Chelsea

Chelsea

Premier League • England

Talks held as Tuchel eyes La Liga midfielder with Chelsea man nearing rapid exit

James Marshment
Nabil Fekir and Casemiro in Real Betis v Real Madrid

Chelsea are reportedly plotting a surprise January approach for Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro with the Brazilian having fallen down the pecking order under Carlo Ancelotti.

The Blues have made a solid start to the season but have suffered one of their worst weeks under Thomas Tuchel’s 11 months in charge. It all started with a bad defeat at West Ham last Saturday as they twice surrendered the lead. That setback, together with wins for Manchester City and Liverpool, saw the Blues slip from first to third.

Then in midweek, they also shipped three goals again as Chelsea drew 3-3 at Zenit St Petersburg to lose top spot in Champions League Group H. That means they will likely land a tougher round-of-16 opponent in Monday’s draw.

Tuchel’s first-choice midfield pairing is Jorginho and N’Golo Kante. Yet the World Cup winner has had his fair share of injury issues this season. Indeed, Kante’s absence in both their last two games has been keenly felt.

And the loan signing of Saul Niguez has proved nothing short of a disaster. Having brought him to the club as back-up for the pair, Saul has struggled badly to recapture his best form.

Saul struggling at Chelsea

The Spaniard has started just two Premier League games and was hooked at half-time on both occasions. He also started in St Petersburg on Wednesday and also struggled to impose himself on the game.

As such, it’s little surprise to see reports suggesting the Atletico star could depart just a matter of months after signing.

Now the Daily Mail, citing El Nacional, claims Tuchel is looking at a possible deal for Casemiro.

Magnificent Chelsea legend heading to Barcelona

Cesar Azpilicueta looks set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season, with Barcelona strongly linked.

The Brazilian is no longer considered a regular at the Bernabeu with strong competition in their midfield. Indeed, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde also in the reckoning.

However, prising him away from the LaLiga table toppers will not come cheap. They claim Los Blancos will demand a fee of around £50m to tempt Real into his sale.

That said, they claim talks have already been held and that Casemiro is open to the possibility of moving to Stamford Bridge.

Cut-throat Saul decision urged

Either way, it seems Saul’s time at Stamford Bridge appears destined to be brought to an end.

One man who has urged Chelsea to make a cut-throat decision on his future is former Blues defender Glen Johnson.

“There’s no point at being on loan somewhere and not playing. It’s hard enough to accept not playing when you’re on a contract,” Johnson said.

“People forget that the purpose of going on loan is to prove yourself, so going on loan and not playing completely defeats the object.

“If he doesn’t get enough of a run in the side then, of course, he should go back to Atletico Madrid.

“Sometimes the Premier League can just kill people. Sometimes you can stroll around in other leagues and get away with stuff.

“So if you’re doing that in other leagues then you’re going to get found out in the Premier League.

“I’m not necessarily saying that’s happened to Saul, but many players come to the Premier League and don’t hit the ground running.”

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