Rumor Mill – Michmutters

Premier League, Chelsea transfers, rumor mill, transfer flops, Fernando Torres, Timo Werner, number nine jersey curse, Romelu Lukaku

Heavy spenders Chelsea have already been busy during the transfer window, and are almost certainly not finished despite spending €186.59m ($A270m) so far.

According to reports, the club are reportedly prepared to sign both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, ​​as well as Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Chelsea have already signed Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Gabriel Slonina, Carney Chukwuemeka and Marc Cucurella in their squad overhaul.

World-class striker Aubameyang, a former club captain of London rivals Arsenal, would represent the latest in a long line of superstar strikers to have joined Stamford Bridge – although many have struggled to make their mark.

Indeed, Chelsea’s number nine jersey has been worn by so many flops in recent years that coach Thomas Tuchel revealed that no-one will wear the number this season.

“It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed … nobody wants to touch the No 9,” he said.

But it’s not just the number nine jersey that has been a curse at Chelsea. Dating back to the end of the last century, many of Chelsea’s big-name attacking signings have failed to make their mark.

Here are some of the great Blues flops of the modern era.

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Transfer fee: £10m ($17m AUD) from Blackburn in 1999

Playing record: One goal in 28 Premier League games

Chelsea reached deep into their pockets to lure Sutton to Stamford Bridge from relegation stricken Blackburn, for what was then a club record fee.

The striker had signed from the Rovers, where he starred alongside Premier League icon Alan Shearer, after they placed second-last in the 1998-99 season.

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But the former England international had a forgettable debut campaign with the Blues, scoring just one goal from his 28 Premier League appearances.

Sutton’s sole contribution on the scoresheet came in a 5-0 thrashing of English giants Manchester United, which was a highlight in an otherwise quiet tenure in London.

His season went from bad to worse when he failed to make Chelsea’s bench for the 2000 FA Cup Final against Aston Villa, which the Blues won 1-0.

Sutton was a one season flop at Chelsea, though, after securing a transfer to Scottish giants Celtic.


Transfer fees: €22.5m ($32m AUD) from Parma in 2003

Playing record: 10 goals from 38 games

Mutu began his Chelsea career in fine form, scoring four goals from his first three appearances for the giants of English football.

Playing in front of new fans for the first time, the Romanian scored the winning goal on his club debut against Leicester City.

But drama ensued as his relationship with Jose Mourinho reportedly reached its boiling point, with Mutu facing backlash from his manager after he claimed to be injured.

Chelsea later fired the striker after he tested positive for cocaine use in 2004, and was suspended for seven months.

Although he was not at the London club anymore, Mutu failed another anti-doping test in January of 2010, as reported by the Guardian.

Mutu, who also wore the number seven jersey at Chelsea, was handed a nine-month ban for that incident.

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Transfer fees: €43.9m ($63m AUD) from Milan in 2006

Playing record: Nine goals from 48 Premier League games

Chelsea splashed the cash once again to sign Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko, who became the biggest signing in English football at the time.

Shevchenko, who was 30-year-old when he moved to London from Milan, was handed the number seven jersey under decorated coach Jose Mourinho.

But he failed to live up to the hype, scoring just 14 goals from 51 games during his first season with the famous London club.

Andriy Shevchenko had a forgettable spell with Chelsea.
Andriy Shevchenko had a forgettable spell with Chelsea.Source: AP

Shevchenko was loaned out to AC Milan, the club he’d signed from, during the 2008/09 season after failing to hit his stride at Stamford Bridge.

As reported by The Guardian, manager Carlo Ancelotti believed that Shevchenko was the fourth best striker at the club, just three years after he secured his record transfer.

Shevchenko was left out of Chelsea’s squad for the 2009/10 Champions League, and later returned to Dynamo Kyiv.


Transfer fees: £50m ($85m AUD) from Liverpool in 2011

Playing record: 20 goals in 110 Premier League games for Chelsea

Fernando Torres rose to footballing stardom during a successful stint at Liverpool, where he truly embodied the phrase ‘human highlight reel’.

Torres had already made his name in Spain, after being handed the Atletico Madrid captaincy at just 19 years of age.

The Spaniard left Madrid for Liverpool, although he’d return to the club at the back end of his career, and quickly proved himself to be one of the most exciting players in England.

Fernando Torres struggled to find some form after completing his move to Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

But drama struck early in 2011, as Torres completed a sensational transfer to Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The Blues again broke the British transfer record for a reported fee of £50 million, as the striker completed a mid-season move sent shockwaves throughout the league.

Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better, though, as Torres made his club debut for Chelsea after Liverpool.

