Man City and Barcelona join Chelsea in transfer battle for Josko Gvardiol after World Cup displays
Chelsea target Josko Gvardiol has taken the World Cup by storm to increase the transfer interest in the Croatia star.
The RB Leipzig defender was dominant at the back in Croatia’s penalty shootout win over Japan after goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved three spot kicks following a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
Gvardiol has been excelling in front of a global audience for the first time in Qatar. His performances have attracted interest beyond just Chelsea, with Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona now ready to rival any bids for the 20-year-old
His agent, Marjan Sisic, said on Monday that Gvardiol is “not in a hurry” to decide his future after Chelsea’s new owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake tried to force a transfer through this summer.
For Croatia, Gvardiol is the great hope ahead of a tough quarter-final match against Brazil on Friday.
Jude Bellingham transfer race heats up as PSG confirm interest in Chelsea and Liverpool target
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has publicly confirmed the club’s interest in signing Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund.
The former Birmingham starlet was already considered as one of European football’s hottest midfield properties before embarking upon a terrific World Cup campaign in which he has played a central role in England’s goal-laden run to the quarter-finals.
Such impressive displays in Qatar have only added to the ever-growing buzz around Bellingham and his enormous potential, with the already fervent transfer speculation ratcheting up even further.
The 19-year-old is expected to leave Dortmund next summer after two valuable seasons in the Bundesliga that followed his Championship breakout, with a host of Europe’s top clubs believed to be queuing up to sign him including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid, to name just few.
That swelling number also includes PSG, with Al-Khelaifi making no secret of their interest as they look to further improve a star-studded squad that already includes the likes of vaunted attacking trio Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Joao Felix to decide Atletico Madrid future after World Cup as Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United eye deal
Portugal star Joao Felix will resolve his future at Atletico Madrid after the World Cup, amid transfer interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Felix has starred for Portugal in Qatar, scoring two goals on their way to a quarter-final tie against Morocco on Saturday.
It is a different story at Atletico, though, where Felix has fallen out of favour under head coach Diego Simeone.
That has prompted Atletico to look at selling him in January, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all admirers of the forward, who has an £86million price tag.
The 23-year-old, however, isn’t getting distracted by transfer talk and will stay fully focused on the World Cup.
“I am focused 100 per cent here on the national squad,” said Felix. “I am concentrated on giving a good performance to help this team, to help the Portugal team, and to give people happiness.
“Atletico is something I have to look at when the World Cup ends. I am 100 per cent focused here.”
Felix was one of the stars of the show in the last-16, setting up two goals as Portugal beat Switzerland 6-1, and it led to him being compared to Brazil legend Kaka.
“Regarding the comparisons, Kaka was one of the best in the world,” said Felix. “He is a great footballer.
“He won everything there is to win and I am just starting my career. But obviously it is always good to hear that kind of comparison.”
Chelsea boss Potter issues injury update on James, Kante and more
Graham Potter says Reece James is the nearest of Chelsea’s injured stars to a full return to training.
The England defender has been reintroduced to light training this week as the Blues ramp up preparations for the return to Premier League action with a camp in Abu Dhabi.
Further behind are Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as Chelsea’s treatment room looks for some welcome respite.
Chelsea FC transfer news: £78m Josko Gvardiol battle, Kingsley Coman latest, Joao Felix price tag revealed
Graham Potter is expected to be backed in the January transfer window despite a stuttering start to life at Chelsea.
Co-owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have already spent big on overhauling the squad, undertaking a record-breaking summer in the transfer market, though will continue to make money available for further reinforcement.
While the winter market is a notoriously arduous one, Potter will push for new additions as he bids to stamp his authority on the squad.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Chelsea have only lost two of their 16 competitive meetings in the past decade, winning 13.
Aston Villa wins: 58
Chelsea wins: 68
Prediction: Villa to win
With more minutes under their belts from the games with Brighton and Cardiff in the days leading up to the game, Villa may have the edge in this one.
A 1-0 Villa win.
Chelsea team news: Fofana not fit
Chelsea’s squad is also shorn of players who have played in Qatar, including Edouard Mendy, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Thiago Silva.
Manager Potter confirmed ahead of the game that Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana remain unavailable. Reece James may play some role as he nears a return from a knee injury.