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Antonio Rudiger replacements Chelsea could eye!

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After much-waited speculations, the curtain over Antonio Rudiger’s future has been finally unveiled but to the disappointment of Chelsea fans, the German will be leaving Stamford Bridge despite being a key member of Tuchel’s squad. The uncertainty with Chelsea’s ownership has forced the German to leave the club this summer as his contract run-outs. Rudiger has been one of the pillars of this Champions League winning squad but now the Chelsea board will have to go in for replacing the center-back with an able replacement who can fill in the large-sized boots of the German.

With Christensen leaving too, Chelsea looks very thin in the center-back position and will be looking for at least two quality center-backs. With Kounde being Chelsea’s priority as the left-sided CB is also a must now. The left center-back position is a very important position in Tuchel’s system as not only does the player has to be creative but also has the freedom to run up and down and even go for long-range shots. The defender has to be quick and more importantly must have the game awareness to decide his position. Here we look at some replacements which Tuchel might put on a scout for!

Matthijs De Ligt- Revival of the Future Star?

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The Dutch center-back was definitely the most talked youngster when he made the switch from Ajax but his Juventus spell has not been delivering the same bragging rights. Still 22, De Ligt still has a lot of time to steady the graph and a good opportunity is by leaving the Italian outfit. There have been rumours of Juventus looking on to cash on the defender and maybe Chelsea owners might be the ones to aid the team. De Ligt is any manager’s delight as the player has that on-pitch concentration and has all the physical abilities to win a duel. He even can do all the dirty work if needed and be a constant annoyance in the opposition’s head. He is a perfect example of ‘using the inside and the outside of the head’ perfectly.

The only problem can be him being right-footed and a left-footed player having an advantage playing on the left, but we just can not forget the man he would be replacing. Rudiger himself is right-footed but had the ability, as De Ligt promises, to be defensively aware and be present at the right positions. His move at Stamford Bridge could be the big move he has been looking for and finally prove his potential. Under the leadership of Thiago Silva, De Ligt could very well hope to replicate the career of the Brazilian and maybe better him with golden years ahead of him. Also with Thiago Silva ageing, De Ligt could eventually move to his preferred central position with other youngsters holding up the left side. Also, if Tuchel decides to shift to a back 4 in future, he could be secured by the presence of the Dutch sensation.

Pau Torres – The Perfect Piece of the Puzzle?

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While everyone is in love with the dream run of Villareal, the praises for Pau Torres just cannot seem to go downhill. The Spaniard has been on the watchlist of many scouts and has been in the headline for every European giant. After missing out on a move last summer window, it looks certain that Villareal might be looking to cash on the Spaniard in order to strengthen themselves up. The left-footed player in the left-centre back position is ideal and many believe Torres is indeed the best available left-footed center-back right now. To replace Rudiger, Chelsea do need a man who can slot in from the first match and match the German’s quality. Pau Torres has been well appreciated for passing and Tuchel just loves his center-backs to have the ability to play with the ball at their feet. The big match mentality has already been proven by Torres as Villareal’s dream run has been very much influenced by the Spaniard’s presence at the back.

Torres has been linked to many teams over the last two seasons with many teams coming close but not able to materialize things. With many teams in England interested, it will be a tough nut to crack for Chelsea, but the new owner wind might help Chelsea to be the winners, with Tuchel really wanting the man. Just being 25, Pau will be entering his prime years and for Chelsea, this might be the perfect time to cash on the next biggest name amongst the defenders.

Wesley Fofana – The Ideal Man?

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A Premier League proven center-back with high potential who has performed at big levels is just an ideal situation right now and Chelsea might actually have their hands on the same if they can rope in Wesley Fofana from Leicester. The 21-year-old has been able to make an instant impact in the Premier League for Leicester as since his arrival he has been praised as one of the best in the league. He helped Leicester win their FA Cup title in the previous season, only to be disappointed due to a pre-season injury which kept him out for a major part of this season. Talking about his game style, analysts define him as a complete package. He can regulate the ball well, has great positional awareness and is one of the best when it comes to defensive decision making. Also, he is a threat in the air both defensively and offensively, one trait that Tuchel loves in the box in terms of Rudiger. While Chelsea fans have enjoyed Rudiger dribbling past midfield lines, they might not miss much with Fofana incoming as the French would also love the freedom to move up the pitch.

