One of the (several) annoying things about Chelsea is that, while you and I know they are a bog-standard English club who used to have sub-10,000 attendances before they bought success, there is a generation of Premier League-loving foreigners growing up that genuinely think they are the biggest club in England, or something. And most annoying of all, it’s a generation that includes many of the world’s most promising young footballers.
So if you’re a 22-year-old French international star who was nine years old when Jose Mourinho won his first Stamford Bridge league title, it’s little wonder you’d think Chelsea is the pinnacle of football.
And this is apparently the view of Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The Monaco midfield sensation, whose outstanding performances in this season’s Champions League have put him on the radar of Arsenal, Manchester United and Juventus, reportedly wants to snub those (genuinely massive) clubs and sign for the Blues instead.
The Mirror says the Blues are in “pole position” to land the £40m-rated anchorman, who “favours a move to the Premier League champions-elect” despite interest from “a posse of European clubs”, just like Eden Hazard did a few years ago. Haven’t these people even heard of John Bumstead??
Philippe Coutinho might have signed a new Liverpool contract, but that hasn’t stopped the papers linking him with a move to Barcelona. The Mail says the Catalan giants have identified Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti as their two main summer targets as they seek a long-term successor to Andres Iniesta. It’s hard for Jordan Henderson to compete with that kind of thing.
Former Liverpool midfielder Suso could return to England in the colours of Tottenham, claims the Mirror. Spurs are said to be targeting the 23-year-old, now with Milan, if they fail to land “more ambitious targets” such as Ross Barkley and Isco.
Ex-Tott Gareth Bale is unhappy at Real Madrid, according to the Express, which says the Welshman is “angry with Zinedine Zidane” because he keeps playing him on the left wing to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo in a more advanced role. Surely no one can stay angry at Zizou for long though (apart from maybe Marco Matterazzi).
In Arsene Wenger gossip, Tony Pulis has claimed the Frenchman told him he would be staying at Arsenal following the Gunners’ dismal 3-1 defeat at West Brom (Sun), while Wenger’s decision will not be affected by whether the side qualify for the Champions League (Times).
Elsewhere, former Italy coach Cesari Prandelli says he turned down the Leicester job (Sun) because he thinks it was out of order what they did to Claudio Ranieri (maybe not in those exact words), Everton will “fight” to sign Swansea talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson in summer despite resistance from the Welsh club (Liverpool Echo) and Antonio Conte has pledged to sign a load of new players and make Chelsea “even stronger” next season (Star). Oh no.