CHELSEA are preparing for a summer of activity as manager Frank Lampard looks to reshape his Blues' squad.
The Blues have been given renewed hope in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho and are making a last ditch attempt to prevent Timo Werner joining Liverpool, according to reports.
Follow all the latest updates and transfer gossip below…
AJAX CLEAN UP
Chelsea have lost out to Ajax in the race for Brazilian wing sensation Antony.
The Under-23 international attracted interest from top clubs across Europe with his superb displays for hometown club Sao Paulo.
The 20-year-old's advisor has now revealed the Blues tried to sign him, together with another Premier League club and Germans Borussia Dortmund.
Agent Junior Pedroso said: “We spoke with 12 clubs in total.Borussia Dortmund followed him closely, and even sent a scout to Brazil.
“There was also interest in Antony from two big English clubs, with Chelsea one of them.
“But Ajax were the only ones to make an offer. His Sao Paulo contract ends on June 30.
“We're awaiting the green light, but we plan to fly to Holland on July 5 and Ajax will introduce him two days later. Sao Paulo will get bonus payments if he plays 100 Ajax games, tops the Eredivisie scoring charts, or if Ajax win the Champions League or Europa League.”
Gary Neville believes the Premier League is trying to blackmail clubs into playing again – by threatening them with relegation if they refuse.
Top-flight chiefs will meet on Monday to discuss how best to implement Project Restart and complete the season, currently suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.
A number of clubs at the bottom of the table are said to be against plans to play matches at neutral venues. But they have been warned if they do not agree, the season could be scrapped, which could result in them facing the drop.
Outspoken TV pundit and Salford owner Neville said: “You can call them negotiations between the clubs or you can call them blackmail, whichever way you want to put it.
“There is no doubt we’ve got a divided Premier League at this moment in time in respect of what the clubs want and that isn’t healthy going into this situation.
“When you think about the message from day one in this global pandemic, everyone talked about a social approach, being together and be kind.
“But football is not a nice place at the moment, it is full of self-interest.”They are somehow trying to get to an agreed position but it really is getting dirty behind the scenes – that we’ll relegate you if you don’t play.
“What about health? It is unsavoury the way football is perceived at this moment in time by people outside. The clubs at the bottom were always going to get bullied by the rest of the league into playing.”
Spitting, shirt swapping and team celebrations will all reportedly be banned when Premier League football returns from the coronavirus blackout.
The top flight is pushing ahead with plans to resume matches on June 12 in a bid to finish the season and avoid financial meltdown.
But strict sanctions will be in place in a bid to prevent any new Covid-19 cases among players, according to the Telegraph.
Stars will also be prohibited from sharing water bottles under measures to get football back under way.
The new rules could be in place for up to 12 months as football chiefs desperately try to finish the season.
UM A TUNE
Chelsea have been handed a transfer boost with Barcelona said to be struggling to sell Samuel Umtiti abroad and a Premier League move looking likely.
Calcio Mercato claims the Frenchman looks set for a Nou Camp exit this summer but teams such as Juventus and Inter Milan are wary of his injury past.
That means Chelsea have a clear run to bring Umtiti to Stamford Bridge.
And Barcelona are even willing to sell the World Cup winner for just £26m.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has given an update on how his players have been coping with lockdown training.
He told key worker and lifelong Blues supporter Dr Panos Theodoropoulos: “It was really important, firstly, for me and the staff, to make sure everyone was mentally alright with this sudden change which means you can't leave the house.
“Once we got our head around that, we'd try and keep in contact with the players all the time but we've given them daily plans.
“They train in the hour we were given in lockdown and you can be outside, we gave them running plans.
“They run and then we change the plans every week. We don't make them run everyday, sometimes we make them come off it slightly where they can then do some strength work at home.
“The hardest thing for us is when you don't know the return – were so used to building up for a game next week so its hard. How many runs can you give them? So we change it up.”
NO BLUES CRUISE
Frank Lampard says his Chelsea team will need a pre-season and a month of training to get back to full fitness for when the Premier League resumes.
He outlined his plans in a video call that Chelsea set up with key worker and lifelong Blues supporter Dr Panos Theodoropoulos.
Lampard said: “There's some weeks where we've rested them a bit and then we keep working and staying in contact.
“Not only is it a long break but for big parts of that break they've been sitting down on the sofa. They haven't been getting as active as they normally would be.
“We will need to play that one by ear and see what period of time we get, whenever we do go back.
“They're talking about going back in smaller groups, which is how we'll probably start and that will be more about maintaining fitness and then stepping it up. We need some form of a pre-season and proper training for three or four weeks.”
WILL HE STAY OR WILL HE GO
Willian has deniedhaving talks with Tottenham to sign for free next season.
The Brazilian looks almost certain to leave Chelsea at the end of this season as he hunts for a three-year-deal and North London seems a likely destination.
Willian's Chelsea contract expires this summer and the club have only offered him a two-year-deal but the winger wants three.