But the main question raised is the availability of the player as Fofana has very recently committed a long-term contract to Leicester. This would make it very difficult for Chelsea to make a move this summer, but with the right price, Leicester might actually sell the defender. A French player moving from Leicester to Chelsea, in form of Kante, just gives goosebumps to Chelsea fans and they would just love something similar yet again!

Levi Colwill – Solution at Home?

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With so much uncertainty with the owners, Chelsea really does not know what to expect from their owners. Thus, they would need some security at home to make their lives easier come the next season. They do have a gem in their hands in form of Levi Colwill, who is a left-footed center-back rising well at Cobham. Rising from the academy, the youngster has been dubbed as Cobham’s one of the best products in some time. The English youngster is on loan to Huddersfield Town in the Championship and has been one of the best defenders in the league despite just being 19. While many are in awe of his sheer strength, many fans just love his through passes from the back to create chances for his team. Tuchel indeed loves his defenders to contribute in attack and he would love Colwill’s ability to find his runners behind the lines. Praising him highly, people around him appreciate his quality to stay calm under pressure even at this young age.

Tipped to be a big player at Chelsea, Colwill might certainly be a part of Chelsea’s first team next season but will definitely not be guaranteed many minutes. But, like Chalobah, if the youngster his able to impress Tuchel in pre-season training, he might find himself in the Chelsea line-up more than often as Tuchel does not fear giving his youngsters a shot. Chelsea do need to tie up the defender as he has been under the radar of many big English teams and Chelsea definitely does not want it to be a situation similar to Guehi or Livramento.












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Premier LEague

Sao Paulo President – Marquinhos “didn’t want to stay”

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There’s been a lot of coverage recently regarding the Brazilian media’s enthusiasm for Marquinhos’ transfer from Sao Paulo to Arsenal. Following numerous rumours stating that the Gunners’ proposal had been accepted, journalist Jorge Nicola revealed yesterday quoting a source who said the move is taking place.

Sao Paulo president Julio Casares was interviewed by Sportv on Wednesday evening. He was queried about sales, and Marquinhos’ departure was also highlighted. The official revealed that the winger is leaving the club owing to a contract dispute, but he did not specify where he will go.

“He didn’t want to stay, we tried everything. Even before the game against Racing, where he blew up, he didn’t want to stay. It was a contractual issue, that he had this condition,” Casares told Sportv.

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According to Globo Esporte, Marquinhos will join Arsenal for about €3.5 million. They point out that because of this, Paulo had to ‘accelerate’ his sale. This is because FIFA will not recognize the five-year contract he signed when he was underage. He is due to become a free agent this summer because he could only agree to a three-year contract, so the club decided to accept the Gunners’ offer rather than lose him for nothing.

This will be Arsenal’s second recent acquisition from the Brazilian market with winger Gabriel Martinelli also signed from the South American country. Mikel Arteta is building his side into a team with a blend of experience and youth. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard have all flourished under the Spaniard and expectations will be very high for Marquinhos who is rated very highly among the club hierarchy.

Marquinhos is said to be in London already and have undergone his medical with a possibility of announcement down the week as Premier League comes to its conclusion.

Although this one looks like a bit different kind of an acquisition; Arsenal are trying to take advantage of a poorly negotiated contract by Sao Paulo here and Marquinhos’ imminent arrival is likely to get him involved at either Hale End or possibly send him out on loan to get much-needed experience in his legs. Edu, alongside Per Mertesacker, have keenly invested in Arsenal’s academy in the last couple of years and it looks like despite Mikel and his plans of acquisitions – the Gunners will continue to boost the pasture Hale End has always been to London Colney.












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Barcelona offer Raphinha 200% of current wages

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According to GOAL, Leeds United star Raphinha has agreed on personal terms with Barcelona ahead of a possible summer move to the Nou Camp. As Goal initially reported on Tuesday, it is known that the Brazilian will have his salary doubled if he joins the Spanish giants on a contract until 2027.

According to OUL Sports, Barcelona has made an opening bid of £55 million for the Brazilian sensation. Raphinha’s current deal expires in the summer of 2024, and the player is willing to leave Elland Road. If Jesse Marsch’s team are to keep the Brazilian’s services, they must fight for Premier League survival. Raphinha’s final game for Leeds is against Brentford on Sunday [22 May] and he will be more determined than anyone to keep the club in the Premier League.

