Premier League • England

Newcastle shoved back to ‘second row’ as Chelsea take transfer lead for midfielder

Fikayo Tomori and Adrien Rabiot battle for possession in AC Milan vs Juventus, September 2021

Chelsea have moved to the front of the queue of clubs looking to take Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, according to reports in Italy.

Rabiot joined Juventus in 2019 after running down his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. He has not always lived up to expectations, though. Now, his future is in doubt and a transfer to the Premier League could materialise.

He has been tipped to trade one black-and-white shirt for another by ditching Juventus for Newcastle. Of course, the Magpies are looking to pick up players who can help take them to the next level after their Saudi-backed takeover.

They may have to find players with points to prove rather than elite stars at this stage due to their relegation battle. But Rabiot is someone who may fit within their plans.

However, in an early reality check for their new ambitions, Newcastle have been overtaken in the race to sign Rabiot. According to Calciomercato, the midfielder is now more likely to join Chelsea.

Midfield is an area Chelsea are looking to reinforce for the future. They are seeking extra competition for the ageing N’Golo Kante and Jorginho. Mateo Kovacic is their other main starter, but there are doubts about their other options.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has worked his way back into first-team contention recently. Even so, his long-term prospects remain unclear – as do those of compatriot Ross Barkley.

Furthermore, Saul Niguez is yet to make any kind of impression since joining on loan from Atletico Madrid in the summer. It is already believed that Chelsea will not be signing him permanently.

An evolution could therefore be taking place in the centre of the park at Stamford Bridge in 2022. There are already numerous reports of who they may target.

Manchester United and Chelsea learn Monaco's price for Aurelien Tchouameni

Both Manchester United and Chelsea have learned of Monaco's asking price for midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, with more news on Kieran Trippier and Luis Diaz.

TEAMtalk understands they are ready to step up their interest in Monaco man Aurelien Tchouameni. The plan is to negotiate something in January for him to arrive by the summer.

They will have to beat plenty of competition to secure his services, though. Therefore, they would be wise to consider other options – which is where Rabiot may come in.

Now 26 and with a contract expiring in 2023, Rabiot faces a critical junction in his career. Returning Juventus boss Max Allegri does not feel he is getting enough out of the PSG product – he wants goals from him but is yet to see any this season – who may subsequently be sacrificed.

Rabiot recently pledged his commitment to Juventus, telling Telefoot: “I’m happy in Turin. I see my future at Juventus, of course!”

Rabiot TEAMtalk

However, he may have to make way if Juve want to make their own midfield signings, which is the plan. In fact, they are even considering taking Saul after his Stamford Bridge spell, and are also keen on Tchouameni.

In the case of Juve pushing Rabiot out, Chelsea could give him something to think about.

And in contrast to Newcastle, they can keep him at Champions League level immediately.

Chelsea lead midfielder race

Another midfielder on Chelsea’s radar is the attack-minded Florian Wirtz of Bayer Leverkusen.

Wirtz enjoyed a breakout season in 2020-21 and remains in good form this year. He has become a full Germany international and is turning heads of other clubs.

Reports have linked him with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. There is also interest from Real Madrid.

According to El Nacional, it is Chelsea and Real who are in the lead for the teenager at present. But Barcelona could rival them due to Wirtz’s admiration of their new head coach Xavi.

It remains to be seen if Barca can afford to take him, though. Chelsea, on the other hand, should be capable.

Wirtz could thus make the same move as Kai Havertz did in 2020 as Chelsea seek to bolster their options for the long-term.

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