Revealed: Chelsea’s ‘Plan B’ transfer targets
Chelsea are in the market for a big-name striker this summer, but the Telegraph reveal that the Blues have a list of Plan B forwards in case they are unable to sign the top players on their shortlist. Thomas Tuchel’s side are targeting Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane or Erling Haaland – but the west London club could go down a different path if these star strikers are out of reach during the summer transfer window. Chelsea could turn to Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Danny Ings as potential alternatives to their first-choice strikers.
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Paper Round’s view: Chelsea are showing their ambition for a second consecutive summer. Their ideal transfer shortlist includes three of the best (and most sought-after) strikers in world football. Then their ‘Plan B’ list includes Lewandowski – who is probably THE best striker in world football. Obviously the Bayern Munich talisman and Aubameyang don’t have age on their side, so it makes complete sense why they aren’t top targets for the Champions League winners. Ings would be a decent stop-gap option for if they planned to target Lukaku, Kane and Haaland once again next summer.
Arsenal make opening bid for Buendia
Arsenal are set to go head-to-head with Aston Villa over the signing of Norwich City playmaker Emi Buendia. The Sun report that both clubs have made opening bids worth north of £30 million, but the Canaries are holding out for around £40 million. Norwich do not need to sell the Argentine after securing promotion back to the Premier League after just one season back in the Championship. However, Daniel Farke’s side have accepted that Buendia is likely to leave Carrow Road this summer due to his personal ambition and they are in a financial position to hold out for the asking price.
Paper Round’s view: It’s an ideal situation for Norwich. The club probably thought that Buendia would be departing after helping the Canaries secure promotion back to the Premier League. However, the fact that two clubs are battling for his signature means that it’s more than likely they will receive the fee they demand. £40 million is a huge fee but the Gunners are crying out for a creative midfielder. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid exit probably means that Martin Odegaard will head back to the Santiago Bernabeu to break back into the first team. Elsewhere, Buendia would be a solid addition for Villa – who are building an impressive squad.
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Zaha demands Palace summer exit
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has demanded a move away from Selhurst Park this summer, according to the Times. The 28-year-old, who has two years remaining on his current contract in south London, has requested to leave his boyhood club by the end of June. Everton and Tottenham Hotspur are both interested in the possibility of signing Zaha, who is valued at £40 million by the Eagles. Palace are still manager-less after Roy Hodgson retired at the end of the 2020-21 campaign and Zaha’s potential exit could affect striking a deal with any incoming boss.
Paper Round’s view: Whoever takes over at Crystal Palace is going to have a huge job on their hands. The south London club have a number of players who are approaching the expiry dates on their contracts this summer, exciting youngster Eberechi Eze is set to miss the majority of next season after suffering an Achilles injury and now Zaha wants to leave. It’s a complete rebuild. Palace may have missed their opportunity to demand a huge fee for Zaha – but £40 million seems like a fair fee to pay for a player who has requested to leave.
England’s injury crisis deepens
England’s injury crisis could get a lot worse after Thursday’s news of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s withdrawal from Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championships. The Sun report that there are fears in the England camp that Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire could miss the entirety of this summer’s tournament. The pair were called up despite carrying injuries, but it was always expected that they would be fit to play at some point in the group stage. There are now doubts over whether that is possible – even extending throughout the whole of the tournament to the middle of July.
Paper Round’s view: This would be a disaster for Southgate and England. Alexander-Arnold has already been forced to withdraw and now there could be two more casualties. With an increased squad of 26 players, it always made sense to take a risk on Maguire and Henderson – despite the fact that they weren’t fully fit. The duo are club captains of Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. Their experience and leadership are huge assets and would be a devastating miss if either (or both) were to drop out of the squad. Ben White, James Ward-Prowse and Jesse Lingard are likely to be candidates to replace the trio of casualties if they are all forced to withdraw.
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