Chelsea plan to rebuild attacking options

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is “ready to sanction” the exit of Romelu Lukaku this summer, according to the Star. The Belgium striker returned to Stamford Bridge for a club-record fee of £97.5 million last summer. However, he has been linked with a return to Inter Milan all season after suffering from a disappointing campaign. Chelsea will demand a loan fee of at least £20 million and the move is likely to go ahead. Tuchel is targeting Ousmane Dembele, Christopher Nkunku, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus as he plans to improve his attacking options.
Lukaku completes loan move back to Inter from Chelsea
Paper Round’s view: Lukaku’s return to Chelsea have been nothing short of disastrous. The 29-year-old fell out of favour after his playing style failed to suit Tuchel’s tactics. In hindsight, it is baffling. Why would Chelsea spend all that money on Lukaku without thinking about how he fits into the manager’s plans? Now the Blues will have to pay the price. It seems like they are now targeting players who can fit across the front three or play in a two. They are likely to be looking for someone who will compliment Kai Havertz in the forward position.
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Liverpool make Mane promise

Liverpool have promised Sadio Mane that he will be allowed to leave Anfield this summer if Bayern Munich meet the club’s valuation of the 30-year-old. The German champions have already had two bids rejected by Liverpool – with the latest being labelled as “laughable” due to the inclusion of bonuses which would have needed Mane to win the Ballon d’Or three times. Bayern are preparing a third bid, which could be enough to get the green light from Liverpool. The Express reveal that Mane is not worried about the stand-off due to his “excellent relationship” with the Reds.
Paper Round’s view: Mane to Bayern seems like a done deal – we just need the transfer fee to be agreed between the two parties. The personal fees and contracts are reported to be completed already so the hold-up is just Bayern negotiating a creative payment plan. Mane has had a successful few years at Liverpool, but he probably feels like he is in Mohamed Salah’s shadow. Robert Lewandowki’s future in Munich is uncertain, so Mane would be the main man if he moves to the Bundesliga champions. Time will tell whether that is a smart decision or not.
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Man City prepare Phillips bid

Manchester City are readying a bid for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Athletic reveal that the Premier League champions believe an agreement can be struck with a bid between £45 million and £50 million for Phillips. The England international has been on City’s radar for months and is viewed as a replacement for outgoing club captain Fernandinho. The report states that Phillips would be open to moving to Manchester City and his boyhood club Leeds would “struggle to resist” accepting the lucrative transfer fee.
Paper Round’s view: Phillips’ rise from the Championship to a key component of England’s Euro 2020 runner-up team has been impressive. Now it looks like he will be making a move to the Premier League champions to play under Pep Guardiola. He has been touted at around £50 million, so the transfer fee makes sense for a 27-year-old home-grown England international. It’s a smart signing for City – who have a talented English core. Phillips will relish the competition with Rodri for a starting spot, but will also be hoping that he gets a decent amount of minutes in the step up.
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Ward-Prowse to West Ham?

West Ham United manager David Moyes is hoping to sign Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse this summer. The Hammers boss is planning to “revamp” his midfield due Mark Noble’s retirement and the doubts over Tomas Soucek’s long-term future at the London Stadium. The Mirror state that Moyes ideally wants to sign a “Premier League-ready” midfielder and Ward-Prowse is his number one option. Newcastle United are also interested in the Southampton midfielder, who was part of the most recent England squad.
Paper Round’s view: Ward-Prowse would be a great signing for a club like West Ham. Noble has just retired, there are rumours over whether Soucek will sign a contract extension and it is unlikely that Declan Rice will be at the club in the long-term. Ward-Prowse is a hard-working midfielder, who might be the best set-piece taker in the world right now. It’s a unique trait to possess. However, this could also mean that Southampton will demand a huge transfer fee to part with their captain. The south-coast club won’t want to lose Ward-Prowse.
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