Premier League • England

Transfer Gossip: Chelsea plotting shock Leeds Utd raid with aborted summer transfer laying foundation; Arsenal, Newcastle target breaks silence on future

Todd Boehly Chelsea May 2022

Chelsea could turn to Leeds United chief Victor Orta after a report named him as one of two sporting directors under consideration, while Arsenal and Newcastle target, Marco Asensio, has broken the silence on his future.


Leeds Utd’s Victor Orta is one of two sporting directors under consideration at Chelsea after their Christoph Freund pursuit hit a dead end, per a report.

Part-owner Todd Boehly installed himself as Chelsea’s interim sporting director during the summer. The highly respected Marina Granovskaia held the position previously, though the new ownership wanted to take Chelsea in a new direction.

Boehly is on the hunt for a permanent appointment and had zeroed in on RB Salzburg’s Christoph Freund.

Fabrizio Romano reported Freund was open to the move and was close to forging an agreement with Chelsea. However, Salzburg proved tough negotiators and Freund recently confirmed he’ll be retaining his post in Austria.

The Daily Mail named former Spurs chief Paul Mitchell as a potential candidate for the role with Freund now out of the equation. Mitchell is currently on the books of Monaco.

The Athletic had different ideas, putting RB Leipzig’s Oliver Mintzlaff in the mix. However, according to the Times and Telegraph, Chelsea have two other names in mind.

Firstly, it’s reported Leeds’ Victor Orta is on their radar.

The 43-year-old Spaniard has earned rave reviews for his work at Elland Road that included the masterstroke of appointing Marcelo Bielsa.

Under Orta’s instruction, Leeds have re-established themselves as a Premier League side and by and large, have bought well in the market.

Raphinha deal opened dialogue

The jewel in their transfer business was undoubtedly Raphinha, bought from Rennes for just £17m in 2020.

The Brazilian now plies his trade for Barcelona, though he could so easily have wound up at Chelsea.

The Blues saw a bid for Raphinha accepted over the summer before Barcelona hijacked the move. That situation opened the lines of communication between Orta and Chelsea, something the Telegraph are keen to point out.

Orta’s name has been ‘discussed among others’ by the Chelsea hierarchy.

The second name under consideration is Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten.

The Telegraph add the German, also 43, is one of several candidates Chelsea will open dialogue with this week.

However, like Freund, Steidten could represent a difficult target to secure. He was only made Leverkusen’s sporting director ahead of the current campaign.


Newcastle and Arsenal-linked Marco Asensio has opened up on his chances of leaving Real Madrid, including whether he’d entertain a shock switch to Barcelona.

The 26-year-old is in the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu. He should be enjoying his prime years, though is facing an uphill struggle for minutes on the pitch.

Indeed, with Rodrygo and Fede Valverde preferred by Carlo Ancelotti on the right, Asensio has accrued just 47 minutes of action across all competitions this season.

Real are understood to be attempting to tie him down to a new deal. However, if his gametime doesn’t improve, all bets are off.

Arsenal and Newcastle both ‘rang loudly’ when Asensio’s future was up in the air over the summer, per Mundo Deportivo. Given he could become a free agent next summer, he’ll be able to forge a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs come January 1.

However, the surprise name of Barcelona have also been linked. Moves between the two great Spanish rivals are rare and Asensio swapping clubs in the prime of his career would send ripples through LaLiga.

Now, speaking to El Partidazo de COPE, Asensio has broken his silence on what the future holds.

“I had chances to leave, yes – now signing new deal with Real Madrid doesn’t depend on me, as there are many factors,” said Asensio.

“I hope it will happen, I’ve always been happy here. Rumours? Normal, I can sign as free agent in few months.”

On the subject of making a controversial switch to bitter rivals Barcelona, Asensio added: “I don’t know if Barcelona want me. There are rumours on many clubs, it’s normal.”

“I’ve never thought about future at Barça, I have not valued it… so, don’t know! Right now, I can’t answer”


Finally, Everton veteran Allan is in talks over a lucrative switch to Abu Dhabi-based side Al Wahda.

That’s according to Football Insider who state the 31-year-old Brazilian has been given the green light to leave.

Al Wahda compete in the United Arab Emirates Pro League and their transfer window does not close until October 4.

Allan was a £21.7m signing from Napoli just two years ago. However, following the summer arrivals of James Garner, Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye, he is well down the pecking order.

Frank Lampard is termed ‘happy for him to leave’ given his reduced role in the squad. He is yet to feature for Everton at all this season.

There is no indication as to the size of transfer fee Everton might receive. However, given Allan’s contract doesn’t expire until next summer, it stands to reason he won’t go for free.