as Upamecano. He certainly fits their requirement.

This shift in focus will see Chelsea face less competition when it comes to Upamecano. The 22-year-old has attracted attention from a number of top clubs and will be hot property come the summer.

Upamecano’s relatively modest €42m release clause will become active this summer. Landing a player of his potential for such a price is nothing short of a steal.

Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva, Reece James, Tammy Abraham all missed out clash against Aston Villa.
Kurt Zouma is Chelsea’s only long-term dependable centre-back option (GETTY Images)

A defensive overhaul could be on the cards at Chelsea this summer. Thiago Silva is 36 while the futures of Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, and Fikayo Tomori are far from assured.

With Kurt Zouma the only dependable long-term option available, the Blues may need to dip into the market once again. Signing Upamecano will see us land a long-term prospect who has the ability to grow into one of the best in the business.

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Chelsea are serious about landing the 22-year-old and have also sounded out their intentions to his representatives. Having successfully brought in Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, the Blues can make it a hattrick to big buys from the Bundesliga come this summer.

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Chelsea tried to bring back Sarri before Tuchel appointment

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Maurizio Sarri Chelsea

Chelsea tried to get back Maurizio Sarri before Thomas Tuchel appointment

A rather surprising bit of news from Daily Mail (h/t The Sun) claims that Chelsea tried to bring back former boss Maurizio Sarri before appointing Thomas Tuchel. The Blues sacked Frank Lampard last month and appointed former PSG manager Tuchel.

Since then, the German manager has done an admirable job of guiding the club back to winning ways. However, it has been said that Chelsea transfer supremo Marina Granovskaia wanted to bring back Sarri after Lampard was sacked.

Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January. (GETTY Images)
Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January. (GETTY Images)

While the Italian may have been close to managing Chelsea again, he is now likely to go to Napoli. According to journalist Ciro Venerato, Granovskaia is said to have wanted the former manager back but Roman Abramovich vetoed the move.

“Chelsea, after having sacked Lampard, wanted Sarri. Marina Granovskaia, in particular, fought for his return. Sarri had said ‘yes’ to Chelsea but Roman Abramovich stopped everything. Sarri’s wife and son are pushing for Maurizio’s return to Naples.”

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This does sound surprising given Sarri was not too popular during his time at the club. He was successful though, winning the Europa League in his one-year stay. Sarri then took charge of Juventus but was sacked after one season.

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Chelsea making progress towards signing prolific 20-year-old star

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Chelsea making progress towards signing Erling Haaland

According to Eurosport (h/t Daily Star), Chelsea are making progress in the process of signing Erling Haaland. The club have talked about a potential move with his representatives.

The Blues have identified him as their top transfer target for next season and are willing to spend a significant amount on the Borussia Dortmund starlet.

The Borussia Dortmund striker has been prolific since his move to Dortmund and has attracted plenty of attention from clubs. Haaland has continued from where he left off last season, scoring an astonishing 27 goals in 25 games.

Erling Haaland is a transfer target for Chelsea. (GETTY Images)
Erling Haaland is a transfer target for Chelsea. (GETTY Images)

That has led to speculation around his future with a host of elite clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester City after the Norwegian.

However, Chelsea could likely steal a march on other clubs as they have presented their club’s project to the striker’s representatives. They have spoken about how Roman Abramovich is likely to spend more in the coming transfer windows and push Chelsea towards silverware.

Despite spending a huge amount this season, the Russian billionaire is set to do it again. He is willing to back new manager Thomas Tuchel by signing the required players. There is a £65m release clause in his contract, which activates only in 2022.

Dortmund’s Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland controls the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Munich on May 26, 2020 in Dortmund, western Germany. (Photo by FEDERICO GAMBARINI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Nonetheless, the German club could cash in on the 20-year-old this summer itself by demanding a figure more than the release clause, given the interest generated.

Abramovich would be better off avoiding a battle in 2022 when the release clause activates for Haaland. They must move ahead of the queue next season and splurge on the Norwegian striker.

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Rival watch – Man United boss Solskjaer provides team news ahead of Chelsea clash

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Manchester United boss Solskjaer provides team news ahead of Chelsea clash

As Chelsea get set to host Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provided some injury updates regarding his side (h/t Football.london).

Both sides are back in Premier League action after their European commitments in the midweek but Chelsea will get some time before the game given their game was on Tuesday.

The Manchester United boss is hoping the best for four vital players who are yet to be fit for the game. After the game vs Real Sociedad, Solskjaer got a new injury headache, with Daniel James the latest name to get a knock.

Manchester United’s Welsh midfielder Daniel James (R) leaves the pitch after getting attention for an injury during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, 2nd leg football match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on February 25, 2021. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

“(Dan James) we will have to check on him tonight and Scott, Donny, Edinson we hope they can be available for the weekend,” he said in his post-match press conference. “Paul still out for a few weeks.”

That means Pogba has been ruled out entirely as the likes of Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Daniel James and Scott McTominay are still in line to return. Given the form some of them were in, it would be a huge miss for Manchester United to not have them fit in time for the game.

Manchester United’s Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani plays during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on February 14, 2021. (Photo by NAOMI BAKER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea will feel upbeat about securing a win given their run under Thomas Tuchel which saw them beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. The last time these two sides met, it ended a stalemate. However, a win here could go a long way in Chelsea reducing the distance between the top-four spots.

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“This is what we go for” – Tuchel has his say on Chelsea’s important clash vs Man United

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Thomas Tuchel has his say on the Manchester United game

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has spoken ahead of Manchester United visiting Stamford Bridge at the weekend (h/t Sky Sports). He was of the opinion that this game could have a huge impact on the top-four race this season.

The Blues are in fifth place, with West Ham occupying fourth spot. Both sides play top opponents. A Chelsea win and a West Ham loss could see Tuchel’s side climb into the top-four. However, Manchester United have one of the best away records in the league and are top scorers this season.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seen wearing a mask because of the coronavirus pandemic ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, 2nd leg football match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 25, 2021. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Tuchel spoke about some of the vital aspects of the game.

“Hopefully we can win – this is what we go for,” Tuchel said. “We know it’s a big challenge because of their unbeaten away record. We know what we’re up against; a team that can hurt you any second with individual quality, with speed.

They are strong away, they can defend very compact, they are very, very good in transition. It will be a big challenge to defend all this. The implication is huge, of course. If we get a win out of this game it’s huge for us. If they get a win it will be huge for them, to put a difference between us.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea is interviewed following the Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium on February 20, 2021 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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The two managers are set to face off again after Tuchel took on United thrice with PSG, twice this season itself. There was also the iconic Manchester United win in 2019 that sent the team into the quarter-finals. It will be an interesting battle.

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