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Chelsea player ratings vs West Ham: Willian and Pulisic impress but ace anonymous in loss

Chelsea missed their opportunity to go third in the Premier League after suffering a shock 3-2 defeat to West Ham. Willian scored twice as the Blues came from behind before ultimately being beaten in an enthralling clash at the London Stadium.

West Ham had an opening goal ruled out by VAR before Willian struck from the penalty spot, slotting past Lukasz Fabianski after Issa Diop brought down Christian Pulisic.

The Hammers hit back through Tomas Soucek’s header just before half-time and then took the lead when Michael Antonio slammed home from close range.

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Willian equalised with an excellent free-kick but Chelsea were caught on the break when pushing for a winner and Andriy Yarmolenko hammered home a late winner.

Express Sport have rated how the Chelsea players performed against West Ham, but do you agree?

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Chelsea player ratings vs West Ham United – Premier League

GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5

Left stranded for all three goals and will be asking serious questions of his defence.

RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 4

Dominated by Soucek when trying to mark the Czech midfielder at corners and was caught out twice, although VAR bailed him out on one occasion.

Unable to offer much going forward and was part of an out-of-sorts rearguard.

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CB: Andreas Christensen – 6

Built on his impressive outing against Manchester City with another solid display here.

Antonio opted to target Rudiger instead of the Dane, and Christensen was easily the most accomplished Blues defender on show.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 4

A pretty torrid evening for the German, who was given the slip early by Antonio as a sign of things to come.

Struggled to deal with the Hammers forward’s movement and strength, while his attempt to halt Yarmolenko’s break was weak.

LB: Marcos Alonso – 3

Ineffective in the attacking third and inept at the other end of the pitch.

Allowed the cross for West Ham’s second and then inexcusably failed to track Yarmolenko’s run in the closing stages.

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CM: N’Golo Kante – 5

Overshadowed by his opposite number Declan Rice in a low-key outing, although the Frenchman did start to get more of a handle on the game after the break.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – 5

Bright in the opening stages and kept the ball tidily but was withdrawn shortly after half-time.

CM: Ross Barkley – 3

Forced a simple save from Fabianski in the first-half but was anonymous thereafter.

Deserved his start but will struggle to justify getting another one at the weekend.

RAM: Willian – 8

Great composure to bury his penalty and then spotted Fabianski out of position for his free-kick, but two goals wasn’t enough to bail out the Blues.

LAM: Christian Pulisic – 8

Won the penalty with his quick feet and was a threat all evening, driving at the West Ham defence and always looking to play positively.

In a brilliant vein of form, but it’s a shame that wasn’t matched by his team-mates tonight.

ST: Tammy Abraham – 5

Got very little change out of the West Ham centre-backs.

SUB: Mason Mount (on for Kovacic, 53 mins) – 6

SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on for Barkley, 63 mins) – 5

SUB: Olivier Giroud (on for Abraham, 63 mins) – 6

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Chelsea injury news: Pulisic and Christensen latest as five doubtful for West Ham clash

Chelsea continue their Premier League campaign against West Ham at the London Stadium tonight, looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches across all competitions. The Blues booked their spot in the FA Cup semi-finals with victory over Leicester last time out and have already beaten Manchester City and Aston Villa since English football returned.

Chelsea were on a four-match unbeaten streak before lockdown and have racked up three straight wins since the return of on-pitch action.

Frank Lampard’s men were not at their best against the Foxes on Sunday but still managed to earn their passage into the next round thanks to Ross Barkley’s second-half strike at the King Power Stadium.

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Focus returns to the Premier League this week, with Chelsea aiming to strengthen their hold on a Champions League qualification spot.

The Blues are two points clear of Wolves with a game in hand, while they still boast a five-point lead on Manchester United but there are several injury concerns for Lampard to address ahead of the clash with the Hammers.

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Christian Pulisic

Pulisic has arguably been Chelsea’s best performer over the past three games, scoring twice as he looks to cement a starting berth ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

However, his availability for the trip to West Ham has been in doubt after the American was seen with ice on his calf having been substituted against Leicester.

