Rumour Has It: Lukaku arrives in London to finalise €115m Chelsea move, Dzeko set for Inter

By Sports Desk August 12, 2021

Chelsea have been in the market for a new striker and are closing in on their man.

The European champions had been linked with Borussia Dortmund's prolific Norway international Erling Haaland.

But have turned their attention to Inter striker Romelu Lukaku, with two bids reportedly rejected last week.

 

TOP STORY - LUKAKU TO COMPLETE CHELSEA MOVE

Lukaku will finalise his £97.5m (€115m) move from Inter to Chelsea after linking up with the Blues, reports Sky Sports.

The report claims the Belgium international flew into London on Wednesday evening, after a stop in Monte Carlo.

Lukaku had already undergone the first part of his medical and agreed in principle to the deal, with the paperwork being sorted with lawyers before he inks the five-year deal worth £200,000 (€236,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- As the dominoes fall, Edin Dzeko is set to join Inter from Roma with a contract agreed until June 2023 according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Sky Sports reports that Real Madrid are monitoring Chelsea's Germany defender Antonio Rudiger . Madrid lost centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane this off-season.

- Roma head coach Jose Mourinho will speak with Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham on Thursday to try to convince him to join the Eternal City club. According to The Mirror. Chelsea and Roma have agreed terms on a £34m (€40m) deal.

- Sky in Italy claims Inter have tabled a €12m bid for PSV Eindhoven right-back Denzel Dumfries, although the Dutch club reportedly want €14m for the Netherlands international.

- Inter are also interested in Napoli skipper Lorenzo Insigne, according to Sky in Italy. The Serie A champions are trying to see if they can sign the Italy international, whose contract expires next year, for €25m.

- Arsenal are in advanced talks with Sheffield United to sign goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, according to Football London.

- Sunsport reports Manchester United are finally expected to unveil Varane as a new signing from Real Madrid on Thursday.

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    Karim Benzema deserves to become the first French winner of the Ballon d'Or since Zinedine Zidane – and that verdict comes from Zidane himself.

    Real Madrid striker Benzema, who has taken over the captaincy since Sergio Ramos joined Paris Saint-Germain, is playing the best football of his career as he approaches his 34th birthday in December.

    Zidane has seen that as close quarters, having had two spells as Madrid head coach during Benzema's time at the club.

    Although Zidane left Los Blancos at the end of last season, he is firmly in the Benzema camp when it comes to selecting a Ballon d'Or front-runner.

    Speaking to TF1's Telefoot, Zidane said: "We're talking about a player who deserves to win this Ballon d'Or.

    "He's an incredible player, I had the great honour of coaching him. He knows how to do everything on the pitch. I hope he can be rewarded with this Ballon d'Or. It's the right moment because he's at the top of his game."

    France international Benzema has been Madrid's attacking spearhead since Cristiano Ronaldo departed for Juventus in 2018 and has risen to that challenge.

    He has topped the 20-goal mark in LaLiga in the last three seasons and has nine strikes in eight games so far this term in the Spanish top flight.

    Last season, Benzema's 23 league goals came at an average of one every 126.13 minutes. They also came from an expected goals total of 18.81, indicating he is excelling in taking the chances that come his way.

    His LaLiga shot conversion rate so far in 2021-22 is 26.47 per cent, higher than he has achieved across any full league campaign since arriving in 2009 from Lyon.

    With three LaLiga titles and four Champions League wins in 12 years, Benzema has accrued plenty of silverware while with Los Blancos, much of it during Zidane's time in charge. He also helped France win the Nations League last weekend, scoring a stunning goal against Spain in the final.

    Now, individual acclaim may be coming his way, although Benzema faces stiff competition, with six-time winner Lionel Messi rated a favourite for the Ballon d'Or with British bookmakers, having helped Argentina win the Copa America.

    Benzema recently said it had been a long-held "dream of mine" to win the coveted award.

    Robert Lewandowski's record-breaking 41-goal Bundesliga season last term also puts him firmly into contention, while Jorginho has a strong claim after winning the Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy.

    The Ballon d'Or winner will be announced on November 29 at a ceremony in Paris.

  • Mourinho rules out Newcastle move but reveals 'emotional connection' Mourinho rules out Newcastle move but reveals 'emotional connection'

    Jose Mourinho has scotched suggestions he could become the next Newcastle United manager but acknowledged "an emotional connection" to the city.

    Ahead of his Roma team facing Juventus in Serie A on Sunday, the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss stressed he was not thinking about a Premier League return.

    After the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund takeover at St James' Park, the expectation is that the club will see dramatic changes in personnel, with big-name players and staff arriving.

    Steve Bruce remains head coach for now, but speculation surrounds his position, amid suggestions the new owners will want a higher-profile boss.

    Mourinho would fit that bill, and has a track record of success in domestic and European football.

    But when asked about the prospect of a switch to Newcastle, Mourinho frowned on the possibility and said he was committed to Roma, who are owned by American billionaire Dan Friedkin.

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    United conceded four times in a Premier League match for the first time since April 2019 as their English record of 29 successive away league games unbeaten came to an end at the King Power Stadium.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have collected only one point from the last nine on offer and are fifth in the table after eight matches, five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City up next.

    Matic played 80 minutes of the defeat to Leicester and remains confident United can still challenge for the title, but the former Serbia international accepts a vast improvement is needed heading into a tough run of games.

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    "We will do our best to make them happy in the future. But we have 14 points – we are still in the title race. We don't want to give up until the end."

    United have now lost three successive games against Leicester in all competitions for the first time since November 1901, having also been defeated 2-1 in their most recent league meeting prior to Saturday and 3-1 in last term's FA Cup quarter-final.

    In a thrilling encounter at the King Power Stadium, Youri Tielemans and Caglar Soyuncu put Leicester ahead after Mason Greenwood had opened the scoring with a spectacular opener.

    Marcus Rashford equalised for United on his first appearance since the Euro 2020 final, but Jamie Vardy restored City's lead just 54 seconds later and Patson Daka bundled in a fourth in stoppage time to seal the points.

    In doing so, Daka became the first Zambian player to score in the Premier League, making it 105 different nationalities to have now netted in the competition.

    Matic, who has appeared eight times for United in all competitions this season, had no complaints about the scoreline and called for unity.

    The defeat and recent form means pressure is inevitably building on boss Solskjaer.

    "They created a lot of chances. So we have to be honest; we have to say that they deserved to win," Matic said. "One minute after scoring [to make it 2-2] we conceded the third goal. Of course, the frustration was there.

    "But sometimes you have to say when the opponent was better, and to see where we can improve, what we have to do better. I'm sure our team is much better than this."

    Matic, who has emerged as a rumoured transfer target for Barcelona, added: "Everyone is sad, everyone is with their head down at the moment. But when you play for Man United, if you don't win the game of course you are disappointed, but we have to stick together."

    Atalanta in the Champions League is the next test for United. Ahead of that game on Wednesday, Matic said: "It's also going to be hard. We are very disappointed, but I think that, in the future, we will show we are much better than this.

    "Every next game is the most important; every next game is a new challenge, an opportunity to show your qualities. We're going to take responsibility; we're going to step up and see what we can do. I'm sure that we can do a lot."

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