8.30am Chelsea news LIVE: Rice £70m transfer moves closer, Mertens keen to join, Alaba wanted – The Sun

CHELSEA fans are eagerly awaiting news of when the Premier League may return.

But they have had a boost on the transfer front with the door open for a move for West Ham's Declan Rice – and Dries Mertens said to be very keen on a switch to Stamford Bridge.

Follow all the latest news and transfer updates from the Bridge below…

  • FAB NEWS

    Cesc Fabregas posted an emotional tribute to his great-grandmother after the “super heroine” won her fight with coronavirus at the age of 95.

    The former Arsenal and Chelsea star, 32, announced great-gran Flora had contracted the killer bug along with 70 per cent of her nursing home near Barcelona earlier this month.

    But Fabregas has now revealed the incredible news that she has won her battle against coronavirus on Twitter.

    Fabregas tweeted: “She has overcome coronavirus at 95 years of age. Yesterday the test came out negative!

    “My great-grandmother is a super heroine but none of this would have been possible had it not been for the help of the nurses and doctors.

    “[They] are giving their lives at each moment so that we can all be better and live a little bit better during these difficult times.”

  • BIG SPENDERS

    Newcastle are set to be one of just FIVE Premier League clubs to spend big this summer.

    And plenty of cash will be available to­ bolster the squad.

    Due to the lockdown, most top-flight clubs will have little if any cash spare — even if the season is completed.

    Agents have been made aware that Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and United will be in a position to bring in star signings, although transfers fees are expected to tumble.

    And though the Toon will have money to invest, they are not expected to repeat last summer’s crazy £40m capture of Joelinton.

    Everton could become the sixth club to spend but will only be in a position to buy big again if Financial Fair Play rules are relaxed.

  • DRIES LIGHTNING

    Dries Mertens is keen on a move to Chelsea, reports the Daily Mail.

    The out-of-contract Belgian has a number of offers on the table but a switch to London is reportedly viewed as one of the most appealing.

    32-year-old Mertens is currently Napoli's all-time record scorer and other reports have suggested he has already held talks with Frank Lampard.

    With Chelsea looking for firepower up front, Mertens is an appealing option as he can play in every position across Frank Lampard's front three.

  • GOOD MORNING CHELSEA FANS

    It was a fairly quiet day yesterday but SunSport exclusively revealed Newcastle are set to join the Blues and Man Utd as one of just five big-spending Premier League clubs if their takeover is completed.

    In transfers, high profile Chelsea fans also urged the West Londoners to take the Philippe Coutinho gamble to replace Eden Hazard.

    The Blues are ready to snatch Kays Ruiz-Atil, 17, from Paris Saint-Germain in a summer transfer with the midfielder's contract running out in 2021.

    Goalkeeping target Andre Onana also told Ajax he wants to quit after 'five great years' as Chelsea and Barcelona circle.

    While the West Londoners face a battle with Arsenal in the fight for Lille centre-back Gabriel with Mikel Arteta desperate to sign the £30m rated defender.

    It also emerged the Blues are willing to pay £70m in their bid to reunite Mason Mount and Declan Rice as Frank Lampard plots an overhaul of his midfield.

    Chelsea will also go head-to-head with Man Utd for Federico Chiesa but Fiorentina have offered the striker a huge new deal to try and keep him.

    Finally, it emerged footballers are worried about infecting their families with coronavirus if they are rushed back in to action.

    And a Uefa league supremo slammed Fifa’s medical chief for insisting the season should be cancelled.

  • STEADY ON

    Football's top stars fear a premature resumption could see them infect their families with Covid-19, according to the world players’ union.

    Prem bosses are still pushing to return to action in June, although Italian clubs have been told to consider following France’s lead, in cancelling the season.

    It comes as the head of the organisation representing Europe’s major leagues, including the Premier League, suggested it would be better to sacrifice this term to ensure next season can be run in full.

    But most critical was FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann’s claim that players across Europe are SCARED of the consequences of playing too soon.

  • EXCLUSIVE

    Newcastle are set to be one of just FIVE Premier League clubs to spend big this summer.

    Due to the lockdown, most top-flight clubs will have little if any cash spare — even if the season is completed.