After the final whistle Lampard was confident it was not a big issue, saying: “Christian felt a tightness in his calf in the second drinks break, hopefully nothing that keeps him out.”

However, he was more reserved in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday and said: “We are managing him, but no answer yet.”

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Andreas Christensen

Christensen was a stand-out player in Chelsea’s victory over City, but subsequently suffered a hip injury that caused him to miss the clash with Leicester.

Lampard has confirmed the Dane is in the squad to face West Ham but is set to check his fitness prior to kick-off.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi has been struggling with an ankle knock picked up in training at the start of June but could make his return against West Ham

Speaking ahead of the clash with City, Lampard said: “Callum Hudson-Odoi is still searching for fitness. He’s fit but not match fit yet.”

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Fikayo Tomori

Tomori is closing in on a return to action with the young centre-back expected back in training this week.

The 22-year-old picked up a muscle problem which has seen him sidelined since the Premier League restart, and last week Lampard said: “Tomori is still probably about a week away from training properly with us.”

Marco van Ginkel

Van Ginkel has been sidelined for nearly two years with a serious knee injury but recently signed a 12-month contract extension at Stamford Bridge.

The Dutchman is steadily working his way back to full fitness and has been stepping up his recovery during the coronavirus lockdown.

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already has ideal Jadon Sancho partner in crime

Manchester United still want to sign Jadon Sancho, despite reports suggesting they’re only prepared to pay £50million to land the Borussia Dortmund star. And, in Marcus Rashford, they already have the ideal partner in crime for the 20-year-old. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the pair have the potential to fire them to trophies aplenty – and ensure Liverpool don’t dominate the Premier League for years to come.

According to reports, Manchester United are only prepared to pay £50million to sign Sancho this summer. And that won’t be enough to get a deal for the forward done.

Borussia Dortmund instead value their prized asset at closer to £100m. But with the coronavirus crisis continuing to impact many around the world, the Red Devils don’t want to undo all the hard work they’ve done throughout the pandemic.

Yet United fans shouldn’t despair. They still want Sancho and, instead, will find other ways into convincing Dortmund to give up their talisman.

And Rashford could yet hold the key to a blockbuster transfer.

The United star has known Sancho for a number of years. For a while, both players strutted their stuff in Manchester – with one on the red side, and one on the blue.

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The Red Devils hope that Rashford could actually hold the key to the Dortmund star making the move to Old Trafford when the transfer window reopens at the end of the season.

Both men operate from the flanks. Sancho on the right and Rashford on the left.

And United believe that the prospect of the duo doing the same for club as they do for country will be enough to swing the transfer pendulum their way.

Earlier in the month, it also emerged that Solskjaer had asked Rashford for his thoughts on Sancho and what the Dortmund star could bring to his squad next season.

And he only heard positive things.

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United have used friendships to their advantage in the past. And that was particularly true in the summer when they lured Harry Maguire away from Leicester.

Rashford and Jesse Lingard were both asked by Solskjaer for their thoughts on the England international and whether he’d be the right pick for their defence.

And they also both talked Maguire into a move to Old Trafford. Even though he’s had some erratic moments, he’s certainly made a big impression so far.

United are currently content with their attacking options.

They believe Rashford has the potential to be a Ballon d’Or winner if he continues to work hard, with the 22-year-old finding the net 19 times across all competitions so far.

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United also think Anthony Martial is getting better and better, with the France international also on 19 goals for the season.

And they reckon Mason Greenwood is only going to get better with age. The 18-year-old currently has 12 goals for the campaign.

But, in Solskjaer’s eyes, Sancho would be the jewel in the crown.

United think a front three of Sancho, Rashford and Martial would be enough to propel them to the prizes they’ve gone without since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

But whether they’re able to form their dream front three next season is something only time will tell.

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Man Utd beating Brighton may explain Ed Woodward transfer decision on one player

Before Manchester United’s Premier League showdown with Brighton, Jadon Sancho transfer news broke. It emerged that Ed Woodward has set a maximum fee of £50million for the Borussia Dortmund star. And Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial’s qualities may be behind his decision, with the trio sparkling at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday night.

Manchester United do want Sancho.