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Raphinha clearly cares for Leeds United, as evidenced by his response to Luke Ayling’s red card and an emotional moment following the Whites’ final home game of the season against Brighton. He certainly has the talent to play Champions League football, but he is of an age where he must develop for the sake of his career. Unfortunately for him, he will not be able to accomplish his ambitions at Elland Road.

A move to the Catalan outfit will provide the winger with the platform he needs to develop into one of Europe’s top wingers. The Spanish giants are playing a waiting game to sign the winger, which is understandable given their current FFP troubles.

Xavi is reportedly keen on signing the Brazilian as the former Blaugrana player looks to rebuild his squad in the summer to challenge arch-rivals Real Madrid for next season’s La Liga trophy.



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Crystal Palace vs Man United: Match Preview

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Crystal Palace are going into the last day of the season with nothing to play for but a higher midtable place, so this match doesn’t really mean much to them apart from it being their last match and wanting to go out with a win to finish their season well for the fans. However, for Manchester United, this could be the difference between a failure and an absolute catastrophe. They are currently in 6th (Europa League spot) and are only 2 points above West Ham, so if they lose and West Ham wins, then they could be dropped into the Conference League, the third tier of European competition.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Selhurst Park.
Date: Sunday, 22nd May 2022.
Time: 16:00 (BST).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant referee: Constantine Hatzidakis, Richard West.
Fourth official: Josh Smith
VAR: Peter Banke
Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall.

TEAM NEWS

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Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick said this when asked about availability, “We, once again unfortunately, have quite a few players missing and another couple of players with question marks.” The likes of Sancho, Shaw and Rashford are likely people with those question marks, but even if they aren’t all of them can start from the get-go.

In an interview with Football London, Patrick Viera said this about star winger Micheal Olise, “Michael was injured. He had a step back and he’s not going to play again this season.” This means that he’s not going to be playing against United, but that is their only injury, so they’ll be faring better than United, injury-wise anyway.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Ralf Ragnick’s side hasn’t had the best season, so they’ll be looking to end it stably with a Europa League finish. It’s not exactly what the fans would have been dreaming of when they signed the likes of Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, it’s not the top 4 and it’s definitely not the league title or Champions League title, but the Europa League isn’t the worst situation in the world for United, even though saying that is a controversial opinion. They’ll need to win this match, as it could decide the future of Manchester United.

Crystal Palace may have nothing to play for, but the difference between 14th and 10th could be looked back upon differently by fans in a few years’ time, and money-wise, it would definitely help the club. Viera’s side have built strongly this season, but the question in the summer will be if they can keep their foundations. A home win against Manchester United would be brilliant for the fans after losing at Everton would be a lovely way to finish the season.

KEY PLAYERS

CONOR GALLAGHER

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Gallagher was benched against Everton, and after their collapse against the Toffees, Viera will probably put him back into the heart of the team. Gallagher had a spell of brilliance, but it seems that he isn’t that same undroppable player he once was at Selhurst Park. And with his future in doubt, he’ll want to play well going into the summer window, and also have the option to stay with the Eagles long term.

Conor Gallagher will also be able to exploit the likes of Dalot and Lindelöf by goading them out of position due to them tracking the wingers and that will help him to get the ball through to the likes of Eze and Mateta or to take it on himself by exploiting the spaces in and around them.

DIOGO DALOT

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Dalot has been a solid right-back for Manchester United and has been able to give Wan-Bissaka some serious competition in that position. With reports coming out of incoming manager Eric Ten Hag’s preference for the Portuguese international of his counterpart, it makes sense that Rangnick starts to prepare Dalot for regular first-team football next season.

The 23-year-old did well on his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal last month, and he’ll hope to have a similar impact against a team with similar attacking principles as the Gunners. With 8 ball recoveries and brilliant holding of possession against the North Londoners, he’s been yet to have the same impact on a game but will hope to this time around.

PREDICTED XI

Crystal Palace predicted XI vs Man United: Butland; Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, Clyne; Gallagher, Milivojević, Eze; Zaha, Mateta, Ayew.

Man United predicted XI vs Crystal Palace: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo.

READ MORE

Manchester United and the Paul Pogba conundrum
Profiling Manchester United target Gonçalo Inácio: What could he bring to Old Trafford?
A potential return on the cards for Aaron Wan-Bissaka?












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