It being Friday, there`s a lot going, but in reality nothing`s really happening. Chelsea go into the weekends game against Leicester City having played out two 0-0 domestic cup draws. Saturday/Wednesday football may be starting to have a poor effect on Antonio Conte`s side.
What`s needed is some fresh blood to lighten the load across the team. So far the club have added just one player, Ross Barkley. Here at Vital Chelsea we think Barkley will be a massive success, but more is required from the board.
This afternoon, news broke that Manchester City believed the overall package required to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal is too much. That begs the question, where will he go. It seems almost certain he`ll leave North London this month, and gave the Arsenal supporters a wave as he left the field at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Will Chelsea now enter the race to sign the Chilean.
Antonio Conte would like to think so, this afternoon he spoke at his usual pre-match press conference,
`I have great admiration for great players, I think Alexis Sanchez is one of these players. I think it’s a good investment because we are talking about a top player and I’m hearing that the amount is around £20m. If you buy Alexis Sanchez with a normal price maybe 80 or 90 million euros.`
Let`s hope Marina was listening. However, it appears as the days pass it`s less and less likely that Conte will still be a Chelsea next season. The manager was non-committal when the question came up at his presser this afternoon, and his demeanour is certainly that of a man who`s a bit peeved. We can only hope the ramping up of Conte`s imminent departure in the media is unfounded.
Turning to contract negotiations Eden Hazard was at the NBA game in London last night and had a chance to mingle amongst his fandom. He was told by one astute fan to ‘don`t leave Chelsea, yeah`, to which the diminutive Belgian replied ‘never`.
? ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) January 11, 2018
The Mirror took that story one step further by claiming Hazard will sign a new deal, once his compandre Thibaut Courtois has put pen to paper. Courtois himself, has said that he is close a contract extension.
The two loan deals we`ve already spoken about involving Baba Rahman to Schalke 04 and Kenedy to Newcastle United are edging closer as the window progresses. Again speaking this afternoon Conte said,
`Baba is recovering from a bad injury, I had the possibility to see him in training with us maybe once or twice and he wasn’t ready to have a full training session. Now he is recovering and it could be an interesting option for the player to try and recover with them [Schalke], Baba is recovering, he is not ready to play otherwise Baba would stay with us in my squad.`
Kenedy`s move up to the North-East is still dependent on Conte`s say so, which in turn depends on a replacement coming into the squad. As it stands that doesn`t look likely. All has gone quiet on the only replacement so far mooted, Alex Sandro. As with all these deals, we`re just going to keep waiting to see if anything actually transpires.
Last one, we like to try and finish with an amusing story and tonights focuses on one of our former players. According to The Mirror, Liverpool have placed, as they say, an eye-watering price tag of £30m on Daniel Sturridge, as they look to call time on his Liverpool career. Good luck with that one.