While Woodward has reportedly set a maximum fee for the England international this summer it’s an open secret that the club want to bring the 20-year-old to Old Trafford when the transfer window opens again.

But seemingly not for any price.

It was Sky Sports who claimed that United had set a price for Sancho, wary of overpaying the odds at a time where many across the world have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

And the form of Rashford, Martial and Greenwood may be behind that transfer decision.

All three sparkled as United cruised their way past Brighton on Tuesday night, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side easily outclassing the hosts.

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Greenwood scored the opening goal of the match in the 16th minute, producing a fine finish after bamboozling the Brighton defence with some fancy footwork.

And United doubled their lead 13 minutes later with Bruno Fernandes finding the net with a pinpoint shot from the edge of the box.

Fernandes then added gloss to the display in the second half, scoring a second goal of the game.

It was a straightforward night for United and the performances of Greenwood, Martial and Rashford was one of the biggest positives.

Behind the scenes, United feel they’re progressing well. Whisper it quietly, they even think the trio can be their own answer to Sadio Mane, Mason Greenwood and Roberto Firmino over at Liverpool.

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In Rashford, they feel they’ve got a future Ballon d’Or winner on their hands.

The England international faded after a bright start against Brighton but was still a constant thorn in Albion’s side, posing all sorts of problems with his mazy runs and footballing intelligence.

He’s not scored since the restart but United are happy nonetheless. He’s been playing well and that means that, eventually, the goals will start to flow again.

Martial was also unable to get on the scoresheet.

But the France international’s evolution was evident at the Amex. He’s now becoming more of a complete forward, often dropping deep and allowing his team-mates to drift into dangerous positions.

Greenwood will have been delighted with his goal, which is the 18-year-old’s 13th of the season.

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And United think he’ll only get better with time. Against Brighton he played on the right wing but, despite that not being his natural position, he was dangerous throughout the showdown.

While fans and the club want Sancho, Woodward’s transfer stance could be explained by the current attackers at the club’s disposal.

They’re brimming with potential and now look like they’re operating the very peak of their powers.

Throw Sancho into the mix and United will be considered as a genuine threat to Liverpool when it comes to the title next term.

But they may already be. Rashford, Greenwood and Martial is a trident that could strike fear into opposition defences across the globe. 

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Man Utd may make Jadon Sancho demand to Borussia Dortmund over Jude Bellingham transfer

Manchester United may allow Jude Bellingham to join Borussia Dortmund if the Bundesliga club reduce their asking price for Jadon Sancho, according to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett. Sancho is United’s top transfer target heading into the upcoming window. However, reports claim the Red Devils are not willing to pay more than £50million for the England international.

Dortmund want over £100m for Sancho but, like many clubs, are set to face financial struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Birmingham City sensation Bellingham, who turned 17 on Monday, is a target for both Dortmund and United.

Dorsett was asked by Sky Sports News presenter Vicky Gomersall whether Bellingham’s future could impact Sancho’s.

“Dortmund want to sign Birmingham teenager Jude Bellingham, could this be key then to the Sancho deal?,” Gomersall said.

Dorsett said it is a possible scenario which could see Sancho join United for a cheaper price.

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“It could be, it could be, because Jude Bellingham, like Jadon Sancho, is right in the middle of a power struggle between these two huge clubs,” Dorsett replied.

“Now, the dynamic is slightly different because Jude Bellingham is owned by Birmingham City right now, so neither Dortmund or Manchester United have the upper hand.

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“Because Dortmund and Manchester United both want Bellingham, could Manchester United walk away from the Bellingham deal and say: ‘Okay Dortmund, you have Jude Bellingham but we expect a reduction in the price for Jadon Sancho’?

“Could he be a makeweight in that negotiation for Jadon Sancho? It’s absolutely fascinating.

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“Expect much more from the Manchester United side of things, the Borussia Dortmund side of things, even the Birmingham City side of things.

“And the future of Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, absolutely fascinating for the next few months or so.”

Meanwhile, former United coach Rene Meulensteen says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should prioritise signing a striker rather than a winger such as Sancho.

