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Zinedine Zidane gives injury update on key Real Madrid star ahead of Chelsea UCL tie

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Raphael Varane is one of the top defenders in the world. (imago Images)

Early team news: Zinedine Zidane offers injury update on Raphael Varane ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea

Speaking to reporters (h/t football.london) after Real Madrid beat Osasuna, Zinedine Zidane said that he spoke to Raphael Varane about an injury sustained in the game that forced a half-time substitution, ahead of their tie against Chelsea next week.

Things were already looking bleak for Madrid at half-time on Saturday when they went to dressing room with the score tied at 0-0. But their problems were compounded by the fact that Zidane had to sub off Varane due to an injury.

Nacho replaced the Frenchman at the start of the second half. Los Blancos scored two late goals, courtesy of Casemiro and Eder Militao, to seal a 2-0 victory and put the pressure on Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in the title race.

Zinedine Zidane hopes that Raphael Varane can shake off his injury to feature for Real Madrid against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Zinedine Zidane hopes that Raphael Varane can shake off his injury to feature for Real Madrid against Chelsea on Wednesday. (imago Images)

But it looks like Madrid will have Varane back for the second leg. The Madrid manager stated that he had talked to Varane and the defender does not think that the injury was serious.

“We hope Rafa’s [Varane] injury isn’t too serious, but right now I can’t tell you anything. I spoke to him and he told me it wasn’t too serious and I hope that’s the way it is.”

Injury boost for Champions League rivals

Madrid will already be without a crucial part of their defence against Chelsea in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final on Wednesday as Dani Carvajal is expected to sit out.

Sergio Ramos in action for Real Madrid. (imago Images)
Sergio Ramos in action for Real Madrid. (imago Images)

But as quoted by the Daily Mail (h/t football.london), Zidane has already confirmed that club captain, Sergio Ramos, has been training and will be fit in time to face the Blues.

“He [Ramos] is training with us and that means he’s able to play too. We’ll see what we do when we name the squad, but Sergio is fit and ready to play.”

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The onus is on Madrid to score as Chelsea secured a crucial away goal in Spain last week. The tie is level at 1-1 going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week.

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Chelsea keen to beat Man City in the race for €60m-rated Robert Lewandowski

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Transfer News: Chelsea keen on €60m-rated Robert Lewandowski

According to transfer news from ESPN, Chelsea are keen on the prospect of signing Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich striker is said to be wanting one last challenge, which could be in the Premier League. Manchester City are also after the player but any interested club will have to shell out a cool €60m for him.

It’s no secret that Chelsea are in the market for a striker (h/t ESPN). The club have struggled in the absence of a prolific No.9 and have had to rely on goals from midfielders and defenders to get the goals. It’s rather peculiar when you realize Chelsea have three strikers and all of them come with their own set of problems.

Robert Lewandowski is on the radar of Chelsea

Timo Werner was signed this season but has failed to replicate his Leipzig form at Chelsea. For some reason, Thomas Tuchel is reluctant to give Tammy Abraham game time and Olivier Giroud is ageing. That has made Chelsea to decide to sell the pair.

It was earlier reported that Chelsea had turned their attention to Lewandowski. The Poland international still has two years on his current deal, meaning that Chelsea or any other club might have to spend a good €60m on him. While the striker previously hinted that he would retire at Bayern, interest from the Premier League could change his mind.

Lewandowski has been an absolute legend at Bayern Munich

The Polish veteran has taken his game to new heights with each passing year and has a ridiculous scoring record. He has scored 40+ goals in each of the last 6 seasons and was a central part of Bayern’s treble last season.

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For a striker, it does not get better than Lewandowski and even at 32, he does not look like he is slowing down. While Chelsea would have ideally liked to sign someone like Haaland or Lukaku, Lewandowski might not be a bad signing. He has pretty much kept the door open for sides like Chelsea to make a move and the Blues would be wise enough to follow the lead.

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Chelsea face Man City threat in pursuit of rising young English midfield star

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Transfer News: Manchester City enter the race for Chelsea target Declan Rice

According to transfer news from Metro, Manchester City have entered the race for Chelsea target Declan Rice. City view him as the successor to Fernandinho in case the Brazilian decides to leave the club this summer.

Rice spent time at Chelsea’s academy before making the switch to West Ham and has made huge strides at the East London outfit. A regular for club and country now, the Englishman is one of the best defensive midfielders on display in the Premier League.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Simon Dael/BPI/Shutterstock 11814514i Declan Rice of West Ham United strikes the ball during the warm up West Ham United v Arsenal, Premier League, Football, The London Stadium, London, UK – 21 Mar 2021.

