- Sports and Recreation
Chelsea transfer news and rumours: Competition to land goalkeeper; Antonio Conte wanted; Kyle Walker on the radar
With the transfer window fast approaching, we take a look at what is currently happening at Stamford Bridge.
Our colleagues at The Mirror provide the updates.
Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea ALL eyeing Stoke's Jack Butland
Four of the Premier League’s top six have made fresh checks on Jack Butland following his return to action.
Manchester City , Manchester United , Chelsea and Arsenal are all keeping tabs on Stoke star Butland, who has got back into the first team after a year out with a bad ankle injury.
The revived interest could lead to the 24-year-old England international joining the goalkeeping merry-go-round this summer.
United and City are most likely to move for new No1s this summer, and are among the clubs keeping track of how Butland has been getting on since his comeback last month.
Read the full story here
James Rodriguez is desperate to get a move to the Premier League after Real Madrid gave him the green light to move.
Colombian superstar James is being punted around to clubs on the back of a remarkable marketing deal to try to secure a big-money transfer.
It is believed super agent Jorge Mendes is looking for an English club with the agreement that if he signs it will be part funded by the player's personal kit sponsors Adidas, who will pay 20 per cent of his wages through their own marketing, image rights and shirt sales.
However, James is available and Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are likely to be sounded out with him keen to move to London.
James joined Real Madrid in 2014 for £63m but has had mixed fortunes which explains his exit this summer.
Virgil van Dijk
Chelsea need to boost their squad to handle the rigours of the Champions League means even more fierce competition for top players.
And one of Liverpool's top targets is prime Antonio Conte's sights.
The Italian wants to improve all areas of his Premier League winning side and Southampton's Virgil van Dijk is his prime target - one of the very same centre halves Jurgen Klopp likes the look of.
The Independent claim "there is a growing belief that the 25-year-old Dutch international favours a move to Stamford Bridge" over other potential suitors, including the Reds and Manchester City. He has also been linked to Arsenal.
Inter Milan are refusing to admit defeat in their pursuit of Antonio Conte with the son of the Chinese owner claiming: “Anything is possible”.
The Serie A giants sacked coach Stefano Pioli last week but their run of nightmare results continued with a fourth consecutive defeat on Sunday.
Conte is the club's No 1 target to rebuild the 2010 Champions League winners with an unlimited transfer budget.
Walter Sabbatini has been appointed as sporting director with the task of luring the former Juventus head coach back to Italy.
The Chelsea boss has pledged his future to the Premier League winners and plans talks with the Stamford Bridge club to discuss next year's campaign. Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino and Luciano Spalletti of Roma are back-up options.
But Inter director Steven Zhang Jr, son of Suning owner Zhang Jindong, told Sportmediaset : “Conte? Everything is possible – a coach is important for team, like the right players. You need to have patience and trust in the club.
"I know that the fans love the club with all their hearts. Football in Europe is like a religion, people are crazy. Certainly, we are trying to do our best and we will do it step by step."
Chelsea are ready to join the battle for £40million Kyle Walker .
The new champions' boss Antonio Conte is a big fan and is ready to hijack Manchester City ’s strong interest in the Tottenham and England defender.
Walker would be able to double his £70,000-a-week wages at either club, who are both looking to strengthen in the right-back position.
Converted winger Victor Moses has been hugely impressive there for the London Blues this season, but Conte wants to increase his quality options ahead of the club’s return to the Champions League in September.
Neither City — who are about to say farewell to club stalwart Pablo Zabaleta after nine years — nor Chelsea have yet made any approach to Tottenham, but both are aware the will only entertain offers for Walker in excess of £40m.
Walker is scheduled to fly out with the rest of Spurs' squad on Monday for a post-season friendly in Hong Kong.
The Premier League runners-up are under no pressure to sell, as the Yorkshireman has four seasons remaining on a contract he signed in September.
But Walker is known to have fallen out with manager Mauricio Pochettino over a number of issues, which came to a head last month when Kieran Trippier was selected instead of him for the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Man City’s hopes of signing Danny Rose appear to be over, with Spurs' England left-back set to miss the start of next season.
