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TOP STORY: Chelsea, Juve agree Sarri release
Maurizio Sarri looks set to be unveiled as Juventus boss over the weekend or earlier, according to a report in the BBC, after the Italian champions and Chelsea agreed a compensation package of £5 million.
Sarri arrived from Napoli in July 2018 and led Chelsea to third place in the Premier League to secure a Champions League spot and then won the Europa League by beating Arsenal 4-1 in Baku.
The deal was made easier thanks to the warm relationship between Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici and Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia, though Chelsea have taken their time before agreeing to the departure in an effort to find a replacement.
The reports says Sarri is set to agree his release before the weekend, which means Chelsea could unveil their new boss shortly. Frank Lampard remains among the favourites to replace the Italian, with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba backing his former teammate as a good fit for the position.
Koscielny out, Saliba in
Arsenal’s defence is about to experience something of a facelift, that’s if boss Unai Emery gets his way and reshuffles his defensive pack.
The Mirror is reporting that Emery is looking to swap experience for exciting young talent. The Gunners’ boss is preparing for life after captain Laurent Koscielny as the Frenchman looks set to begin talks with Borussia Dortmund over a move rumoured to be in the region of £10.6m, but Emery has identified an number of reinforcements.
The first is St Etienne youngster William Saliba, who could cost up to £27m. Talks for the 18-year-old are already underway, though Emery is prepared to loan the star back to St Etienne as part of the deal.
Other targets include Leipzig’s rising star Dayot Upamecano and Sampdoria’s Joachim Andersen, all three players representing Emery’s decision to identify young players that he can develop, rather than signing more experienced — and defensive — stars.
De Ligt transfer saga rumbles on
After we reported two nights ago that Matthijs de Ligt could be set for a dramatic move to Atletico Madrid, perplexing all those other clubs in the running for his services, it then looked as though a move to Paris Saint-Germain was inevitable.
However, his agent Mino Raiola has today labelled those headlines as “fake news,” says The Sun.
De Ligt has been a target many of Europe’s top clubs, with Barcelona seemingly favourites to sign him having conducted talks with Ajax, and PSG close behind them. Both Manchester City and Manchester United are also keen on obtaining the youngster’s signature.
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The 19-year-old was instrumental in Ajax’s march to the Champions League semifinals, but Raiola claims that yesterday’s PSG rumours started because he was photographed with a French journalist in Paris, and that he didn’t know the identity of the person he was snapped with.
A move to PSG would have seen De Ligt in the money, though both player and agent claim first-team football is more important than a sizeable salary. All of this means that fans at both Manchester giants can go to sleep tonight in the knowledge that the De Ligt deal could still happen.
And for the rest of us, expect to see De Ligt’s name back here tomorrow night. And the night after that. And the night after that.
– The Mail reports that Manchester City have been put off making an offer for Leicester City and England defender Harry Maguire after the Foxes slapped a £90m price tag on his head. Pep Guardiola has identified Maguire as Vincent Kompany’s replacement, but the club is prepared to walk away if the club’s can’t agree on a lower fee. Crosstown rivals Manchester United, however, have not been put off by the price tag and are ready to continue their pursuit of Maguire, according to ESPN FC sources.
– Adrien Rabiot, a name we’ll no doubt be seeing plenty more of on this page, is set for a sensational transfer U-turn which would see him at PSG after being frozen out this season. The 24-year-old French international has trained with the reserves, been suspended, and fallen out with club officials, but with sporting director Antonio Henrique looking likely to leave the Ligue 1 champions, Rabiot’s chances of staying have come back around.