“The first thing that you talked about is they may have to go out and spend for a big striker,” Meulensteen told talkSPORT.

“They’ve brought [Odion] Ighalo in, obviously a player that can help United in certain times and he’s done actually very, very well.

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“But if you look to the other players that have been there, [Marcus] Rashford, Martial, they’re not really out-and-out strikers.

“Greenwood, young player coming up, same thing there. So there are a lot of chances and goals that can be created coming from the wide areas, Sancho is exactly the same player.

“What I think Manchester United is missing is a striker of the calibre of [Robert] Lewandowski, somebody who is up there, can hold the line, can link play but when it comes to finishing chances in and outside the box, that sort of player and they are hard to come by.”

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Chelsea team news: Predicted 4-3-3 line up vs Leicester – Major rotation as stars rested

Chelsea could rest a number of first-team players for their FA Cup tie with Leicester at the King Power stadium today. The Blues head into the quarter-final off the back of a gruelling win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Thursday.

The 2-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Christian Pulisic and Willian, handed Liverpool their first top-flight title since 1990 and cemented Chelsea’s spot in the top four.

Blues manager Frank Lampard is certain to be focused on securing Champions League football for next season but the FA Cup provides a decent opportunity for silverware this term.

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The 42-year-old will therefore be keen to field a strong side against the Foxes, while also protecting his most valuable assets for the Premier League run-in.

With this in mind, Chelsea are likely to make a host of changes to their starting XI and utilise a squad that currently has very few injury concerns.

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Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marco van Ginkel all missed out on Thursday as they continue their recoveries from injury and could still be short of match fitness for the trip to Leicester.

But otherwise, Chelsea have a clean bill of health and no suspensions to be worried about – giving Lampard plenty of options.

Willy Caballero will hope to deputise for Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal, having primarily operated as a cup goalkeeper since moving to Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta could drop out in favour of Reece James while Emerson Palmieri could be given a rare start on the other flank.

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Antonio Rudiger is likely to be called on again but could be partnered by Kurt Zouma in central defence, despite Andreas Christensen’s superb performance against Man City.

Jorginho is likely to come in at the base of midfield for N’Golo Kante while Billy Gilmour and Mateo Kovacic could replace Ross Barkley and Mason Mount – giving the latter a much-needed breather.

Pedro should replace Willian on the right and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is fit to start in an advanced role on the left, taking over from the in-form Pulisic.

Finally, Tammy Abraham is set for his first start since the return of on-pitch action with the youngster expected to get the nod over Olivier Giroud in attack.

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That means still no Michy Batshuayi, with the Belgian frontman almost certain to move on this summer.

Depending on how the match progresses, Lampard may be tempted to give more youth players some vital minutes with Timo Anjorin and Armando Broja already on the fringes of the first team.

Chelsea will be mindful of their trip to West Ham on Wednesday, while they will then have just two days rest before taking on Watford at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea predicted line-up vs Leicester City – FA Cup

(4-3-3): Caballero; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Emerson; Jorginho, Gilmour, Kovacic; Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Abraham

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Man Utd set Phil Jones transfer price as staff’s shock at Jesse Lingard emerges

Manchester United have slapped a price tag of £15million on Phil Jones, reports say. And members of the Red Devils’ coaching team have supposedly been left shocked by Jesse Lingard’s decline. The pair could both be on the move away from Old Trafford when the transfer window reopens this summer.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Jones a new contract upon taking over from Jose Mourinho back in December 2018.

But the England international has done little to justify that, making just eight appearances across all competitions this season.

And, now, The Mirror say United are preparing to cut the 28-year-old loose when the transfer window reopens at the end of the campaign.

Jones is one of the last servants of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, helping the club win their last Premier League title back in 2013.

But he’s never scaled the heights Ferguson predicted upon bringing the centre-back to Old Trafford from Blackburn Rovers nine years ago.

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He’s currently behind the likes of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly in Solskjaer’s pecking order.

Newcastle have previously been linked but whether Steve Bruce goes after Jones this summer is something only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the report adds that United’s coaching staff have been shocked by Lingard’s decline over the past year.

The England international started the club’s FA Cup win over Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday but was unable to get on the scoresheet.