Rice has been a target for the Blues since the start of this season and it was said that Frank Lampard was especially keen on bringing Rice back to Chelsea. While there was little chatter on Rice after Lampard’s departure, Chelsea haven’t entirely lost interest in the promising midfielder. It has been said that Manchester City are rethinking their stance on Fernandinho’s future.

He may be 36 already but over the last few outings, he has shown that he can still cut it at the top for another season. His performance against PSG was an unreal one and City are contemplating on giving him a new deal. In the event that Fernandinho leaves the club, City are sure to go after Rice. The West Ham midfielder has come a long way in his career and with each passing game, he looks better.

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League – Semi Final – Second Leg – Etihad Stadium Paris Saint-Germain s Leandro Paredes tackles Manchester City s Fernandinho during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Tuesday May 4, 2021.

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This does come as a huge setback for Chelsea, who have been after the player for a while now. It remains to be seen what the Blues do after this.

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Boost for Chelsea as Dutch giants open the door for the sale of their £17.5m-rated star

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Ajax left-back, Nicolas Tagliafico, is a transfer target for Chelsea, Manchester City, and Leeds United. (imago Images)

Transfer News: Major boost for Chelsea in pursuit of Ajax man Nicolas Tagliafico

Speaking to Dutch football magazine Voetbal International (h/t Express), Ajax director of football Marc Overmars revealed that Nicolas Tagliafico, who is linked with Chelsea, and David Neres, can leave the club this summer.

Ajax have one of the best youth academies in world football. In the past few years, they have produced and sold the likes of Donny van de Beek, Matthijs de Ligt, and Frenkie de Jong.

And it seems like two of their current superstars could be on their way as well. Tagliafico has been linked with a move to the Premier League recently, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Leeds United all linked.

Nicolas Tagliafico is a transfer target for Chelsea, Leeds United, and Manchester City.
Nicolas Tagliafico is a transfer target for Chelsea, Leeds United, and Manchester City. (GETTY Images)

A report by The Sun (h/t Express) even stated that if it wasn’t for Covid-19, then the Argentine left-back could have joined the Premier League. The report adds that he will be available for around £17.5million this summer.

Change of scenery for Tagliafico

Overmars openly revealed that it was no secret that David Neres and Tagliafico are looking for a move away from the current Eredivisie champions.

“A departure for Nicolas Tagliafico and David Neres would not be illogical. Neres has been with Ajax since the beginning of 2017, is 24 years old, and wants to take a step.”

Tagliafico has been a stellar performer for Ajax in the past few years and was instrumental in their league and cup double this season. But Overmars thinks he is seeking pastures new.

Nicolas Tagliafico in action for Ajax against Chelsea. (imago Images)
Nicolas Tagliafico in action for Ajax against Chelsea. (imago Images)

“The same applies to Tagliafico, who has been playing here for three and a half years now and will turn 29 next summer. It is no secret that they are open to a transfer. Just as it is well known that outbound transfers are a significant part of our revenue.”

This raises the question if Chelsea need another left-back. Marcos Alonso has had a brilliant comeback to first-team action ever since Thomas Tuchel joined.

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This has rendered a big competition between the Spaniard and Ben Chilwell for first-team football and Tagliafico might just add to the dilemma instead of solving it.

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Transfer News: Barcelona make the first move for Chelsea target Sergio Aguero

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Sergio Aguero in action for Manchester City.

Transfer News: Barcelona make first move for Chelsea target Sergio Aguero

According to transfer news from MEN, Barcelona have made an initial move for Chelsea target Sergio Aguero. It has been claimed that the Argentine striker’s representatives have started preliminary discussions with Barcelona’s officials over a free transfer in the summer.

The Manchester City striker is set to call time on his stay at the club after 10 years and that has led to a whole host of clubs such as Barcelona and Chelsea being keen on his services. The race for Aguero is heating up as he is set to be a free agent at the end of this season.

Sergio Aguero will leave Manchester City at the end of the season
Sergio Aguero will leave Manchester City at the end of the season

Juve are already said to have made an offer for the striker. However, it is understood that Barcelona are stepping up their efforts to sign him and the club President Joan Laporta has previously expressed his desire to sign the 32-year-old.

Now, it has been reported that Barcelona have made initial contact over a transfer. Aguero’s entourage have started discussions with the officials at the Catalan club over a free transfer at the end of this season. Aguero could just be set on a move to Barcelona, which would be somewhat of a blow to Chelsea, who are in the market for a striker too.

Sergio Aguero of Man City during the Premier League behind closed doors match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage, London, England on 13 March 2021.

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Despite his age and injury issues, Aguero still remains a world-class option to have. Yes, he may not be the long-term option for Chelsea but he could have been the short-term solution we could do with. Nonetheless, Chelsea could well have to turn their attentions to some other striker.

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