Rose has now had surgery to fix the left knee problem that's kept him out of action since January.
He returned to training last week but broke down, prompting Tottenham - who had been minded to operate soon after he suffered the initial injury - to try to sort the problem once and for all.
Rose is now set to miss England’s World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and Malta as well as their friendly international in France.
Speculation continues to swirl in Spain that Gareth Bale ’s time at Real Madrid is drawing to a close, with the Welshman reportedly identifying his destination of choice in the Premier League.
The 27 year old only signed a bumper £250,000-per-week (after tax) contract extension to run until 2022 back in October, but he has endured an injury-blighted campaign.
The former Spurs forward flourished during his first three seasons at the Bernabeu, however it appears Los Blancos have run out of patience, especially with potential summer blockbuster bids for Chelsea's Eden Hazard or Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe.It is widely thought that Bale does not want to leave the Galactico-laden side, but should the club’s hierarchy force through a move and accept an offer, then the Welshman has little option to accept a transfer.
According to diariogol.com , journalist Pip Estrada reports: "The agent of the player has started to negotiate in England after being annoyed with the reactions to his injury.”
Diariogol reveal that Bale would opt to move to Old Trafford and reignite Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United , rather than return to White Hart Lane, or to fight for a starting spot at champions Chelsea.
Zinedine Zidane insists he has not had a bust up with Chelsea target Alvaro Morata despite the striker snubbing a hand shake.
Real Madrid man Morata, who has only started 14 La Liga games this season, refused to acknowledge French boss Zidane as he stormed off the pitch against Sevilla at the weekend.
The front man was hauled off after 60 minutes during the La Liga table toppers' 4-1 - with Casemiro coming on in his place.
Morata rejected a £147m bid from China to hold out for a move to the Blues - with Antonio Conte keen to make the 24-year-old Diego Costa's replacement.
But Zidane insisted Morata was generally angry - not just with him.
"He was not angry with me, with something else," the Frenchman said.
"This can happen. We talked and it is all past now."
John Terry sensationally revealed he could hang up his boots after sparking this seven-goal thriller.
The Chelsea captain, poised to end his 22-year association with the club at the end of the season, revealed he may now scrap his plans to play elsewhere.
He said: “I know I said I wanted to play regular football while I can, but I’ve still not ruled out Sunday being my last game and retiring from football.
“It depends if the right offer comes along. I’ll sit down and consider it with my family, whether that here or abroad or wherever that may be.
“Genuinely I haven’t made any decisions as of yet and I’m just evaluating all my options at the moment.
“I never wanted to hang about and stop the progress of a younger player – that was the basis of my decision.”
Atsu to Toon
Rafa Benitez has agreed a £6.5million deal with Chelsea to sign Christian Atsu for Newcastle.
The 25-year-old winger - who will sign a four-year contract - impressed on loan to help to help the Magpies to promotion, chipping in with five goals and three assists.
Atsu hit two important strikes in the club's final three matches against Preston and Cardiff to help them over the line.
Newcastle had first option on the speedy Ghana international but, under the terms of his loan agreement, had to take up his option by last weekend.
Diego Costa hits the cheeseboard
Diego Costa is not your average Premier League footballer - and not just because he is one of the finest strikers in the division.
The Chelsea striker often behaves a little… 'differently' to his peers and colleagues. Whether he's treating a football match like trench warfare, taking great pride in being abused by opposition supporters or messing about with his team mates in a delightfully over-excited fashion, the Spanish centre-forward doesn't play by the rules.
Hence, while most players would spend half-time back in the dressing room, Costa does not.
While most of the Chelsea stars left on the bench for the 4-3 win against Watford would have headed back into the changing room for Antonio Conte's team talk, Costa had other plans.
He decided to wander into the Stamford Bridge press room… to find something to eat.
In one of the more bizarre sights seen in a Premier League press room this season, Chelsea's top goalscorer walked in during the break, fully kitted out.
After saying "I'm so hungry" in Spanish, he looked at the cheese, picked at a sandwich, spat it out… then left with a satsuma.