The Blues lost that 1-0 and maybe it was a sign of things to come, as Torres went on to score just 20 goals in 110 Premier League appearances for Chelsea.

But while he failed to fire, these big money moves are all about making an impact when it counts, and Torres did that in the biggest competition that world football has to offer.

While he was far from an overwhelming success at Stamford Bridge, Torres did score a game sealing goal against Barcelona in a Champions League semi-final.

Chelsea went on to win their first ever Champions League crown in the 2011-12 campaign, beating German powerhouse Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties.


Transfer fee: £11m ($18m AUD) from Basel in 2014

Playing record: Two goals from 13 games

Mohamed Salah has cemented his legacy as a Premier League legend after a stellar career with Liverpool, but his career in England wasn’t always so successful.

The ‘Egyptian King’ made just 19 appearances for Chelsea, before he was loaned out to Fiorentina just 13-months after moving to London.

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Salah’s two best Premier League games in Blue came in a 6-0 win over rivals Arsenal, where he scored, as well as a promising showing against Stoke.

Salah was later loaned out to Roma, before securing a permanent move to the Italian capital soon after.

But the scintillating winger really took his career to the next Liverpool after he secured a well-known transfer to Liverpool.

Not only has Salah tasted success in both the Champions League and Premier League with the Merseyside club, but he’s widely considered to be one of the best footballers on the planet.

In fact he’s become so popular, the Economist revealed that more than one million Egyptians spoiled their ballots by trying to vote for Salah during the presidential election in 2018.

With many noteworthy individual accolades on the football field to speak of as well, Salah is certainly another gem that Chelsea failed to cherish when they had the chance.


Transfer fees: Around £60m ($103m AUD) from Real Madrid in 2017

Playing record: 24 goals from about 72 games

After impressive spells with European giants Juventus and Real Madrid, Morata was brought into the club as a replacement for Diego Costa.

Costa, who won two Premier League titles and scored 59 goals for Chelsea, returned to Atletico Madrid after being told he was free to look elsewhere.

Morata was another striker who had the weight of the world on his shoulders when he moved to Stamford Bridge, due to the hype surrounding his arrival.

But the Spaniard failed to make an impression on the scoresheet, scoring just 15 goals in his 48 games.

After initially signing for the club on a five year deal, Morata was eventually loaned out to Atletico Madrid on an 18-month deal.

Atletico signed him on a permanent deal later, although he was loaned out to Juventus soon after in September, 2020.


Transfer fees: €60m ($87m AUD) from RB Leipzig in 2020

playing record 23 goals in 89 appearances

Werner was one of the hottest properties on the football transfer market as European giants came looking to sign the star striker after an incredible spell at RB Leipzig.

During his four years at the German club, Werner scored 90 goals and had 40 assists from 156 competitive games.

Liverpool were also believed to be in the hunt for his signature, before he completed an expensive move to Chelsea on a five-year deal.

But the German quickly fell out of favor at Chelsea, having scored just 23 goals in 89 appearances.

With Chelsea reportedly looking to sign some strikers in the ongoing transfer window, the 26-year-old left the club and returned to RB Leipzig.


Transfer fees: £97.5m ($167m AUD) from Inter Milan in 2021

Playing record: 15 goals in all competitions from 44 games

Belgian Romelu Lukaku may have had a fairly expensive price tag to his name last year, but that didn’t stop Chelsea from making another mind-blowing investment in their future.

Once again, the Blues broke their transfer record to sign the striker from Italian giants Inter Milan.

Romelu Lukaku was a marquee signing for Chelsea, but he failed to make his mark on the scoresheet. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

With their Champions League glory still fresh in the minds of football fans, Chelsea managed to lure the powerful striker back to Stamford Bridge on an incredible transfer.

Despite their European success, Chelsea had come fourth in the Premier League the year before, but this signing was widely considered to be a difference maker.

Many believed that Lukaku could fire for the Blues after a previous stint at the club earlier in his career, before more well-known and successful stints with the likes of Everton and Manchester United.

But it was a disastrous return to the Premier League for Lukaku, who scored just eight goals before completing a loan move back to Inter Milan – and leaving the number nine jersey vacant.



Transfer news, rumours, Willian to Fulham, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Chelsea, Marcus Rashford to PSG, latest, updates

A Brazilian winger with over 250 Premier League appearances to his name could be returning to the English top flight, while Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel revealed his admiration for a top transfer target.

Catch up on all of the transfer whispers doing the rounds in the latest edition of the Rumor Mill!

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Former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder Willian quit Corinthians on Saturday (AEST) following the Brazilians’ Copa Libertadores elimination against domestic rivals Flamengo, after claiming he and his family received death threats on social media.

