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Barcelona ready to target Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku for summer transfer

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Barcelona ready to pounce on Romelu Lukaku as Blues striker set for summer departure

A triumphant return to west London looks set to be short-lived when it comes to Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku as the Blues frontman appears to be primed for a guaranteed exit from Stamford Bridge this summer.

Chelsea shelled out just shy of £100-million to bring the Antwerp-native back to the Premier League outfit after he never got a real chance at the club before going on to prove himself at West Brom, Everton, and Inter Milan despite a hot and cold two years with Manchester United.

But for the price that the Blues paid to bank on his goalscoring expertise to help the club push for Premier League honors this season, both parties have accepted that a partnership will be short-lived, and La Liga giants Barcelona could turn to Lukaku to hopefully solve their own issues at center-forward starting in the summer.

According to reports in Marca (cited by Football365), Lukaku has ‘entered the equation’ for Barcelona as the Catalan outfit is prepared to source a third option for recruitment after their top two summer targets look to be out of reach.

Previously interested in Bundesliga goal machines Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski, Barça suffered a blow in both pursuits as Haaland is all but guaranteed to wind up at the Etihad this summer and join forces with Pep Guardiola and company, while any deal for Lewandowski that could potentially be struck being viewed as ‘more complicated’ even though the Polish star was linked with being potentially interested in the destination.

Barcelona ready to pounce on Romelu Lukaku as Blues striker set for summer departure

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Head Coach Thomas Tuchel has words with Romelu Lukaku during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

 

The fact that Lukaku is prepared to depart Chelsea makes his potential acquisition that much easier for Barcelona, though the Belgian star is said to be attracting interest from a few clubs around Europe.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, an exit by Lukaku could pile the pressure on boss Thomas Tuchel who is already set to lose Antonio Rüdiger to Real Madrid, and possibly Andreas Christensen (also to Barcelona) would be another gap to fill for the club, who also may have to fend off interest – again from Madrid – in star right-back and England international Reece James.

The Cobham academy product has been a leading light for Chelsea this season and put in another outstanding performance against Manchester United in midweek. Should James draw the attention of arguably the biggest club on the planet, the loss of Romelu Lukaku in the summer may just be a drop in the bucket.


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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

 

Premier League-chasing Manchester City have, on Thursday, been afforded an altogether timely double boost on the personnel front.

Pep Guardiola’s troops are of course primed to return to action in 72 hours’ time.

In the knowledge that a three-point haul will see them assured of back-to-back titles in the English top-flight, the Sky Blues are set to welcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to the Etihad, for a final day clash.

And, after stuttering to a 2-2 stalemate with West Ham last time out, City, this time round, will likely be considerably more confident in keeping their upcoming opponents at bay.

This comes owing to a pair of timely returns to fitness in the club’s first-team ranks.

As confirmed in a post across the Citizens’ social media platforms on Thursday, John Stones and Kyle Walker, both of whom were forced to sit out at the London Stadium owing to injury, have returned to training alongside the rest of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The two defenders, in turn, are expected to be available for selection this coming Sunday.

Wolves test

Turning attentions towards the other protagonist in the Premier League’s title race, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderer to Anfield this weekend, primed to take advantage of any potential slip-up on Man City’s part.

The Reds, amid an ongoing pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, currently sit just a point adrift of the table-topping Sky Blues.

This comes after Klopp and co, despite a whole raft of changes, emerged from a meeting with Southampton with a hard-fought 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

 

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

 

Word stemming from the Spanish media over the course of the last 24 hours points towards Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski inching ever closer to a move to Barcelona.

Speculation surrounding the future of Polish international Lewandowski has of course been rampant in the media for some time now.

This comes with the 33-year-old, fresh off another scintillating campaign in front of goal, eyeing a move away from Bavaria ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Speaking ahead of the club’s final Bundesliga outing of the season last weekend, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed as much, albeit whilst adding that Lewandowski is expected to see out the remaining year on his current contract:

To this point, the outfit most frequently tipped as a summer landing spot for Bayern’s star man have of course been Barcelona.

This comes with Xavi and co. understood to be highly appreciative of Lewandowski’s goalscoring talents, and evidently of the opinion that heading into the new season with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s first-choice centre-forward is out of the question.

And, as alluded to above, if the latest rumours emanating from Spain are anything to go by, then the Blaugrana appear primed to imminently land their man.

As per transfer journalist Gerard Romero, Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski’s representative, was in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Not only that, but, during his trip, the super agent paid a visit to the club’s official store, to allegedly purchase no fewer than ten Barca jerseys, all with Lewandowski’s name emblazoned across the back.

Blues keen

Interestingly, word of Barcelona’s swoop for ‘Lewa’ inching ever closer comes fresh on the back of the 33-year-old being linked with a move to another of European football’s heavyweights just days ago.

The outfit in question? Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

 

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Jordan Ayew escapes punishment in reckless challenge against Everton

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Why Jordan Ayew was not sent off for ‘reckless’ challenge vs Everton

Iconic Premier League club Everton are in a fight for their lives in the top flight of English football coming into the final weekend of action in the 2021-22 season, and at the time of writing are hosting Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Goodison Park with anything less than a win set to subject the Toffees to a final day of action on Sunday that could consign them to relegation.

But Everton fans will undoubtedly feel aggrieved after Eagles forward Jordan Ayew escaped serious punishment after a reckless challenge on academy graduate Anthony Gordon right next to both dugouts during the first half of play.

Ayew was seen to hack down Gordon with a scissor motion while contesting possession and made no attempt to win the ball, with players on both sides losing their cool in the resulting scrum.

It could not have come at a worse time for Everton given the gravity of the evening, and though the Toffees have fought back to lead 3-2 at the time of writing after Jean-Philippe Mateta and the aforementioned Ayew gave the Eagles a two-goal lead ahead of Michael Keane, Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin bringing matters into Everton’s hands, the fact that the Premier League came out in response to state that the tackle was “reckless” but not worthy of a red card once against calls into question the FA and the inconsistent refereeing standards in the league.

If Ayew was correctly sent off given the video and picture evidence on hand, matters could well be different regardless of the fact that Everton have done incredibly well to fight back when it has mattered most.

With both teams now in stoppage time, it’s clear that the Toffees found fuel through injustice with their Premier League lives at stake.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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