    But agents have been made aware that Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and United will be in a position to bring in star signings, although transfers fees are expected to tumble.

  • Belgian D’Hooghe warned an early return could lead to a second spike of coronavirus deaths. He stressed: “It’s a matter of life or death. Football is not ready for a competitive return.”

    But ex-Uefa chief executive Olsson — now president of the Association of European Leagues — added: “He must understand his words are perceived not as the opinion of a private person, but as a representative of Fifa.

    “In Europe most want to finish the season if it’s possible.

    “There are leagues where they are about to end the season and there are opportunities where clubs can enter competitions according to sporting principle not by a decision taken in someone’s office.”

  • EUR WRONG

    European leagues boss Lars-Christer Olsson slammed Michel D’Hooghe for insisting the season must be cancelled.

    Fifa medical chief D’Hooghe said football should not return before September — even behind closed doors.

    But Swede Olsson told him to shut up, while Uefa’s own medical professor believes it is “definitely possible” to restart the season.

    Olsson said: “The head of the Fifa medical committee needs to keep his advice to himself.

    “He has no idea what’s happening in each country — he does not have the complete data…

  • MOUR HELP

    Jose Mourinho helped Tottenham deliver freshly-grown food to needy families during the coronavirus crisis.

    Spurs uploaded images on Instagram showing their manager, wearing PPE, carrying boxes of spinach and rhubarb away from their training ground Hotspur Way, where the first-team's food is produced.

  • DEAL OR NO DEAL

    Player contracts look likely to be a contentious issue at Stamford Bridge this summer and here is when Chelsea's players deals end.

  • FIOR BLIMEY

    Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly battling to sign Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa.

    Gazetta claims the versatile forward is being lined up for a stunning move to England this summer as he enters the final two years of his contract.

    Chiesa, 22, joined Fiorentina in 2007 and made his debut in 2016 against Juventus.

    Originally deployed as a right winger, he has since played on the left and as a striker, scoring 29 goals in 139 matches.

  • STAT ATTACK

    Live football may seem like a lifetime ago but here's Chelsea's Premier League stats up until the day coronavirus put a stop on English footy.

  • DON'T BE A SILLY BILLY

    Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour has been giving fans tips on how to improve their passing game at home.

  • BLUES ON DEC

    Chelsea could make a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice after being alerted to his availability, according to the Telegraph.

    The Hammers are preparing for a major overhaul of their current squad and could sell Rice in order to raise funds.

    It is unclear whether Chelsea would be willing or able to meet West Ham's asking price for the young star, who has also been linked with a move to Manchester United.

    Rice played in the Blues' academy alongside Mount between 2006 and 2014, at which point the former was released and joined West Ham.

  • GOV CROWD CONCERN

    Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says the Premier League is giving consideration to how it can best make matches available to view without supporters being able to attend, according to PA.

    Concerns have been raised by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee chair Julian Knight that if matches are only available via subscription it may encourage people to go to a friend's house to watch.

    Roberts said: “One of the biggest considerations has got to be where we are with the lockdown, because of course it does evolve.

    “But a concern might be that if things are screened and it's behind closed doors is it going to encourage people to come together either in small or larger venues?

    “That's primarily a health concern but you wouldn't want to see the police being called to manage people going somewhere to watch a match.”

  • PREM STARS' UNEASE

    The Premier League is facing a growing revolt – from its own players, according to reports.

    England’s top flight is vying to resume playing after six weeks out of action.

    ESPN quote a source, saying: “A lot of players are very uncomfortable with coming back.

    “The only way the league takes this seriously is when someone at a club dies.

    “We will look back on this time with sadness in the future.”

  • A LILLE HELP AT THE BACK

    Arsenal and Chelsea are reportedly set to battle it out for Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes in the summer as both clubs look to bring in a defender.

    The 22-year-old Brazilian is almost certain to leave the French club in the upcoming transfer window following an impressive season in Ligue 1.

    The Gunners are known to be admirers of Gabriel, with boss Mikel Arteta desperate to bolster his leaky defence.

    And Arsenal could decide to step up their pursuit of the player after it was reported that Dayot Upamecano has allegedly agreed to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

    Frank Lampard meanwhile is also a fan of the defender, with it claimed he is targeting a double raid on Lille for Gabriel and striker Victor Osimhen.