“Willian asked us for his (contract) termination. We are sad not to have him any more and also because it didn’t go the way we expected. But we have to keep those here that are happy,” said club president Duilio Monteiro Alves.

It was only a year ago that the 34-year-old only rejoined the club where he made his professional debut in 2006. Local media have linked him with a move to promoted English Premier League side Fulham.

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The return to Corinthians in Sao Paulo quickly turned sour for Willian both on the pitch where he scored one goal in 45 matches, and off it.

“Whenever Corinthians lost and I didn’t play well, my family received threats and insults on social media. My wife, my children, recently they also started attacking my father, my sister,” Willian told the Globo Esporte website.

“I didn’t play as well as I expected but I was never a player who scored 20 or 30 goals a season,” he told ESPN Brasil on Wednesday.

Willian, who also played for Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and Russians Anzhi Makhachkala, leaves the club three days after they were eliminated from the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals by Flamengo, 3-0 on aggregate

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said he will always have a “close bond” with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as speculation links the Barcelona forward with a move to Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are looking to reinforce their forward line after the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.

Aubameyang, who only joined Barcelona in January, would appear to fit the bill with both Premier League experience from four years at Arsenal and the time he spent under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.

The Gabon international scored 79 goals in 95 appearances under Tuchel.

“This is totally separate from anything that is happening now, but I enjoyed a lot working with Auba while I was at Dortmund,” said Tuchel on Friday at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s visit of Tottenham.

“Some players stay your players because you were very, very close, and Auba is one of those players.

“There was always straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way.”

A behind-the-scenes documentary on Arsenal’s 2021/22 season has revealed the scale of disciplinary breaches that saw Mikel Arteta freeze Aubameyang out of the Gunners’ first-team squad.

However, Tuchel said “there was never an issue” with Aubameyang’s discipline during their time in Germany.

Chelsea has been linked with a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.  (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)
Chelsea has been linked with a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)Source: AFP


Erik ten Hag expects Marcus Rashford to remain at Manchester United despite rumors this week that Paris St Germain have made contact with the forward’s representatives.

Rashford’s form dipped dramatically last season as he scored just four goals in 25 Premier League games, which has led to him being dropped from the England squad just months before the World Cup.

The 24-year-old, who has one year left on his contract with a club option for a further year, has twice scored in wins against PSG in the Champions League at the Parc des Princes.

But Ten Hag said he is too important to lose despite his struggle for form, which continued in a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton in the Dutch coach’s first match in charge last weekend.

“He’s really important,” Ten Hag said. “You have seen from the first day I’m here, I’m really happy with him, I don’t want to lose him.

“He’s definitely in our plans at Manchester United.”



Cameron Smith joins LIV Golf, contract, salary, when will he join, latest, updates

Cameron Smith is set to become the latest golf star to default to LIV Golf in a mega-money deal.

Just a day after Australian golfer Cameron Percy let slip that Smith and fellow Aussie Marc Leishman were set to join the breakaway tour, The Telegrpah reported Smith has inked a $AUD140 million deal.

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Smith’s first tournament with the rebel tour is set to be the LIV’s International in Boston which begins September 2.

Despite the report, Smith did not elaborate in his press conference ahead of the FedEx Cup play-offs.

“You know, my goal here is to win the FedExCup Playoffs,” Smith said.

“That’s all I’m here for. If there’s something I need to say regarding the PGA Tour or LIV, it’ll come from Cameron Smith, not Cameron Percy.

“I’m a man of my word and whenever you guys need to know anything, it’ll be said by me.”

Cameron Smith has reportedly signed on with the LIV tour.
Cameron Smith has reportedly signed on with the LIV tour.Source: Getty Images


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However, Smith confirmed he “absolutely” had plans to play in the President’s Cup even though the report claims he’d be with LIV Golf at the time.

After further LIV-related questions, Smith thanked the reporters and walked out of the press conference.

To date, LIV Golf has signed golf stars like Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, but Smith’s arrival brings more credibility to the competition given he is World Number Two and recently won The Open.

The Australian star declined to comment after winning the Claret Jug but refused to deny it and sent the rumor mill into overdrive.

“I just won the British Open and you’re asking about that? I think that’s pretty- not that good,” Smith said.

Pressed on the matter, the Australian was coy.

“I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff, I’m here to win golf tournaments,” he said.

The Telegraph goes on to state that LIV CEO Greg Norman struck a deal prior to Smith’s famous Open triumph and that an official announcement confirming the latter’s move is not expected until the FedEx Cup play-off series is complete.