So, his table manners may not be up to much. But at least he eats his fruit…
Huddersfield are plotting a move to sign Chelsea youngster Izzy Brown if they can secure promotion from the Championship.
Play-off contenders Huddersfield want to make forward Brown’s loan move a permanent one after his impressive spell in the second half of the season.
Brown joined Huddersfield in January after cutting short his loan at Rotherham and scored five goals in 15 starts for David Wagner’s side.
The 20 year-old helped Huddersfield finish fifth and their promotion hopes are in the balance after a 0-0 draw in their play-off semi-final first leg against Sheffield Wednesday.
Chelsea would want around £3m for England under-20 youngster Brown and Huddersfield’s hopes of landing him permanently are likely to depend on them going up.
Gibson might stay
Ben Gibson could STAY at Boro and spearhead a promotion campaign.
Boss Steve Agnew has opened up the possibility of the Teessiders keeping their prize asset for next season.
England call-up defender is being courted by top clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool.
However Agnew believes Gibson, whose uncle is chairman Steve Gibson, will stick around.
Bournemouth are ready to sign John Terry and Jermain Defoe are offering them both mega money deals.
Former England captain Terry, 36, has been offered a two year contract worth around £130,000-a-week with a big signing-on fee.
Defoe, 34, has also been offered a two year deal in excess of £100,000-a-week and it is understood there is an option to extend it.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is very confident of completing both deals with the players both arriving on free transfers which has helped fund the big money wages which is a game changer for the South Coast club.
Terry is leaving Chelsea to look for more regular football having become a periphery figure in this season’s title success but will be remembered as a club legend after a glorious career at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte is ready to clinch the title and then tell champions-elect Chelsea : Pay me what I'm worth.
Boss Conte needs victory at West Brom on Friday night to secure the Premier League crown and with an FA Cup final against Arsenal to come in a fortnight's time is on course for the Double in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
But the Italian, who has two years left on his £5million-a-year deal, is on the lowest salary among the top six's managers — with Pep Guardiola making THREE times as much as him for running a Manchester City side not yet assured of Champions League qualification.
Inter Milan, who are planning a big rebuild under new Chinese ownership and this week fired coach Stefano Pioli, have made Conte their top managerial target this summer and are ready to double his salary to £10m-a-year if he'll quit return to his homeland.
The ex-Italy boss has refused to categorically rule out a return to Serie A, which he won three seasons in a row as Juventus coach before taking the national-team job in 2014.
Conte said: "If, in the future, we decide to extend the contract, we'll decide this. It's not important, this. I repeat.
"The money is important only at this level to give the real value of a player or the coach.
"If you show you deserve it, you have earned money. But for me the most important thing now is to win. Then the future is important...
"I have two more years of contract, and then it's important to win and write the history of this club with my players.
"It's normal to have a lot of speculation around my players and the coaches, different coaches, so it's important not to lose the concentration."
Chelsea are confident contract talks will be resolved quickly, and that he will stay.
Although the fact his family have not yet moved to London gives Inter encouragement, they are expected in the capital this summer and have looked at Italian schools for his nine-year-old daughter.
Chelsea want to bring Germany Under-17 star Jann-Fiete Arp to Stamford Bridge this summer.
The Blues have been keeping tabs on the Hamburg forward for over six months.
Arp, 17, scored 26 goals in 21 games for Hamburg’s youth sides this season, and is now taking the European Under-17 Championships by storm.
Arp has already bagged two hat-tricks for his country in the competition - against Bosnia and Ireland - as Germany look on course for a final showdown with England.
Arp has a contract at Hamburg until 2018, with sporting director Jens Todt insisting HSV wish to extend his deal.
Chelsea are keen on Juventus right-back Dani Alves.
The Brazilian has had a fine season with Juve and starred in both legs of their Champions League semi-final win over Monaco.
And according to SPORT, Chelsea want to bring in Alves ahead of their return to Europe's premier competition.
