Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has this afternoon reiterated the club’s hopes that youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi will put pen-to-paper on a new deal.
English starlet Hudson-Odoi enjoyed a breakout season at Stamford Bridge in 2018/19.
After initially struggling for game-time under new boss Maurizio Sarri, the explosive attacker’s showings in the Europa League and FA Cup soon proved too much to ignore for the Chelsea boss, amid mounting fan pressure for Hudson-Odoi to be handed a consistent run of appearances.
This subsequently saw the 18-year-old work his way into a more steady role in Sarri’s plans, with the now-former Blues’ boss having confirmed towards the end of March that Hudson-Odoi was ready to start in ’75 to 80%’ of Chelsea’s fixtures:
He adds that in the near future, Hudson-Odoi is likely to start in 75 to 80 per cent of the games. #CARCHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 29, 2019
‘We as a club want him to stay’
And, though an untimely injury saw the wide-man’s season ended prematurely, Hudson-Odoi is nevertheless viewed as a crucial part of Chelsea’s future.
This, meanwhile, is certainly a sentiment shared by new Blues’ boss Frank Lampard.
Speaking to the media earlier today, Lampard was questioned on the possibility of Hudson-Odoi extending his current deal, which is set to expire next summer.
The Chelsea legend explained:
‘With Callum of course I want him to sign and stay here.’
‘He’s a player who’s come through the academy, he’s a player who can be a big player for Chelsea and England. We as a club as a whole want him to stay, for sure. ‘I think he knows he has a manager here who wants to work with him to improve, and that takes hard work.’
Will Callum Hudson-Odoi sign a new deal and stay at Chelsea?
Frank Lampard has the latest on his young Blues players. pic.twitter.com/RSly6LHksv
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 16, 2019
In other Chelsea news, meanwhile, Christian Pulisic has joined up with the Londoners’ squad for the first time.
After completing a big-money to Stamford Bridge move from Borussia Dortmund in January, Pulisic immediately returned to Germany for the second-half of the campaign.
And the young attacker since helped the USA to a runners-up finish at the Gold Cup this summer.
However, despite his international commitments having only ended last week, in a 1-0 finale defeat to Mexico, Pulisic has today showcased his commitment to the Chelsea cause, by flying out to Japan to begin pre-season training:
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 16, 2019
‘The journey starts here!’ 🙌
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 16, 2019
Chelsea & transfer ban
Under the current state of play, Chelsea are banned from signing any new players for the next two transfer windows.
Like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid beforehand, Chelsea are being punished by UEFA for breaching transfer rules on signing minors.
Chelsea are fighting back.
The Blues have lodged an appeal, while there’s the belief that Chelsea are looking to secure a stay of execution long enough to recruit this summer.
After that, the transfer ban could stick.
Mateo Kovacic & Real Madrid
Mateo Kovacic has been at Chelsea since early on in the season, on loan from Real Madrid.
Kovacic has been a regular feature in the Chelsea XI, even if his first team spot may not be fully secured.
In 26 Premier League games this season, Kovacic is yet to score while he’s registered two assists.
On Wednesday, Marca investigate the likelihood of Kovacic completing a move to Chelsea this summer.
Marca claim that Kovacic’s “priority” is to make a permanent switch to Chelsea. But the deal for the Croat is complicated:
The Croatian depends on the Court of Arbitration for Sport helping out and delaying the sanction imposed on the Blues.
His deal ends on June 30 and Chelsea cannot exercise their purchase option on him if the penalty isn’t reduced or delayed.
If Chelsea can’t complete on Kovacic, Marca believe the midfielder still intends to remain in the Premier League.
“Several clubs” in the English top flight are said to be tracking the 24-year-old, yet no names were disclosed by Marca.
Gonzalo Higuain & Juventus
And what about Gonzalo Higuain?
Will the Argentine remain at Chelsea past the end of the season, or will he return to Juventus?
That issue is picked up by Spanish daily AS, who report Higuain is in an “uncertain position” with regards to his future.
Higuain has scored three goals in ten matches for Chelsea, which is OK but not fantastic.
AS state that Chelsea know they’d need to pay Juventus 38 million euros to sign the South American.
Leaving aside the transfer ban concerns, AS aren’t convinced Chelsea are keen to pay that sort of money.
Should Higuain return to Juventus, it’s believed that Italians will look to sell him in the summer.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has this afternoon provided injury updates on midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho.
Burnley vs Man City
Guardiola’s Citizens are set to travel to Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon, for the club’s latest outing in their bid to retain the Premier League title.
City’s last outing, on Wednesday night, saw the Sky Blues secure a crucial Manchester derby win at Old Trafford.
Second-half strikes from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane proved the difference between the sides, as City leapfrogged Liverpool back to the summit of the Premier League table, with 3 fixtures remaining.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2019
With Liverpool widely expected to put Huddersfield to the sword tonight, though, the champions look set to head into proceedings at Turf Moor in 2 days’ time having relinquished leadership of the English top-flight once again.
And City will have their work very much cut out in reclaiming their spot above the Reds, with Burnley currently in the midst of an impressive run of 3 wins and a draw from their last 4 league outings.
Fernandinho to return?
As such, ahead of his side’s upcoming trip to Lancashire, Pep Guardiola was this afternoon asked for a fitness update on his squad, specifically sidelined midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho.