Cristiano Ronaldo, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, rumour, Manchester United, transfer, Erik ten Hag

Premier League legends Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have slammed disgruntled star Cristiano Ronaldo, amid the uncertainty and speculation about his future at Manchester United.

Ronaldo returned to United’s match day squad for a game against La Liga side Rayo Vallecano earlier this week, after missing the clubs pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia.

But after being subbed off at halftime by manager Erik ten Hag, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner reportedly walked out of Old Trafford with 10 minutes to run on the game clock.

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The infamous walkout was described as “unacceptable” by ten Hag, and only fueled rumors that Ronaldo is desperate for a transfer away from the Red Devils.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes the club needs to sell the Portuguese international, as he suggested how Ronaldo’s actions may be hurting the club.

“Ronaldo’s achievements in football go beyond, to be fair, anyone could ever wish for and imagine. He’ll go down in the top players of all-time and he always will be, ”Neville said on The Overlap.

“What happens this summer at Manchester United will be forgotten about in 20 years.

“The star player in the dressing room is playing up. It happened at times over the last few years where you had Pogba’s agent, not necessarily (Paul) Pogba all the time but his agent always playing up with the club.

“You can’t have your star player in a club running the shop. You cannot have it. When Sir Alex Ferguson potentially in the past moved players on, it was because that player was needed to be moved on.

“I know Manchester United fans want Ronaldo to stay, but if Ronaldo wants to leave, Manchester United in my mind should facilitate that.”


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Ronaldo, who has won the Champions League five times, was reportedly set to be benched for United’s Premier League season opener against Brighton after missing most of the pre-season.

But a thigh injury to French attacker Anthony Martial could see the star named as a surprise starter for Sunday night’s match (AEST).

Asked if Ronaldo will start, coach Erik Ten Hag said: “We will see on Sunday.”

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Liverpool great Carragher always expected to follow Ronaldo after he signed his contract, as the 37-year-old never would’ve wanted to “play second fiddle” to a teammate.

“I always felt this situation would come. Even if Ronaldo did great for a year, he signed a two-year deal plus another year which I couldn’t believe. He’s never going to play second fiddle to anyone,” Carragher said.

“As players, at a certain stage in your career we all know that you’re not the same player and his (career) has gone on longer because he’s such a great professional.

“He’s not the same player, he’s still a great goal scorer but he’s not the same player. No other club in Europe at this moment wants him.

“I think if you ask (Erik) ten Hag, I don’t think he wants him and I’m not quite sure the dressing room at Manchester United would want Cristiano Ronaldo right now.”

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While it’s been said that Ronaldo missed the pre-season tour due to personal reasons, the rumor mill was in full swing as fans and pundits alike speculated about his future.

It’s believed that he’d handed in a transfer request after United failed to qualify for the Champions League last season – finishing sixth, 35-points behind rivals and champions Manchester City.

While in Australia, new manager ten Hag was bombarded with a number of questions about his key player.

Ten Hag insisted that Ronaldo wasn’t for sale, but Ronaldo continued to dominate headlines over rumors of a potential transfer to Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, ​​and even Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain.

“Ten Hag literally has had every single press conference that he does just obliterated by the Ronaldo issue,” Neville added.

“If a player becomes the dominating factor and a distraction in a press conference for a manager, there’s only one thing that needs to happen. We all know it.

“You might have to go back to go forwards and this season Manchester United, they may have to go back without Ronaldo.”



Daniel Ricciardo return to Renault, Otmar Szafnauer, 2023 contracts

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has left the door open for a Daniel Ricciardo to return with uncertainty surrounding his future, and that of Oscar Piastri.

Having lost Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin for 2023, Alpine announced that Australia’s Piastri would take the Spaniard’s spot next year.

But in a major bombshell to shake the F1 paddock, Piastri denied on social media that a deal had been made, and emphatically declared: “I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”

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That has sent the rumor mill into overdrive about whether Piastri has a deal secured elsewhere already — possibly at McLaren to replace the struggling Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo has a third year to run on his McLaren contract but has been under pressure, while Piastri’s manager, Mark Webber, is understood to have aggressively lobbied the team to snap up Piastri prior to Alonso’s shock departure.

Should a McLaren move materialize for Piastri, it would leave Ricciardo without a seat for 2023.

One option for Ricciardo could be an awkward return to Alpine (formerly Renault), who was disappointed in 2020 by quitting after just two seasons.

Nonetheless, the team has since undergone a change of management, while Szafnauer sees no reason why Ricciardo can’t be a potential option.

Szafnauer confirmed to that the team has already fielded numerous calls from other drivers.