And he’s another who United are keen to offload as they target blockbuster deals for the likes of Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish, of Borussia Dortmund and Aston Villa respectively.

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Solskjaer was asked about possible incomings before the win against Norwich.

And he said: “I think the pandemic has hit everyone really hard.

“I still think we need to wait and see how things are panning out to know the real effects of the pandemic, to know what kind of financial state we are in.

“You see some teams invest, some teams don’t.

“We’ll have to take a big look at things ourselves to see how hard we’ve been hit. I know the club has announced a few numbers before.

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“It’s not for me to say here now we are going to have X amount because I don’t really know.

“I don’t really know how hard we have been hit. We are a financially strong club, but we are also probably being hit more than anybody else.

“Let’s see how quickly we can get our fans back into the stadium and of course the league position is going to be important for us this season. If we can get a trophy, the FA Cup or the Europa League.

“The Europa League will also qualify us for the Champions League, there’s still a lot of uncertainty and these three or four months, every businessman in the world, every footballer in the world, I think everyone is still unsure what the effect will be.”

Other players who may leave United this summer are Chris Smalling and Alexis Sanchez, who have both spent the season in Italy with Roma and Inter Milan. 

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Ian Wright senses Man Utd are returning to glory days – ‘Something’s happening’

Manchester United are on their way back to being a major force again, according to Arsenal legend Ian Wright. After Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Norwich, United are now unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are well placed to earn a Champions League qualification spot and are also in the quarter-final of the Europa League.

Bruno Fernandes has made a huge impact since his arrival in January and Paul Pogba is now back fit to play alongside the Portugal star in midfield.

Wright says the spine of the United side is looking strong and reckons they will soon be challenging for major honours.

“Yeah something’s happening, you can tell,” Wright said on BBC One.

“I think if David de Gea as well could get that form that we saw a few years back, then with the spine with him, Harry Maguire of course – people were digging him out the other day against Spurs but he’s still a quality player – Fernandes, Martial on his form, the spine seems pretty good.

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“Pogba, what’s going to happen? Is he going to stay?

“You’re looking at the way the team is playing, they look like a team that is ready to get going again.”

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Meanwhile, England legend Alan Shearer says Fernandes has been the key to United’s upturn in form.

“He has been [the difference], he has been key,” Shearer said.

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“He has made a huge difference. We were well aware of how Man United would like to play.

“They were a counter-attacking team and they were very good at it, with the pace that they have.

“But this guy has brought so much class going forward to them.

“They were a safe team, they didn’t have that midfielder to unlock the defence of teams, when they used to sit deep with numbers they didn’t have anyone to produce that killer pass.

“But this is the difference now. When I say a safe team, that’s what they used to do without him in the side. Go right, push it along and then the team can get numbers back.

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“But now he can produce the killer pass and the risky pass.

“He’s had 10 starts, he’s got four goals himself, four assists because of the class pass he can see and pick out.

“He keeps everything flowing, everything moving forward and he’s making the players ahead of him better players.”

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Chelsea set to lose six players as Frank Lampard looks to accommodate Kai Havertz

Chelsea could lose as many as six players as Frank Lampard looks to sign Kai Havertz, reports say. The Germany international is a top transfer target for the Blues, despite them already landing Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. And it appears the west London giants are looking to make room for the 20-year-old, who has flourished for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this season.

Chelsea want to sign Havertz, with Frank Lampard believing the Leverkusen star can help the club challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.

And Football London say as many as six players are likely to leave Stamford Bridge as the Blues look to make room for the 20-year-old.

Willian and Pedro are set to spearhead an exodus of players, with the pair’s contracts in the capital expiring at the end of the campaign.

Arsenal are keen on signing Willian for nothing, while Manchester United have also been linked with a shock swoop for the Brazilian.

Roma are closing in on Pedro, determined to make him their marquee attacking signing of the summer.

And Michy Batshuayi, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Emerson Palmieri are also likely to be shown the door as well.

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Batshuayi has been at the club since 2016 but failed to make an impact in west London. Now, with Werner in the door, a parting of the ways is on the cards.