Earlier this week it was reported Willian had agreed to move to Spurs having discussed the move with his “friend” and old manager Jose Mourinho.
But the 31-year-old has flatly denied that is the case, according to ESPN.
Brazilian journalist Joao Castelo-Branco tweeted: “Willian completely denies rumour that Mourinho has been in touch recently regarding playing for Tottenham. Absolutely no deal even close there. willian thfc cfc.”
ON THE ROB
Chelseaare reportedly monitoring Atalanta left-back Robin Gosens in case they are priced out of a move for Ben Chilwell.
The Foxes are believed to want at least £60million for the England defender, which means Blues boss Frank Lampard could look elsewhere.
And according to 90min.com, attention has switched to 25-year-old German defender Gosens.
He would cost significantly less that Chilwell, at around £26m.
And the bid could be funded by shipping out a couple of current Chelsea players.
Emerson and Marcos Alonso could be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.
FEEL THE WERN
Timo Werner will reject Chelsea and Manchester United in favour of signing for Liverpool, German reports say.
The RB Leipzig striker, who has a release clause of £51million, has his heart set on joining the European champions to work with German manager Jurgen Klopp.
According to Bild, Chelsea and United have contacted Werner’s agent to register their interest in a summer move, but the player is said to have no interest in the pair.
The problem for the 24-year-old is Liverpool do not want to commit to signing him just yet until they find out what effect the coronavirus pandemic will have on their finances and the transfer market.
And The Guardian reports that Anfield bosses have reached out to Werner’s representatives to work out a way to delay a transfer until later in the summer.
But they run the risk of his modest £51million release clause expiring in June, then allowing Leipzig to crank up the asking price for their star striker.
Chelsea are set to battle Arsenal for Orkun Kokcu this summer, according to reports.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has been keeping a close eye on the £23million Feyenoord midfielder for several months.
Emirates chiefs have already made contact with the 19-year-old's representatives following his impressive spell of form.
But Voetbal International journalist Martijn Krabbendam has revealed the Gunners are not the only interested club.
But Chelsea are also keen as Frank Lampard looks to bolster his midfield during the summer transfer window.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Billy Gilmour has revealed he is learning sign language after a chance encounter with a lady in a supermarket.
The 18-year-old Blues midfielder is back in Scotland with his family during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video on the club's YouTube page, Gilmour explained how he has coped with being in lockdown and aside from picking up some new skills in the kitchen, he said he has used the time to learn a new skill entirely.
Gilmour said: “Me, my mum and my little brother have put ourselves up for a sign language course.
“When I was younger – it has always stuck in my mind – I went to Asda and there was this woman… I went up to ask her for something and she never responded. She did sign language.
“I went up to my mum and she told me, 'tell her your name, say hello' because I had done that in school. I said that to her and she had a massive smile and that made me feel like I've made her day.
“So that's something that I want to do and try and get better at. My mum signed me up and we've been two hours a night and it's been good.”
BAK TO ITALY?
Tiemoue Bakayoko reportedly has his heart set on a return to AC Milan at the end of the season.
The Blues are believed to be desperate to flog the French midfielder who they signed for £40million from Monaco in 2017.
Bakayoko – who is currently back at Monano on a season-long loan – won the FA Cup with Chelsea in his debut season in England where he featured in 43 games in all competitions.
But he was guilty of inconsistent performances with Maurizio Sarri shipping him off to Milan on loan last campaign after deeming him as surplus to requirements.
Milan ultimately failed to turn his stay into a permanent deal, leading the player to once again be shipped off, with the 25-year-old back at Monaco and failing to impress.
According to Calciomercato, Bakayoko dreams of returning to the San Siro where they state he has maintained a strong bond with his ex-team-mates as well as the club's fan base.
JUVE GOT A DEAL
Chelsea are reportedly in talks with Juventus over a £35m Jorginho transfer with Sarri keen to link-up with the midfielder for a third time.
The former Blues boss is a long standing admirer of the midfielder, who used to play under the Italian at Napoli before following him to Stamford Bridge in 2018.
According to The National, Juve are in the midst of hashing out a deal with the Chelsea ace's entourage.
The midfield maestro was brought to West London or £57.4million, but Sarri jumped ship at the end of his first season at Stamford Bridge, replacing Massimiliano Allegri as boss of the Old Lady.
Jorginho has been revitalised under new boss Frank Lampard and, before the top flight was KO'd by coronavirus, he had clocked up 37 appearances in all competitions, scoring seven goals and registering two assists.
The Italian's agent insisted last month that his client was “very happy”at Stamford Bridge and was set to open talks on a new deal.
Jadon Sancho has dropped a big hint that he is ready to return to the Premier League.
Speaking to Micah Richards and Reiss Nelson on a video for England's official YouTube channel, Borussia Dortmund star Sancho spoke of how much he was missing his people back home.
“Another challenge,” he said. “This one has been the biggest one yet. Living abroad is a whole different game, away from everyone, family, friends. The sacrifice is deep.
