Tuchel eyes Tchouameni as long-term Blues midfield option

Chelsea will explore the possibility of striking a deal for Aurelien Tchouameni in January even if he does not join until the summer.
It’s a big year ahead as the next two windows dictate an important time in transitioning the side.
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Their defensive dilemma is well documented as the contract situations over Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta need resolving.
Yet there is also a developing story of their midfield, which is going to come into focus in 2022.
At this moment in time the options seem good with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. They also have Saul and Ross Barkley for added depth.
Yet the club are planning ahead and there is an expectation that at least one of Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic will leave in the next year.
With that in mind they are turning to their shortlist of options. Previously there has been plenty of interest in Declan Rice, while Jude Bellingham is being monitored too. This week there have been links to Wolves’ Ruben Neves, yet the name most insiders are currently talking about is Tchouameni.
The 21-year-old has been establishing himself at AS Monaco and it is believed he would be available despite the recent words of club director Paul Mitchell, who stated he would be “as expensive as our Gran Casinó.”
Chelsea do not quite see it that way and have been looking into his situation over the past year while also looking at French defender Jules Kounde, who plays at Sevilla.
The pair are high on the transfer agenda and January’s window will be the time to discover what can be done on both fronts.

Aurelien Tchouameni of Monaco (left) during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and AS Monaco (ASM) at Parc des Princes stadium on December 12, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

Image credit: Getty Images

Sterling remains on Barca shortlist despite Torres capture

Barcelona may yet revisit Manchester City for talks over a transfer, as it is believed Raheem Sterling remains a player of interest.
A move for Ferran Torres is already going ahead for January but Sterling had his head turned by interest from Camp Nou in the past and there is a feeling that the switch might still be on.
There has still been no agreement over a new contract and with his current deal to expire in 2023, his situation will come under scrutiny in the summer. City had previously thought of him as a £100million talent yet that value is no longer there and if he is not showing signs of signing a new agreement, it is expected they would let him go.
They started to become open to the idea in the last window and Sterling has been open to listening to any tempting offers that came along. Arsenal made the most serious approach though and that was not quite what he had in mind.
Sterling, 27, has spoken about his desire to play abroad one day and a lack of game time at City over the course of this season means he has given more thought to the idea than ever before.
Xavi is understood to be a huge admirer of the player and Barca have been prioritising the need for creative forwards as they move forward. The fact Ferran and Sterling have both been working under Pep Guardiola will also be seen as a positive by the Barca decision makers.
Much will depend on how their squad is able to shape up over the next six months but while finding the cash for a transfer and wages looks problematic right now, they have found a way around the Ferran situation and a lot can change between now and the summer.
Meanwhile, City are not expected to sign a direct replacement for Ferran in the coming weeks.
They are looking into how they reinvent the front line and Harry Kane, Erling Haaland and Alvaro Odriozola are three names still believed to be in contention when they do go ahead with pursuing a new signing.

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Fulham confident of Mitrovic stay despite Juve interest

Fulham are remaining calm about the possibility of a fight to hold on to Aleksandar Mitrovic amid growing speculation of an offer from Juventus.
Mitrovic has 22 goals in the Championship this season and as Juve search for a solution to their problems in front of goal, he is being linked with a January transfer.
Juventus are fifth in Serie A and their goal output is some way behind all teams in the top four. To give some context, Juve have scored just 27 goals from 19 matches while league leaders Inter Milan have 49.
Juve have been linked to Mitrovic before and the player is believed to be interested in the idea if the call arrives.
Talk around the deal is of a £35million offer, yet some sources in Italy are sceptical that this is the route they will go down as he is not of a high enough profile.
It is felt their priority remains Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic - even if he does not join until the summer.
Fulham know there are clubs watching their star man - but for now they are content with the fact they have not had to reject any offers.
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