8am Chelsea news LIVE: Coutinho transfer to Chelsea ‘on’, Kante may miss rest of season, Kepa exit to Valencia – The Sun

CHELSEA are back in training as the return of the Premier League draws closer.

But N'Golo Kante is not among the squad due to coronavirus fears, and the club will not put any pressure on the Frenchman to return.

Follow all the latest updates from Stamford Bridge below…

  • COUTINHO TO CHELSEA 'ON'

    Philippe Coutinho's transfer to Chelsea is reportedly “on” after Bayern Munich officially passed up their opportunity to sign the Barcelona playmaker.

    Coutinho has spent this season on loan at Bayern but they have decided not to make the move permanent.

    Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “The option has expired and we have not exercised it. We will see if the player can still have a role to play with us or not.”

    And the Evening Standard say that paves the way for a move to the Premier League, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester all in contact with Barcelona.

    According to Spanish sports paper Mundo Deportivo, the former Liverpool star fancies a move to Stamford Bridge.

  • GOOD MORNING, CHELSEA FANS

    Frank Lampard's men face a Champions League headache – and not just because they trail Bayern Munich 3-0 from the first leg amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Chelsea's players would be quarantined for 14 days upon returning from Germany under new government rules on UK arrivals, starting on June 8. 

    Bayern Munich have also emerged as major rivals to Chelsea, Manchester United and Co in the hunt for Jadon Sancho.

    A huge summer move seems less likely now, given the financial impact of Covid-19, but nonetheless Borussia Dortmund's England attacker has a growing list of suitors.

    Meanwhile, Chelsea and United target Miralem Pjanic has reportedly ruled out moving to London and is desperate to join Barcelona.

    The Bosnia midfielder, 30, has also been linked with PSG as Juventus chief Maurizio Sarri is prepared to let him to.

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was reportedly willing to let Jorginho head to Turin in a bid to land Pjanic.

    But Brazil star Willian, wanted by Arsenal and Spurs has reiterated he is keen to stay at Chelsea for the rest of the season, even if that means playing into July and August.

  • JOSE: I WAS A SILLY BERGA

    Ex-Chelsea and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admits he was a “d***head” to his Inter Milan Treble-winning side of 2010.

    The Spurs chief also revealed he was violent with his players and told them “they had won the Scudetto of s**t” following a defeat to Bergamo.

    Mourinho lifted the Serie A title, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in 2009-10.

    The Portuguese, 57, said: “I’m never fake, I’m original. It’s me and that’s it. I was also a d***head but that was me.”

    Mourinho lost his cool with his Inter squad following the 3-1 defeat to Bergamo in January 2009.

    He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “I was very violent with the players — I told them they had won the Scudetto of s**t.

    “It was only afterwards I understood I had hurt them and I apologised.”

  • YOU MUST BECOME HEAVYWEIGHT HAVERTZ

    Dimitar Berbatov has urged Kai Havertz to snub the Premier League for now — and bulk up.

    The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, 20, has been linked with Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and United and enhanced his growing reputation with two goals in Monday’s 4-1 win over Werder Bremen.

    But ex-United striker Berbatov, who left Leverkusen to join Spurs in 2006, believes Havertz is not yet tough enough to leave his native Germany.

    Berbatov, 39, said: “I’d like to see Havertz in the Premier League but it is a bit too early for him.

    “He will need a bit more muscle. We all know how defenders can squash you and smash you into pieces.

    “He should stay at Leverkusen and develop even more, get that experience which will help him for when the time comes to go somewhere else.”

  • BAYERN DECLINE TO PAY COUTINHO FEE

    Bayern Munich will spark more talk of Philippe Coutinho returning to the Premier League by declining to pay a £110million option to buy the Barcelona playmaker.

    Chelsea, Manchester United and even old club Liverpool have been linked with the Brazil star, 27, although financial restraints due to the coronavirus pandemic make a summer transfer less likely.

    Bayern chairman  Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Der Spiegel: “The option expired and “we haven't activated it.

    “Now we're going to draw up squad planning internally (for next season) and we'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not.”

    Coutinho started just 15 of Bayern's 25 games, coming on as substitute eight times, before the Covid-19 lockdown halted football action. 

    But with Barca insisting he could still have a role back at the Nou Camp, he hopes to impress now the Bundesliga has restarted.

  • FUTURE IS UP IN THE PIERRE

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future seems more up in the air than his air.

    Just as the Arsenal skipper was mocked on social media for his untidy locks on returning to training, so he was being linked with PSG, in addition to longer-term suitors Barcelona.

    The Gabon striker is entering the final year of his contract, although Premier League interest seems to have died down, Manchester United having initially been rated as strong contenders.

  • BAY IN WAIT FOR SANCHO

    Bayern Munich have emerged as major rivals to Jadon Sancho's host of Premier League suitors, like United and Chelsea.

    Reports in Germany suggest the Bundesliga champions regard the Borussia Dortmund attacker as an alternative to Manchester City's Germany wideman Leroy Sane.

