8am Chelsea news LIVE: Willian talks move to Spurs, Abraham ‘advanced’ contract talks, £5m Max Bird transfer ‘close’ – The SunMay 2, 2020
CHELSEA fans are eagerly waiting to find out exactly when the Premier League will return, with a date of June 12 currently pencilled in.
And they could be set for a big boost with Tammy Abraham reportedly close to signing a new £135,000-a-year contract.
Follow all the latest news and transfer updates from the Bridge below…
TIMO BOOST FOR BLUES
Timo Werner has given Chelsea a boost by admitting he does not want to join Bayern Munich.
Liverpool are also interested in the RB Leipzig striker, who has a reported £52million release clause that expires on June 15.
“Bayern are a great club, we don't need to talk about it, and Hansi Flick has proven this season he is a really good head coach,” Werner told Bild.
“But if a move were to become an issue at some point, I would be more tempted by a move abroad than a move to Bayern.
“It's just that the challenge of another league would appeal to me a little more than a move within the Bundesliga.
“Of course, it also important that mutual respect is there as much as possible.
“That's why I chose RB Leipzig at the time, and why I would choose the club for [the] next step as one where I would get that feeling.”
BUT NO MOU CONTACT
Willian also denied claims that he has been in contact with Jose Mourinho to discuss a move to Tottenham. “No, no. I did not get anything from Mourinho even though I have a good relationship with him,” he continued.
“He is not only a great coach but also a great friend of mine. Sometimes we talk but regarding this situation, he totally respects it.
“I learnt a bit from each of them [my other managers] but I identified myself more with Mourinho for sure. He trusted in my potential, liked my football, gave me full confidence to play. He is the best coach I have worked with.”
WILL I AM UP FOR MOVE
Willian has opened the door to a move to one of Chelsea’s rivals Arsenal or Tottenham.
When asked about a move to either north London club in an interview with Brazillian YouTube channel ‘Desimpedidos’, he said: “It really is a hard decision. I identified myself a lot at Chelsea, I have a lot of love for everyone at the club, and the fans.
“However, it is like I said before, if I leave Chelsea with no trouble and leaving the doors open, it would be fine to move to a rival club.”
GOOD MORNING CHELSEA FANS
Yesterday was a busy day as it emerged the Premier League faces an ENTIRE season behind closed doors and huge financial losses unless a coronavirus vaccine is created.
However, plans are still being worked on for a season restart and Prem chiefs are considering using neutral grounds across the country with matches pencilled in for June 12.
Arsenal’s Emirates, Man City’s Etihad and West Ham’s London Stadium are certain to be among the venues used if the government approve the early June date.
However, each game’s venue will be kept SECRET to stop fans gathering outside amid coronavirus spread fears.
Prem clubs are said to be scrambling to buy face-masks as stars return to training ahead of the potential restart.
But after Sergio Aguero admitted players are scared on Thursday, SunSport can exclusively reveal today Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Mark Noble have been flooded with calls from worried players about whether it's safe for football to return.
In order to squeeze this season in, the Carabao Cup could be scrapped next year to make way for fixtures in frantic 23-team Premier League campaign.
While Gary Neville chipped his ideas in again and suggested a radical plan to move the Prem ABROAD in order to finish this season in a coronavirus-free country.
Ex-Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro who rowed with Jose Mourinho warned “It only takes one case for this to blow up” amid Prem return plans.
And Blues stopper Kepa said it's “absurd” to talk about dates to resume the season and health risk needs to be “zero” before any return.
In transfers, Willian hinted at a Tottenham transfer as the Brazilian said he has “no problem” joining a rival and said he is “big friends” with Jose Mourinho.
Finally, Jorginho revealed he thought about quitting Chelsea over fans who booed him for being Maurizio Sarri's go-to-guy but the “unfair” criticism spurred him on.
MAT'S ALL FOLKS
Chelsea fans were left disappointed by EA Sports as Mateo Kovacic was the only player to make FIFA 20's Team of the Season So Far.
The full list is as follows…
Alisson Becker (Liverpool)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester City)
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United)
Harry Maguire (Man United)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Marcus Rashford (Man United)
Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)
Sergio Aguero (Man City)
Heung-min Son (Tottenham)
Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
Adama Traore (Wolves)
DEAL ME IN
Chelsea could finally be set to tie Tammy Abraham down to a new contract.
Italian journalist Niccolo Schira reports that the Blues are close to agreeing a £7m-a-year deal.
PLAYER POWER – EXCLUSIVE
Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Mark Noble have been inundated by calls from worried players over whether it is safe for football to return.
After Manchester City ace Sergio Aguero revealed he and many players are “scared” by amidst the coronavirus crisis, it emerged the English trio are top flight stars’ primary port of call.
PFA bosses have also received a spate of calls and messages from worried players.
Tottenham’s Kane, Liverpool’s Henderson and West Ham’s Noble, though, have emerged as figureheads for stars to contact with their concerns.
NO HOME GAMES
The Emirates, Etihad and London Stadium will be among “up to ten” neutral venues if the Government allows the Premier League to play out its season from June 12.
