Real Madrid star Pepe is one of four defenders linked with a move to Chelsea, while Pep Guardiola has hinted at a possible future move to Manchester City for Lionel Messi, according to Wednesday’s papers.
PEPE WANTS CHELSEA MOVE; BLUES LINKED WITH QUARTET
Real Madrid defender Pepe is ready to consider a move to Chelsea after his ugly contract stand-off at the club, reports the Daily Mirror.
Portuguese hardman Pepe, 33, is a free agent at the end of the season and is able to talk to and sign a pre-contract with foreign clubs from January 1.
Real Madrid have offered Pepe a one-year contract extension but his advisers are holding out for a two-year deal.
They believe Chelsea would be interested in a move for the centre half who is still one of the best in Europe after helping Portugal to glory in France last summer.
Chelsea are desperate to strengthen their defence with manager Antonio Conte wanting reinforcements.
He is eyeing one last huge deal to finish his career and there are some serious doubts as to whether that will be at Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, reports in the Sun suggest Chelsea are set to go back in for AC Milan and Italy defender Alessio Romagnoli with a £49m January bid. It’s claimed the club saw a £35million offer rejected in January, but are ‘confident’ an increased bid will land their target.
The Blues have also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Presnel Kimpembe, who is also on the radar of Manchester United and Liverpool, while another long-term target, Thiago Silva, has again been linked with Chelsea as he enters the final year of his contract with PSG.
GUARDIOLA REVEALS ALL ABOUT CITY’S MESSI INTEREST
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has denied trying to sign Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, but says he would if the 29-year-old indicated he wanted to leave the Nou Camp.
City believe Messi would only leave Barcelona for them, with Guardiola adding added spice to Wednesday night’s Champions League tie in the Nou Camp with his claim.
Guardiola denied he tried to sign any of Barca’s star names this summer, but did suggest Messi may fancy a new challenge with a move to England.
“If you’re talking about this summer, I never called Messi,” said Guardiola, at his Tuesday pre-game press conference in Barcelona.
“In the case of Leo, I really wish him to play here and finish his career here. Play here for a long time.
“But maybe he will think, ‘Okay, I want to go play somewhere else’ because maybe he wants his kids to speak English or live a different experience, like many of us.
“Maybe it could happen, but if he decides to go and it happens, there would be a list of seven or eight clubs that would want to sign him, and it would be down to him. Messi will decide where to go.”
AND THE REST
Guardiola did speak to Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 24, this summer as the German was his number one choice to replace Joe Hart, 29, at Manchester City (Daily Mail)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says France striker Olivier Giroud, 30, still has a future at the club even though he is yet to start a Premier League game this season (Daily Express)
Manchester United’s centre-back Eric Bailly has been hammered by team-mates Juan Mata and Ashley Young over his white jelly-shoe sandals (The Sun)
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal must offer more than money to keep their stars at the Emirates. Meanwhile, the club are ready to sell Yaya Sanogo in January (The Sun)
Newcastle could make a move for their former defender Tamas Kadar (The Sun)
Didier Drogba has backed down in his row with Montreal Impact (The Sun)
Lee Probert is not allowed to ref in the Premier League until he proves his fitness (The Sun)
Former England boss Roy Hodgson has been offered a lucrative route back into management in the Chinese Super League (Daily Mirror)
West Ham are keeping tabs on Besiktas’ former Fulham midfielder Kerim Frei (Daily Mirror)
Manchester United remain on the trail of Sporting Lisbon’s 21-year-old winger Gelson Martins (Daily Mirror)
Valencia teenage star Fran Villalba is set to snub interest from Manchester United and sign a new contract with the Mestalla club (Daily Mirror)
Former Tottenham and Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas is set to return as Wolfsburg manager (Daily Mirror)
Brexit has been simulated in the new computer game Football Manager 2017, and it’s going to make the game harder than ever (Daily Telegraph)
Premier League clubs have been warned for the first time that they could face serious sanctions, including substantial fines, if they fail to keep a promise to provide minimum standards for disabled fans by August 2017 (Daily Telegraph)
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has confirmed that he’s banned his players from using their mobile phones while they’re at the club (Daily Mail)
Former England goalkeeper David James has warned Manchester City stars they are playing for their futures against Barcelona (Daily Express)
The FA will demand that Manchester United make Marcus Rashford available for the European U21 finals next summer irrespective of his development with England’s senior side this season (The Times)
Police will boost the number of officers on duty at Sunday’s Old Firm showdown by 50 per cent (Daily Record)