    England star Sancho has bagged 19 goals and 17 assists for German giants Dortmund in all competitions this season.

  • PREM 'CONFIDENT' OF RETURN

    Premier League chief executive Richard Masters insists they are “as confident as we can be” about restarting in June.

    He said the Prem would be “flexible” about a restart date, having previously targeted June 12 after the coronavirus pandemic halted action on March 13.

    Masters told the BBC: “There is some momentum. We've taken the first step.

    “It's great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground.”

    He said the Prem would learn from the Bundesliga's return last weekend, which went smoothly despite being behind closed doors.

    British football could even be played out to empty stands until next year.

  • CUT-OUTS FOR SHUT-OUTS

    Three Premier League clubs are interested in having cardboard cut-outs in empty stands when top-flight football returns.

    SunSport understands those behind the new ‘Stay at Home – Be at the Game’ project have held talks with club officials – two sides in the top half of the table – about adopting the concept.

    If those discussions prove successful, then £20 recyclable and water-proof cut-outs could be placed in stadiums when the Premier League resumes in June.

    Some of the money raised will be donated to the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

    Top US sporting bodies like the NBA and MLS have also shown an interest as international sport looks set to return behind closed doors in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    It is the brainchild of ingenious German super-fan Ingo Muller, who has organised almost 14,000 cut-outs of fans and season-ticket holders for his beloved Borussia Monchengladbach.

    It will go live to the world when the Bundesliga side face Bayern Leverkusen at the Borussia-Park on Saturday afternoon.

  • BARNES IS SAN FAN

    Chelsea and United target Jadon Sancho is one of three possible signings Liverpool should prioritise, says Anfield legend John Barnes.

    The former England winger thinks Jurgen Klopp should pursue Borussia Dortmund’s England attacker Sancho, plus Leicester City's Turkey defender Caglar Soyuncu and Real Sociedad’s Spain centre-back Diego Llorente.

    But it is RB Leipzig and Germany striker Timo Werner who remains the player most commonly linked with a huge summer switch to Liverpool.

  • BARCA CRACK MIRA DEAL

    Chelsea and Manchester United target Miralem Pjanic has ruled out moving to London and is determined to join Barcelona, reports say.

    The Bosnia midfielder, 30, has also been linked with PSG as Juventus chief Maurizio Sarri is prepared to let him to.

    But Mundo Deportivo claim he has already agreed to sign for Barca once the season finally ends.

    Pjanic was reportedly eager to switch the Serie A champs for the LaLiga kings.

    And Barcelona also wanted to add experience to the midfield, to help a batch of rising stars coming through.

    A deal with Juve could see Barca's Brazil midfielder Arthur, 23, head the opposite way on a season-long loan.

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was reportedly willing to let Jorginho head to Turin in a bid to land Pjanic.

  • THIBAUT'S KEEPING A TRACK

    Real Madrid's ex-Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois will will compete in Formula One Virtual Monaco Grand Prix – then take on F1 star Pierre Gasly at NBA 2K this Sunday.

    Belgium No1 Courtois has been hosting weekly NBA2K20 games for the NBA Together scheme.

    But his battle with Scuderia AlphaTaur's Frenchman Gasly will be his last.

  • EURO LOCK-OUT?

    Chelsea, Manchester United and City's European hopes are in doubt after the government confirmed a two-week quarantine on UK arrivals from June 8.

    No exemptions are being given to sports stars, potentially causing a real headache for British clubs left in Europe.

    It means should Real Madrid fly to England for the second leg of their last-16 tie with Pep Guardiola's side, the Spanish giants would have to wait in complete lockdown for two weeks before being able to train and then play the match.

    Similarly, Chelsea are due to fly to Germany to play Bayern Munich which would again cause the same problems for Frank Lampard's men when they return to England.

    United are still in the Europa League, beating LASK 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash in Austria with the second leg at Old Trafford, while Wolves and Scottish side Rangers could also fall victim to the new crackdown.

  • YOU KAN MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICES

    Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and Watford skipper Troy Deeney have been backed by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson after they missed training due to worries over coronavirus.

    The Champions League-winning midfielder said: “I fully respect their opinion and their decision to do that.

    “I think everybody is in a different situation with their family and at home.

    “Ultimately, if you don't feel comfortable or safe, you shouldn't feel forced or pressured to come into work.

    “I fully respect the lads that don't feel comfortable as of yet, and I hope that they respect my opinion and that of the other players who have come back.

    “Everybody's situation is different but ultimately, for me, I feel very safe here at the training ground, otherwise I wouldn't be here. My team-mates as well.”

  • WILL I AM STAYING

    Arsenal target Willian has reiterated that he is keen to stay at Chelsea for the rest of the season, even if that means playing into July and August.

    The Brazilian, 31, has a contract till June 30, but according to the Athletic the winger will continue at Stamford Bridge no matter what.

    The terms of any short-term deal into July and August are unclear.

    And Willian is wanted by Arsenal and Tottenham ahead of next season, with no shortage of options elsewhere around Europe.