“But, for me at the time, I just felt I was ready to challenge myself and challenge for a place in the first-team and I felt Dortmund was the right place to go at the time.
“Obviously I know their history, they’re bringing through young players and I thought I had a real chance there so I took the opportunity and now, three years later, I’m doing well.”
BRAWL OUT WARFARE
Cesc Fabregas has reminisced about a 22-man brawl between Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Spaniard was in Gunners colors for the 2007 League Cup which was won by the Blues thanks to Didier Drogba’s late goal – sparking a mass brawl.
“I shouldn’t be saying this but moments like this sometimes makes football even more special,” Fabregas said on Twitter.
“Proper passion for wanting to win even if it’s not always possible.”
GOOD MORNING CHELSEA FANS
Chelsea have been handed a transfer boost as Jadon Sancho reportedly prefers a move “back home to London” – putting a £100million Manchester United deal in doubt.
The Red Devils are still favourites to land the winger but are determined not to break the bank for the England starlet’s signature.
The Blues' fight to land the 20-year-old is boosted by the fact he grew up in Kennington, London and was a boyhood fan of the West London club.
Italian sports journalist Gabriele Marcotti, revealed that a source close to him claimed that Sancho would favour a move back to his roots in the English capital.
He told BTP Media Network: “I've been told Sancho would prefer a move back home in other words to London where he grew up.”
Exclusive by Martin Lipton: The FA has the power to BLOCK any Premier League plans to axe relegation from the top flight.
Some clubs have warned that they will only back Project Restart proposals if the threat of dropping into the Championship is taken off the table.
But SunSport can reveal FA chairman Greg Clarke and the Wembley board have the right to demand promotion and relegation takes place — even if ALL 20 Prem clubs vote against it.
The ability of the FA to interfere goes back to the original Premier League breakaway from the Football League.
The resulting Founder Members Agreement, signed on July 17, 1991, gave the “Special Shareholder” — the FA — specific powers.
Under the terms of the document, which remains in place today, rule variations can “be effective only with the consent in writing of the Special Shareholder and without such consent shall not be done or caused to be done”.
Exclusive by Duncan Wright: Nine Premier League clubs are ready to let stars duck out of Project Restart over concerns they will infect vulnerable loved ones.
The top flight is pushing ahead with plans to resume matches on June 12 in a bid to finish the season and avoid financial meltdown.
But SunSport has discovered almost half of the 20 Prem sides now accept it is impossible to force stars back into action if they fear falling ill or infecting their family with Covid-19.
The growing list includes teams fighting it out at both ends of the table — as club bosses finally start listening to players, who are scared about being rushed into scenarios they feel are unsafe.
One source said: “If someone has a partner who’s pregnant, or close family who has cancer, how can we force them to play in those circumstances?”
Football fans can watch Friday's K League opener live for free in English – as South Korea does its bit for sporting morale around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors face two-time Asian club champs Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium from 7pm, streaming on YouTube and Twitter.
K-League chiefs say they want to “reach out” around the globe while most other countries are still in lockdown – promising online commentary remotely from Australia and “real time” English graphics.
CAN'T GO RON
Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour has revealed that his idol growing up was Cristiano Ronaldo.
He said on Chelsea’s Footballing Firsts Q&A session: ““I watched him a lot when he was playing for Manchester United.”
When asked to pick a player he would sign for the Blues, Gilmour added: “Andres Iniesta. He’d probably take my place in the team, but I don’t mind!”
ODOI DONE GOOD
Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour claimed Callum Hudson-Odoi was the first Chelsea teammate who impressed him at Stamford Bridge
He said on Chelsea’s Footballing Firsts Q&A session: “It was probably Callum Hudson-Odoi.
“I remember we were playing a Youth Cup game at Fulham and Jody Morris was giving him a hard time at half-time, and he came out in the second half and scored two goals.”
The Premier League are reportedly set to ban shirt-swapping and team celebrations.
The Telegraph claim that new safety measures will be brought in when football restarts.
The proposals will also see players banned from sharing water bottles and could be in place for as long as a year.
Exclusive by Daniel Cutts: Manchester United have made a last-ditch £30,000-a-week offer to Angel Gomes to sign a new deal before he quits for free this summer.
The 19-year-old is out-of-contract on July 1 and a number of Premier League clubs – including Chelsea – are eyeing a swift move.
United are desperate to stop that happening, and have put forward hefty terms to stop one of their prize young assets from quitting.
It is understood the fresh terms are around £30,000-a-week PLUS additional bonuses for appearances, goals and trophies won.
Chelsea have reportedly contacted Timo Werner after Liverpool's negotiations with RB Leipzig continue to drag on.
Bild (via Sport Witness) claim the Blues have already spoken to one of the striker's representatives over a potential transfer.
NOT SO FAB
Cesc Fabregas has dished the dirt on the fight between his then-Arsenal side and Chelsea in the 2007 League Cup final.
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