Victor Moses has impressed at right-back this term but there are doubts over how he would fare in the Champions League.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is reportedly urging the Blues hierarchy to make a £65million summer move for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
Conte is preparing for life without Diego Costa, who continues to be linked with a move to China and has made the 24-year-old striker his chief summer target, according to The Sun.
He believes that Morata's desperation to feature for Italy in next year's World Cup will mean the striker would be open to a move away from the Bernabeu where he has played second fiddle to Karim Benzema.
Blues technical director Michael Emenalo would like to re-sign Romelu Lukaku, but Conte feels Morata would fit into the team better than the Everton hitman.
West Ham will have to buy Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi outright if they want him.
The Hammers are among a number of clubs interested in the £33million striker, who is on the way out of Stamford Bridge this summer after one disappointing season.
The next manager
Max Allegri has been tipped to eventually succeed Antonio Conte at Chelsea - just as he did at Juventus.
Allegri took over from Conte at Juve in 2014 when he departed to become the Italian national team boss.
And both managers have gone from strength to strength since.
Following on from Conte's three consecutive Serie A titles at Juventus, Allegri is about to win his third in a row since taking over, while also leading the Turin side to the Champions League final.
Conte, meanwhile, can wrap up the Premier League in his first season in charge at Chelsea.
Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, who is currently a free agent, believes that Allegri will remain at Juve for the long-term - but he'd be perfect to replace Conte when the time is right.
Speaking on BT Sport, host Gary Lineker said: “I’m sure he’d like to trump Conte and win the Champions League, that’s the one thing that’s evaded Juve for a long time now.”
Stoke may try to hijack their weekend hosts Bournemouth's move for Chelsea legend John Terry .
The Potters ' manager Mark Hughes was a player at Stamford Bridge during Terry's early days with the club, and enquired about the 36-year-old — who will leave the Blues this summer after 19 seasons and is a target for Eddie Howe on the south coast — when the teams met earlier in the campaign.
“I know John very well but whether or not we'd be able to present anything to John that would make him think, I don't know," he said. "But we spoke briefly and had a word after the Chelsea game here this year about where his future lies.”
Stoke are trying to turn Porto defender Bruno Martins Indi's season-long loan into an £8million permanent deal, but his parent club are now dragging their heels.
“There's an area we can negotiate, but at the moment Porto have made a stand that they don't want to sell,” added Hughes.
Champions-elect Chelsea will offer Antonio Conte a stunning new deal and substantial transfer funds this summer . His list of transfer targets includes the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk.
Conte to go?
Determined Inter Milan are refusing to give up on Antonio Conte .
The Serie A club’s Chinese owners, Suning Holdings, are ready to offer the Chelsea boss massive transfer funds and a lucrative deal worth £10million-a-year to return to his homeland and steer the club back to the top of Italian football.
Conte will win the Premier League title with Chelsea in his first season if they triumph in their four remaining games, starting at home to Middlesbrough on Monday night.
Inter looked to have failed in their pursuit last month, with £6.5million-a-year Conte seemingly insistent at the time that the wanted to remain at Stamford Bridge “for years”. But Chelsea have yet to agree a new deal with him.
The 47-year-old refused to rule out a summer exit for Diego Costa at his Friday press conference, and sounded equally uncertain on his own future.
Asked about Inter’s pursuit, Conte, who won three successive Serie A title as Juventus boss before leaving in 2014 for the national-team job, said: “It’s the same. It’s the same speech for my players. The same for me."
“We must stay with great concentration until the end. I repeat: there is this great target, close, and for this reason I think we must think in the present. In the present.
“At this part of the season there are a lot of speculations about my players, also about me, but it’s not important. Not important, this.
"The most important thing now is to try and reach our target.”
Chelsea are reportedly planning a shock swoop for Brighton keeper David Stockdale , as they look to find a suitable long-term replacement for Asmir Begovic .
The Bosnian was keen to leave Stamford Bridge in search of game time during the January transfer window, but Antonio Conte was unable to sanction the move because he was unable to land the former Fulham shotstopper.
Now the Daily Star reports that Chelsea can sign the 31-year-old without opening the chequebook because his contract runs out with the Seagulls this summer.