    According to Le10Sport, the player will be allowed to leave for a fee in the region of £30million.

  • MOVING ON

    Andre Onana has confirmed that he wants to leave Ajax this summer, with the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona circling.

    The 24-year-old has developed into one of European football’s finest goalkeepers since swapping La Masia for Amsterdam back in 2015.

    He told Algemeen Dagblad: “Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with Ajax and I am very grateful to the club.

    “It was five great years here, but now my time has come to take a step.

    “I don’t yet know what will happen, but my ambitions and agreements are clear.”

  • 'CHO + C.H.O = WOAH

    An ‘agreement is in place’ for Jadon Sancho to leave Dortmund, according to Bild.

    The English wing sensation, who has scored 17 goals and assisted 19 this season in all competitions, has attracted interest from some of Europe’s top clubs.

    Sancho, 20, is pals with Manchester United pair Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, having played with them for England.

    But Chelsea remain keen on his services too – while his friendships with Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also well publicised.

    According to Bild, Dortmund have also lowered their asking price, opening the door for one of the English clubs to make their move.

  • SPECIAL TIED RICE

    West Ham will REFUSE any offers for Declan Rice, according to reports.

    The midfielder has been superb for the Hammers this season and has attracted interest from Chelsea, who he played for at youth level.

    According to Goal, the East London club will refuse any cash offers for his services.

    The Hammers see Rice as a future star of the club.

  • COME TO THE U-KAYS

    Chelsea reportedly remain keen on luring Paris Saint-Germain starlet Kays Ruiz-Atil to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

    The 17-year-old midfielder's deal at Parc des Princes expires in 2021, and it looks increasingly likely that he could be departing the Ligue 1 side at the end of the season.

    According to L'Equipe, the Blues are in talks with the player as they look to bring him to England.

    They claim that Ruiz-Atil's family are waiting for a clear sign from Chelsea that they intend to sign him, while they want to know where he would fit into the team.

    Billy Gilmour, 18, has burst onto the scene this season for the West Londoners, with the Scottish youth international to potentially rival the midfielder for a place in the team.

  • NINES OR 'TENS

    Frank Lampard reportedly likes Dries Mertens because he can play a multitude of positions.

    The versatile Belgian, 32, can play as a No9, a No10 and on the wings, particularly the left, giving Lampard plenty of options.

    According to HLN journalist Kristof Terreur, Lampard remains interested in the Napoli man.

  • MATCH OF THE SPRAY

    Coronavirus-busting technology is already being discussed for crowds AND players, reports NEIL CUSTIS.

    The ‘CLeanTech’ pods are a three-in-one disinfection machine.

    Fans would first stand in front of a screen, much like at passport control, and get their temperature checked.

    If it is too high, suggesting a viral infection, you cannot go any further.

    But if the person is OK, the pod opens and you then enter what is called the ‘Sanitising Tunnel’.

    This is where a combination of UV light and an air-sanitising and purification spray are used to kill off any other germs lingering on clothes or belongings.

  • CHIE-LSEA

    The Blues are hoping Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa turns down a new big-money contract at the club, according to reports in Italy.

    The 22-year-old has scored six and had five assists in Serie A this season.

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the West London club are among a host of elite clubs including Manchester United, Juventus and Inter, who are hoping to land him.

    His father Enrico had a journeyman career around Italian clubs for two decades.

  • OUT OF TOON

    Premier League clubs have raised concerns about whether Newcastle’s prospective Saudi owners should be blocked for breaching rules.

    The proposed £300million buyout of Mike Ashley, fronted by financier Amanda Staveley for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been welcomed by Toon fans.

    But a number of top-flight clubs have been alerted to regulations that could mean the Saudis fail the league’s ‘owners and directors test’.

    The issue is the ‘pirate’ TV station beoutQ which was accused by the league and other sports governing bodies including Fifa and Uefa of “stealing” broadcasts across the Middle East.

    Prem games were sold to Qatar-based beIN Sports as part of a three-year deal currently worth £328m.

    But fans in the Gulf region were able to watch games through decoder boxes which were linked to the Saudi-owned Arabsat satellite.

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