Manchester United and AC Milan are favourites to sign Chelsea star Willian if he leaves this summer, while Liverpool and Arsenal are set for a goalkeeper target blow, according to Thursday’s papers.
MAN UTD, MILAN FAVOURITES TO LAND CHELSEA STAR
Chelsea attacker Willian, 29, is being tipped to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, with Manchester United and AC Milan joint-favourites to sign him.
The 29-year-old has arguably been Chelsea’s best player this season and has been in supreme form in recent weeks.
Despite that form, however, Blues boss Antonio Conte has occasionally preferred Spain winger Pedro to the former Shakhtar Donetsk star.
That has led to rumours that Willian could be available this summer, with bookmakers Ladbrokes claiming that United have now been joined by Serie A giants Milan in the race to land the player.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes told Starsport: “Chelsea’s season could be about to go from bad to worse as Willian looks set to be the next blockbuster name to leave Stamford Bridge, with Milan shock joint-favourites to strike a deal.”
Ladbrokes also believe that Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG are in the running to secure Willian’s signature.
Conte, meanwhile, recently defended his decision not to continually pick the forward in his first XI.
He said: “You think that I am stupid? When I put Willy on the bench?
“I have to try and make the best decision for the team, no? Maybe last season we won the title, or did I forget something?
“Now he is playing because he deserves to play. But not because there is some regret from the past. For what?
“If a player deserves to play, and shows me during the training session that he is on top of his form, and wants to work defensively, he plays.
“If not, stay on the bench, stay in the stands. But this is not only for one player, but for all my players. This is what a winning mentality is.”
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AND THE REST
Jack Wilshere is ready to walk away from the Emirates for free in the summer unless Arsenal significantly improve their current contract offer (The Sun)
Jan Oblak has signed a new contract with Atletico Madrid, dealing a blow to Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and PSG, who had all targeted the goalkeeper (The Sun)
Manchester City have told Raheem Sterling he will have to wait until the end of the season before talks begin on a new deal (The Sun)
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has revealed the Eagles are already planning for life in the Championship in case they do not avoid relegation this season (The Sun)
Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill has been given a stay of execution by the club’s owner (The Sun)
Arsenal’s board and players are beginning to turn against Arsene Wenger, with a list of potential replacements is being drawn up (Daily Mirror)
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says he believes the Reds are one of the best teams in the world (Daily Mirror)
Alan Pardew is set to bow to player power and alter his formation in a bid to save his West Brom job (Daily Mirror)
Newcastle face a club v country row with Algeria over injured loan striker Islam Slimani, who is wanted for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month (Daily Mirror)
Jaap Stam is set to be offered an escape route from Reading, with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem interested in offering him their managerial vacancy (Daily Mirror)
West Ham will enter the race for West Brom’s Jonny Evans at the end of the season, with Leicester and Everton also interested (Daily Mirror)
Chelsea will delay contract talks with Thibaut Courtois until after their matches against Leicester and Barcelona, amid interest in the goalkeeper from Real Madrid (Daily Mail)
West Ham want to offer young defender Declan Rice a new contract on around £25,000 per week (Daily Mail)
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is drawing up a shortlist of potential replacements to take over from Sam Allardyce in the summer (Daily Star)
Manchester United have extended the contracts of Ashley Young, Daley Blind and Sam Johnstone, leaving Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Zlatan Ibrahimovic available to depart on free transfers this summer (MEN)
Joan Laporta believed in the power of surprise when he helped to “change the history” of Barcelona by giving Pep Guardiola his big break, and has thrown his backing behind Thierry Henry’s desire to revive Arsenal (Daily Telegraph)
Pep Guardiola tore into Leroy Sane during a furious dressing down at half-time of Manchester City’s shock FA Cup defeat by Wigan Athletic last week (Daily Telegraph)
Gareth Southgate will watch Burnley keeper Nick Pope for the second time as he considers him for an England call-up (Daily Telegraph)
Lower league club owners and executives are expected to express misgivings about plans to scrap FA Cup replays in order to accommodate a winter break in the Premier League (The Guardian)
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