Prem chiefs were told during Friday’s video conference that clubs would have to give up “home” advantage – and of course that all 92 remaining matches would be behind closed doors.
It was agreed following a series of discussions and briefings that matches will be restricted to specific stadiums throughout the country – with clubs in effect sacrificing “home advantage”.
Clubs also accepted police advice that the chosen venues should, if possible, be away from congested urban areas.
But no club will be allowed to play in their own own home ground in a bid to equalise the unprecedented scenario. The clubs agreed to meet again next Friday, 24 hours after the next lockdown announcement.”
Manchester United are “not happy” with playing games behind closed doors as chief executive Ed Woodward admits he is uncertain whether the season can restart.
United chief executive Woodward revealed on a fans' forum conference call that he is not a fan of games played in front of no crowd, but fears it may be the only option.He said: “No decisions have been made yet but we think it is possible that the initial games, particularly the ones related to finishing or trying to complete this season, will probably have to be played behind closed doors.
“We're not necessarily happy about that – clearly football requires our fans in the stadium for it to be complete – but public health must come first and… this is down to the Government.
“It's important to get back to playing football and complete this season once it's safe to do so.”
WILL HE STAY OR WILL HE GO?
Willian is entering the final two months of his Chelsea contract – with the question now should he remain a Blue?
Chelsea have made attempts to, but refuse to accept Willain’s demand of a three-year deal – leaving his Stamford Bridge future up in the air.
And SunSport’s Andrew Dillon and Tom Sheen make their cases for the floppy-haired Brazilian to stay or go.
TOM SHEEN – GO
ANDREW DILLON – STAY
WILL I NEVER
Willian has hinted at a move to Tottenham as the Chelsea ace says he has “no problem” joining a rival club and is “big friends” with Jose Mourinho.
The Brazilian star has revealed he is in regular contact with pal Mourinho, who coached him for two years at Stamford Bridge.
In an interview with Bolivia Talk Show, Willian said: “Nothing arrived from Mourinho but we do have a good relationship, he’s a big friend of mine.
“We speak to each other sometimes but when it comes to that (speaking about transfers) he respects me a lot.”
Chelsea have received a major boost in their pursuit of Moussa Dembele after the French government ordered the Ligue 1 season to be cancelled.
As well as being crippled by the loss of potential TV revenue, the striker's current club Lyon were demoted from 5th to 7th after clubs in France opted to decide standings based on points-per-game.
Lyon will now be out of Europe next season unless they win the League Cup final – a match which there is no guarantee will be played.
JOE MY GOD
Ex-Chelsea favourite Joe Cole said his namesake Ashley is the best player he ever played against in a message to senior Blues fans.
PREMIER LEAGUE UPDATE
Prem games will be staged behind closed doors at neutral stadiums across the country if the Government gives football the green light to return.
Clubs remain determined to finish the season is possible – as long as there is government approval.
Clubs are hoping to begin some form of formal training from May 18, with a target for the return of games to resume the season on June 12.
The clubs have agreed with police advice that the chosen venues should, if possible, be away from congested urban areas.
West Ham’s London Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates and the Etihad home of Manchester City look certain to be among the final venues chosen.
But no club will be allowed to play in their own own home ground in a bid to equalise the unprecedented scenario.
CARN'T DO THAT
The Premier League will be treading an incredibly precarious path when restarting football during the coronavirus pandemic, former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has warned.
Players and club officials are reported to have expressed concerns over the planned return to training later this month before games kick-off in the middle of June.
And Dr Carneiro, who worked for West Ham and the England women's team before a six-year spell at Stamford Bridge, believes any best-laid plans can crumble in a heartbeat.
The 46-year-old told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “It has to be a broad effort, this is greater than any individual, any single entity, any team or manager or player.
“It only takes one case for this to blow up and to put a lot of individuals at risk as we have observed so something needs to change and potentially could change for the better for all of us.
“It's in all our interests to change this.”
Paul Ince has warned Chelsea target Jadon Sancho to consider if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to turn him into a world star before he agrees to join Manchester United.
Sancho is top of the list of players United want to bring to Old Trafford this summer and they are willing to break the bank to seal a deal with Borussia Dortmund.
Ince said: “When it comes to transfers, it’s not just about the team, it’s about the manager.
“Let’s look at Raheem Sterling as an example, Pep Guardiola has turned him into a world class player through his coaching and guidance.
“Sometimes as a player, it’s about looking at a team’s manager and coaching staff and whether they’d take you to that next level. That’s a decision Sancho will need to make.
“We know that Pep is experienced in that area, we know he can improve a player. But can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? We don’t know that, whatsoever.
“We have no clue what he’s like at developing a player of that magnitude.
“He’s clearly trying to develop a young team, so that will help, but in terms of actually the man to man management and development of someone like Sancho, he’s a total unknown.
“We’ve not seen any evidence yet that he can take a player to the next level.”
All 20 teams in Italy's Serie A have voted to finish the 2019/20 season in full.