If Stockdale deputises for Thibaut Courtois next season, that will pave the way for Begovic to join Bournemouth.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has agreed a stunning £75million move to China . The 28-year-old will take home £650,000 a week after tax to become the best-paid player in the world. Costa met with agent Jorge Mendes and representatives of club Tianjian Quanjian last week, when it is believed they shook hands on a transfer in principle this summer.
Ryan Bertrand is set to join the long list of big names to have left Southampton .
Chelsea and Liverpool are both watching developments on England left-back Bertrand , who is ready to leave St Mary's.
The 27-year-old has made it clear to team-mates that he thinks he will be on his way, with interest growing for a summer move.
Chelsea are interested in re-signing Bertrand, who started their 2012 Champions League final triumph but left Stamford Bridge in search of regular football.
Chelsea turned down the chance to sign Monaco wonderkid Kylian Mbappe four years ago - for just £17,000.
The France international visited Stamford Bridge as a 14-year-old but Chelsea snubbed him in order to promote local academy prospects Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham .
At the time Mbappe was playing for amateur French side Bondy, where his dad Wilfried was a coach.
Real Madrid were also interested in bagging the talented winger as Mbappe sought a move to a top-tier club.
Mbappe's representatives attempted to push the Blues into a move by telling them Real also wanted to sign him but could not persuade the west London outfit to splash the cash.
Instead of joining a European giant, Mbappe settled for the famed Clairefontaine academy - which has seen the likes of Oliver Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, Nicolas Anelka and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry learn their trade.
Now, the 18-year-old has become one of the most sought after talents in the world - with Manchester United, Arsenal, Real all vying to sign him this summer.
Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas wants the Gunners to sell Alexis Sanchez to Chelsea after the club's “embarrassing” North London derby defeat.
The Chile striker is out of contract next year and has failed to agree a new deal.
And Nicholas told talkSPORT: “I was embarrassed to watch them against Tottenham . Arsenal were embarrassing. It was embarrassing even the team Arsene Wegner picked.
" Sanchez is not interested playing on the left side and Ozil just doesn't play in the big games for Arsenal.
"Sanchez has not been interested in the game for the last eight weeks. He is camouflaging it.
"I would sell him. Get him out. If he wants to go to Chelsea and Chelsea want to pay £60million, I would sell him to Chelsea."
"They should have said to Sanchez two months ago: 'Are you signing?' If he said 'No, I'm not going to sign', then he should be sold in the summer. They should isolate the players.
"They don't have values now and any soul. They have lost their credibility. The club is a mess. It is painful to watch.”
Monaco youngster 'loves' Chelsea
The uncle of Monaco wonderkid Kylian Mbappe has revealed his nephew loves watching Chelsea play.
The 18-year-old has become a transfer target for a number of top teams in Europe after he took the Champions League by storm this season.
In the Premier League alone Arsenal have spent the last two years tracking his progress, while Manchester United are also keen to bring him to Old Trafford.
But the current Premier League leaders may be in the best position to land the youngster if he opts to move to England, if his uncle's comments are to be taken into account that is.
Pierre Mbappe, who is one of Kylian's advisors, told Tuttosport : "Kylian does not need to watch Juventus before their Champions League meeting because he already knows Juve very well.
"He watched their games every week and he's been doing it for very long time. He also watches Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea.
"Anything can happen in the future, but he's very happy at Monaco, we'll talk about it [a possible transfer] at the right time."
Chelsea remain determined to pair Monaco star Tiemoue Bakayoko with N’golo Kante in a new-look midfield.
Manager Antonio Conte is looking to reshape his midfield ahead of the club’s return to the Champions League.
Bakayoko, 22, has been chased by Chelsea for some time. He has two years left on his contract and will not a new deal at Monaco . Bayern Munich, Juventus and both Manchester clubs have an interest in him. But the French midfielder is understood to have his heart set on a move to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are set to step up their bid to land Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly by offering rising star Kenneth Omeruo on loan as part of a deal.
Napoli want around £60million for the 25-year-old and Chelsea have yet to come anywhere near their asking price.