First off, the City boss confirmed that former Chelsea man De Bruyne is set to miss out at Turf Moor:
PEP 💬 (De-Bruyne) Still he is not fit. He’s getting better, but is not fit.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 26, 2019
Fernandinho, on the other hand, remains in contention to feature on Sunday:
PEP 💬(Fernandinho) We will see tomorrow. He had a problem in the knee, but we will see tomorrow.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 26, 2019
As confirmed across social media this afternoon, Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has replaced Manchester United counterpart Paul Pogba in the French national squad.
France’s upcoming fixtures
Didier Deschamps’ world champions are set for a pair of Euro qualifiers over the coming week.
First, France welcome Albania to the Stade de France this coming Saturday night. Les Bleus are then set to host Andorra in the same venue this day next week.
The country’s initial squad for the pair of very winnable fixtures, meanwhile, was as follows:
RDV lundi à Clairefontaine pour préparer les 2 matchs de qualifications à l’UEFA Euro 2020 ! 👊 #FiersdetreBleus
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) August 29, 2019
As was confirmed earlier today, though, one of France’s star men, in the form of Paul Pogba, has been forced to pull out of their squad, due to injury.
The Manchester United standout appeared to pick up an ankle issue during the closing moments of the Red Devils’ disappointing 1-1 stalemate with Southampton over the weekend, with Pogba having today succumbed to the injury.
Guendouzi gets the nod
When one door closes in football, though, another so often opens.
And this has today proven the case for Arsenal youngster Matteo Guendouzi.
Pogba’s dropping out of Les Bleus’ panel has since seen Didier Deschamps opt for Guendouzi as the former Juventus man’s replacement.
Guendouzi’s call-up, his first at senior level for his country, comes on the back of the 20-year-old’s standout performance in the middle of the park during Arsenal’s comeback north London derby stalemate with Spurs yesterday evening.
OFFICIAL: Matteo Guendouzi has been called up to the France national team replacing Paul Pogba who pulls out with an ankle injury. pic.twitter.com/ByCoT31yLu
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 2, 2019
FASHION AND TRENDS
Summer transfer battle incoming
Manchester United and Barcelona have reportedly joined the race to sign Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi after his impressive displays this season.
Hudson-Odoi has made waves in European football this campaign.
The 18-year-old continues to go from strength to strength after bursting onto the scene with Chelsea.
Though, Hudson-Odoi has rarely been used in the Premier League.
Instead, he’s predominantly featured in the Europa League.
The Englishman has scored four goals and assisted two during his eight appearances in Europe.
Despite that, Hudson-Odoi is still very much considered to be a squad player.
That lack of first-team chances left Hudson-Odoi wanting to leave the club in January.
However, it looks as though there will be movement for Hudson-Odoi in the summer window and two new clubs have joined the race to sign him.
Where will Hudson-Odoi be next season?
After his impressive performances with the England senior team this week, Manchester United and Barcelona are now said to have joined the race to sign him.
That is according to the Mirror.
They claim his performances showed ‘he is not just an exciting prospect for the future but ready to make an impact at the top level now.’
They say Chelsea’s determination to keep him ‘is set to be even stronger in the summer’.
However, how many minutes he gets on the pitch before the end of the season will ‘be key’ as to whether he pushes for a move or not.
Safe to say, Sarri needs to find a place for him in his side and soon.
A trio of Premier League clubs are currently locked in negotiations with Adrien Rabiot and mother-agent Veronique over a transfer, according to the reliable Soccer Link.
PSG contract rebel
Speculation surrounding the future of gifted 24-year-old Rabiot has been rampant for some time now.
The Frenchman has refused to commit to a contract extension with boyhood club PSG, with his current deal at the Parc des Princes set to expire at the beginning of next month.
Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in a whole host of European heavyweights expressing an interest in Rabiot’s services.
Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester City are leading the chase to sign PSG outcast Adrien Rabiot. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool all retain various levels of interest. Juventus & Barcelona are drifting away from a move. (L’Equipe)
— 🔴⚫ Rich Allen 🔴⚫ (@rich_allen85) May 7, 2019
However, despite the marauding midfielder having been free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club since the beginning of the year, and been banished to the Parc des Princes stands since the middle of December, Rabiot’s future, at present, remains very much up in the air.
PSG sporting director Antero Henrique: “Adrien Rabiot has told me that he will not sign a contract extension & that he wishes to leave the club at the end of the season, so once his current deal finishes. The consequences are very clear: he is indefinitely benched.” https://t.co/ELsNJuVwoa
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) December 17, 2018
The previous runaway favourites to sign Rabiot were Spanish champions Barcelona.
The Blaugrana were even rumoured to have clinched an agreement with the Frenchman in January, though official confirmation of any such deal never arrived.
And reports have since widely-varied regarding just how interested Barca remain in securing Rabiot’s signature.
Premier League bound?
As such, this has since opened the door once more for all other interested parties, with an update on the race for the Frenchman’s services having this evening emerged online.
As per Soccer Link, regarded as reliable when it comes to transfer news, all of Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton, Inter Milan and Juventus are currently in negotiations with Rabiot’s mother-agent Veronique over a transfer.
A decision on his future, however, will not be made until the end of the month.
This comes amid shock claims that the arrival of sporting director Leonardo, who is set to be appointed by PSG imminently, will see talks opened over an extension to Rabiot’s contract, in spite of everything that has transpired between player and club over the last 12 months:
La mère d’Adrien Rabiot négocie avec des clubs (Man U, Everton, Inter, Juve, Chelsea) mais ne devrait donner son accord à aucun d’entre eux avant d’avoir rencontré Leonardo.
— Hadrien (@hadrien_grenier) June 11, 2019