An emergency meeting was held today amid reports that Torino and Brescia wanted the campaign to be axed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But it has now been revealed that every team in the league shares the belief that the season should be completed.
The top flight has been suspended since March, but players are preparing to return to training on May 18.
Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has warned this does not necessarily mean the season will resume.
He has also confirmed the league could axed unless an agreement is reached over the medical protocols that will be in place.
ON THIS DAY
IN THE RED
Barcelona may be left with no choice but to play Philippe Coutinho next season – potentially bagging Liverpool £17million.
When the LaLiga giants paid £105m for the Brazilian in 2017, they agreed to £35m worth of add-on-clauses – most of which are yet to be met.
By far and away the biggest add-on remaining, according to Marca, is the £17m Barcelona will have to hand over when Coutinho reaches 100 games for the club.
Currently, he stands at 76 appearances from his 18 months at the Camp Nou.
But Barcelona were left underwhelmed by Coutinho, 27, and sent him on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 campaign.
Reports suggest Barcelona's preferred route is selling Coutinho with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham rumoured to be tracking the situation amid a potential longshot bid from Newcastle.
Gary Neville has suggested finishing the Premier League season abroad in a coronavirus-free country.
The English top-flight faces an entire season being played behind closed doors unless a vaccine is created.
Speaking on The Football Show, he said: “If the Premier League are really serious about delivering the matches that remain in a safe environment they would move it to two or three spots that are within three or four hours of this country that are coronavirus free.
“They would take the Premier League players, broadcasters and media over, quarantine for a week or two and then deliver it in an environment that has proven it can handle this virus.
“There are a couple of hotspots in Europe that haven't got coronavirus which could handle the Premier League finishing.
“If they were serious about it and wanted to deliver it with a safe outcome, they could do that.
“In this country I'm not sure they can deliver it with the amount of coronavirus which is around, especially with the amount of movement of it out there and the logistic issues.
“I'm not sure they can deliver what they want to do.”
KER-B YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Chelsea ace Jorginho has claimed that he thought about quitting the club over fan boos for being Maurizio Sarri's go-to-guy.
However, the star revealed that the 'unfair' criticism eventually spurred him on.
Jorginho told FourFourTwo: “Last year, fans were picking on me a lot because I'd arrived with another manager and, in my opinion, I ended up hearing some things that were honestly unfair.
“But I've never challenged the views of the fans and other people who criticised me. Quite the opposite, actually – it gave me strength because inside I knew they were wrong.
“Deep in my mind, it was like this: 'I'm going to prove they're wrong and work quietly like I've always done, because it's never been easy for me'.”
He continued: “I've gone through moments like this at every club I've played for – this low moment when doubt can come and make you wonder, 'Should I just leave this place? Maybe there isn't room for me here,'
“But I embrace this kind of challenge, and I've never backed down. It gives me more strength to work even harder, to prove to everyone that I can make it.”
Premier League clubs are scrambling to buy face masks as stars return to training ahead of the proposed June 8 season-restart.
Top-flight stars have been ordered to cover their faces when they get back to work, with Arsenal and Tottenham already in training.
It is all part of the rules laid out in “Project Restart” with clubs determined to finish the season rather than cancel it, like France, Belgium and Holland.
And with all clubs keen to get a head-start on the competition, they've raced to purchase face masks for their players and staff.
Altitude Mask founder – and football agent – Saif Rubie told Sky Sports News: “In the last three days we have been inundated with requests, mainly from the Bundesliga and the Premier League.
“Our product has been sent out to six or seven Premier League clubs in the last couple of days.”
KEPA AN EYE OUT
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga claimed it is “absurd” to talk about dates to resume the Premier League season and revealed health risk needs to “zero” before football returns.
The Blues have already ordered their foreign-based stars home back in London by Sunday as top-flight clubs start drawing up plans to resume training.
Kepa told Marca: “It is a new situation and not an easy one. But whenever you talk about health, the rest is in the background.
“And you have to go back when the risk is zero. Then, we will need to do a preseason, but when the risk is controlled.
“It is difficult to talk about dates, the players cannot control that. In Germany it is seen that the teams are already training together; in France, it has been suspended … We are waiting, and it will be decided with the health of everyone in mind.
“If the Premier returns soon, it will be a good sign that the pandemic is being controlled.
“I am in favour of maximum security. It is absurd to talk about dates to play. Everything, in time and when the authorities say.”
An alternative Premier League table has Arsenal finishing TWELFTH while Manchester United miss out on a top-four spot.
The Mail, working with Opta Sports using a method devised by L’Equipe for Ligue 1, have predicted how the final Premier League table will look if the season does not resume amid the coronavirus crisis.
Liverpool are clear winners with a record 109 points and a goal difference of 90, that’s a whole 30 points ahead of Man City, who themselves finish just two points above Leicester.
Chelsea nab the fourth Champions League spot ahead of Man Utd, who finish one point above both Wolves and Sheffield United.
Spurs take up eighth, with Crystal Palace and Burnley making up the rest of the top ten.
Surprisingly, Newcastle finish 11th and are two points ABOVE Arsenal, who end levy with Southampton.
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