Bakayoko was signed by Antonio Conte in 2017 but he, too, has never proven his worth in the Premier League.

The Frenchman is wanted back at former club Monaco yet he’d prefer a move to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain when the transfer window reopens instead.

Drinkwater’s stock has fallen drastically in recent years and the midfielder, who won the title with Leicester in 2016, is also heading the an exit.

And Palmieri wants a return to Italy, with Juventus leading the race for the Italy international.

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  • Chelsea offered three Juventus players in Jorginho transfer talks

Chelsea are hoping an exodus of players will help them accommodate Havertz, who has been in sensational form for Leverkusen since the turn of the year.

But signing him won’t be easy with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United all linked with the 20-year-old as well.

Meanwhile, ESPN pundit Craig Burley recently called on Chelsea to sign Havertz and believes landing the German would be a statement of intent.

“You can’t have enough good players,” he told ESPN.

“It would be a statement of intent to go out and get one of Europe’s most exciting young talents.

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“It does fit with the narrative that Chelsea and Lampard are going down.

“They are looking to sign younger players with sell-on value but who can also produce the goods now.

“If they get Werner, he can play wide or through the middle. Havertz is flexible as well. They may be a little top-heavy, in terms of their forward line.

“But it would be a statement from [Roman] Abramovich to say, ‘we’ve given you Werner and we also want Havertz, one of the brightest talents in European football’.

“That’s a very exciting sign for Chelsea fans.

“But I doubt they will be in that race alone because Havertz is probably on everybody’s radar.”

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has new undroppable ahead of Norwich City FA Cup tie

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to rotate things for his side’s FA Cup showdown with Norwich City on Saturday night. And that means Nemanja Matic could get a breather. The Serbia international has overcome a sluggish start to the season to now become one of the club’s most-important assets as they fight for Champions League qualification and FA Cup and Europa League glory.

Whisper it quietly, but Matic now be undroppable for United.

The Serbia international was signed by Jose Mourinho from Chelsea in the summer of 2017, touching down at Old Trafford after being deemed surplus to requirements by Antonio Conte.

His United career started excellently, with Matic shining as they beat West Ham 4-0 on the opening day of the season that year.

He helped them finish second in the Premier League table in 2018, as well as playing a key role as they made the final of the FA Cup.

But by December 2019, he appeared destined to be shown the door.

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The Serbia international had fallen down Solskjaer’s pecking order at Old Trafford, even with Paul Pogba injured. Instead it was the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira getting the nod on a regular basis.

Yet Matic has been a player reborn over the last few months. Unlucky to be benched against Tottenham, he stepped up against Sheffield United.

No player made more passes at Old Trafford on Wednesday than the 31-year-old, who dictated the game against Chris Wilder’s side.

Matic managed an impressive 96, with 14 of those going to club talisman Bruno Fernandes.

That was seven more than Luke Shaw, who made 86 passes, and 10 more than centre-back and club captain Harry Maguire. He was central to everything good that came from the display.

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Matic offers United pair Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes defensive protection, too. Without him doing the dirty work in the middle of the park, they wouldn’t have as much license to roam.

Solskjaer was full of praise for the veteran after the game against Sheffield United. He even went as far to say the Serb was playing the best football of his successful career.

“Nemanja is playing some of his best football,” said the United manager.

“He’s had a good pre-season for the first time in many, many years and today he was dictating the game and his experience is vital for us.

“I’m very, very happy that we’re seeing the best of Nemanja and he’ll be important for us and then, of course, it’s down to performances and if Nemanja wants to stay but at the moment he’s in great form.”

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Matic himself was modest afterwards. Rather than talk about his own performance, he instead piled praise on hat-trick hero Anthony Martial.

“I am especially happy for Anthony scoring his first hat trick. It is very important for him to score goals,” he said.

“It is important for every striker for confidence. I am happy that our strikers are in good condition and for me, Anthony was man of the match. He used almost every chance he had to score.

“Let us see in the future what he can do for us but I am happy for him and congratulations to him.”

Matic has become undroppable for United in the biggest matches. And if he keeps this up, he could be primed to stay at Old Trafford for a little while longer. 

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