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Transfer News: Chelsea face Manchester United threat in the race for key Lampard target

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Zakaria is an alternative to Rice

Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for Declan Rice

According to the Metro, Manchester United are set to rival Chelsea for the signing of Declan Rice.

The West Ham United star is one of the best young footballers in the Premier League and has seen his stock rise this season.

An ever-present for club and country, Rice has been on the radars of Chelsea for quite some time now. Apart from us, Manchester United are also keen on the West Ham United ace.

Declan Rice has been linked with Chelsea
Chelsea face competition to land Declan Rice (Getty Images)

Lampard views Rice as the long term successor of N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman is, on his day, one of the best midfielders in the world. However, he has suffered from a number of injuries during Lampard’s reign.

Rice for his part is also keen to return to Chelsea. The player was initially on Chelsea’s books before being released by the club at the age of 14.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has chosen to save his January budget of £20m until the summer. The Norwegian remains keen to sign bolster his defence and midfield, with Rice a key target.

Manchester Untied could seek Declan Rice to replace Paul Pogba
Manchester United are also interested in Declan Rice

The fact that Rice is keen on returning combined with the close relationship he shares with Mason Mount could aid us in beating United to him.

However, that is not the only obstacle in Lampard’s path to securing the 21-year-old. Unlike him, the Chelsea board have their reservations regarding Rice’s abilities to perform at the necessary level. (h/t Express)

This coupled with the exorbitant asking price and the uncertainty regarding Lampard’s future means we could end up missing out on the player. (h/t The Athletic) (Subscription Required)

Declan Rice and Mason Mount were together at Chelsea during the academy days
Declan Rice was on Chelsea’s books as a youngster

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Bringing in Rice would add yet another upcoming English star to our ranks. The midfielder is developing nicely and has formed an excellent understanding with Mount for the Three Lions.

The prospect of them reprising the same role at the Bridge is an exciting thought. Whether that comes to be remains to be seen.

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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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