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Asked about the possibility of Ricciardo returning, he pointed to the example of Alonso, whose F1 career has included two stints at McLaren, and three at Alpine-Renault.

“I mean, if you look at Fernando, for example, he comes and goes, and I think that happens to other drivers too,” he told the publication.

“And I don’t think that’s an issue at all. I think what we need to focus on is, like I say, the plans that we have for the next 89-88 races.

“We’ve got to make sure that we complement that plan with the best driver that we can, and there are some options out there for us. And we put the best driver in next to Esteban [Ocon]so that we can move forward towards what we’ve been planning.”

Nonetheless, Alpine hopes to hold onto Piastri, saying: “We believe we are legally correct in our statement (about his signing).”

Szafnauer told the publication — albeit before Piastri’s statement — that there is no reason a healthy working partnership can’t be maintained with the Australian should the team get its wish.



EPL transfer news; Cristiano Ronaldo future at Manchester United, Tino Vermer Chelsea, news, updates

Cristiano Ronaldo could be heading for an ugly exit from Manchester United, after the striker sensationally left Old Trafford during a pre-season match last weekend.

Playing his first preseason match after missing the tour to Thailand and Australia, Ronaldo stormed out of the stadium with 10 minutes to play after being subbed off at half-time.

The Portugal international had been visibly frustrated with manager Erik ten Hag earlier in the fixture, while his agent Jorge Mendes reportedly continues to push for a transfer.

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Meanwhile, Chelsea forward Timo Werner could complete an incredible move to a fierce London rival as two Premier League clubs enter the race for his services.

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is also on the cusp of a massive transfer to a Spanish powerhouse, but the deal hinges on another star being sold.

Here’s the latest transfer gossip in the latest edition of the Rumor Mill!


Ronaldo donned Manchester United’s famous red jersey for the first time in 12 weeks during the club’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano on Monday (AEST).

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner played 45 minutes in his highly anticipated return, and later said that he was “happy to be back”.

But manger ten Hag is reportedly disappointed with the 37-year-old after he left Old Trafford before the final whistle.

UK media outlet The Sun have shared pictures of Ronaldo shrugging and covering his face in frustration while his new manager attempted to address him during a water break.

After being subbed off at half-time, Ronaldo then left the stadium with 10 minutes still to play. Photos show the football superstar walking out to a few, if not angry, fans waiting for him.

“It is not a good look to leave early when you have been involved in the squad,” a Manchester United insider told SunSport.

“It is different if you are up in the stands and not involved.

“You would expect someone who has played in the game to be in the changing rooms at the end to listen to the manager’s thoughts.

“Also a lot of people were there to see him and he was not even involved in the clapping of the fans after the final whistle.”

Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes is still hoping to secure a transfer for his disgruntled client.


Timo Werner could line up for one of Chelsea’s fiercest rivals this season, with The Blues reportedly willing to part ways with the German international in this transfer window.

The 26-year-old, who joined Chelsea for $83m (AEDT) in 2020, has failed to fire at the level that was expected of him when he signed at Stamford Bridge, having scored just 10 Premier League goals in 56 games.

But Werner could be handed a Premier League lifeline with London rivals Arsenal, who are interested in acquiring his services.

Mikel Arteta has already welcomed former Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus in this transfer window, as they continue to bolster their attack.

Newcastle United are also interested in signing Werner on loan, but his hefty wage is potential issue in regards to that deal.

The Sunhave also said that European powerhouses Juventus and Real Madrid are also interested in Werner.


Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is close to a massive deal with Barcelona, ​​as the Spanish giants continue to rebuild towards their former glory.

But Silva will only be able to complete the move if Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong agrees to leave the club.

De Jong has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United throughout this transfer window, although he appears intent on staying at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona manager Xavi has revealed that he doesn’t know whether de Jong will remain at the club or not.

“I don’t know if he’s going to stay here,” Xavi said.

“I’ve never sent Frenkie a message. There’s still time and a lot of things can still happen.

“The fact that he played as a central defender in the other games was not a sign that he was leaving.”


Football insider Fabrizio Romano has shared some major transfer news for Liverpool fans, as a Champions League winner confirms his intention to remain at the club.

Forward Roberto Firmino has said that he loves “this team, city and fans”, amidst speculation about his future with The Reds.

“I love this team, city and fans,” Firmino told TNT Brazil.

“I’m here at Liverpool and I want to stay.”


Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella has been heavily linked with a transfer to English champions Manchester City, but a deal with Chelsea appears to be more likely.

Cucurella may be wearing a darker shade of blue this season as the London club entering talks with the defender.

City have refused to increase their bid which has seen them fall out of the race for his signature – for now.