  • NEW HAZARD TO WORRY ABOUT

    Dimitar Berbatov has tipped Man Utd and Liverpool target Kai Havertz to become Eden Hazard’s long-term replacement at Chelsea.

    The former Spurs and Man Utd striker told Betfair: “I think it is interesting to see Chelsea linked with him, they haven’t really replaced Hazard since he left and it was always going to be difficult to do so.

    “I think for sure they need to go for a young player with a lot of football ahead of them, if that is the case then they will also have to be patient as well because sometimes young players need time to adjust to the physicality and speed of Premier League.

    “Havertz is an option for them but it has only been the first week back of the Bundesliga and I hope that he continues to way he has comeback, by scoring and producing the goals that he has done so far.”

  • KURT-SHIP

    Arsenal and Chelsea are both tracking German teenager Kaan Kurt.

    The full-back has played this season for Borussia Monchengladbach II in the country's fourth tier but has yet to appear for the club’s first team.

    Kurt, 18, who has played at German international youth level right through until the under-19s, mostly plays as an attacking right-back but can also operate on the left.

    He is contracted with Gladbach until 2022 and would cost about £4million.

    Kurt also played three times for Turkey's under-17s and has attracted interest from Fenerbahce.

  • BAME CONCERNS

    The Government will today be asked for immediate research on whether BAME players are at enhanced risk by the planned return to contact training, reports MARTIN LIPTON.

    PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes will urge the country’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van Tam, to intercede and demand proper answers.

    The fears of the players has been articulated by Watford’s Troy Deeney, worried about the impact of potential Covid-19 infection on his five-year-old son.

    Chelsea have also given fearful N’Golo Kante dispensation not to return to training unless he feels confident in his health and safety.

    But while Barnes has previously spoken to Premier League chiefs over the concerns, asking for more research to be undertaken before the green light can be given by the players, the union chief will now press the issue again.

    By going direct to Van Tam at a three-way video meeting this afternoon, also attended virtually by League bosses and medical chiefs, Barnes wants to make it clear that the issue must be properly addressed before players will assent to a full training ground return.

  • TER STAYIN'

    Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is reportedly set to sign a new five-year deal at Barcelona to deal Chelsea a major blow in their search for a new goalkeeper.

    Ter Stegen, 28, has two years left on his contract at the Nou Camp and Sport had claimed that the Blues were looking to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

    Frank Lampard is claimed to be looking to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga after being left unconvinced that he's the right man to have between the sticks.

    Kepa has failed to justify the £71.6million fee the West Londoners forked out to bring him to the Premier League from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

    And with contract talks set to have stalled between Barca and Ter Stegen, Spanish media stated that Chelsea were ready to pounce.

    But Sport have now insisted that Ter Stegen is set to end speculation that he could leave by penning a new deal next month until 2025.

  • BAND OF BROTHERS

    Chelsea flop Gonzalo Higuain is reportedly considering a summer switch to MLS side DC United to link up with his brother.

    The front page of Italian newspaper Tuttosport claim the Argentine striker is set to leave Juventus at the end of the season.

    Maurizio Sarri, who had been in charge of the 32-year-old at Napoli, Chelsea and the Old Lady, appears to have finally given up on Higuain.

    The Argentine international returned to Italy earlier this month after the Serie A champions threatened to terminate his contract after he went AWOL in his homeland.

    Despite still having a year left on his current deal, Higuain is still expected to be offloaded this summer as Juve look to free up wages in their squad.

    The former Chelsea misfit has struggled for playing time at the Allianz Stadium following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • SKY BLUE THINKING

    An image of Chelsea's 'pre-match shirt' has been leaked on social media.

    As usual, it's Footy Headlines who have done the honours and popped the snap on Twitter.

  • WILL POWER

    Willian has reiterated that he is keen to stay at Chelsea for the rest of the season, even if that means playing into July and August.

    The Brazilian, 31, has a contract till June 30, but according to the Athletic the winger will continue at Stamford Bridge no matter what.

    The terms of any short-term deal are unclear, but surely that is the kind of dedication Frank Lampard wants to keep in West London, even if only for next season?

  • DANI’S DATE

    Has Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos revealed the start date for the Premier League?

    The Spaniard, on loan from Real Madrid, has suggested the players are getting ready to restart on June 20.

    The 23-year-old told RTVE: “We are going to start a week late with respect to what is being talked about in Spain, which is June 12, and we are going to start the league on the 20th.

    “Forty-eight hours ago we passed the tests and the truth is that the entire team have given a negative result.”

  • HAV A GO

    Dimitar Berbatov has tipped Man Utd and Liverpool target Kai Havertz to become Eden Hazard’s long-term replacement at Chelsea.

    The former Spurs and Man Utd striker told Betfair: “I think it is interesting to see Chelsea linked with him, they haven’t really replaced Hazard since he left and it was always going to be difficult to do so.

    “I think for sure they need to go for a young player with a lot of football ahead of them, if that is the case then they will also have to be patient as well because sometimes young players need time to adjust to the physicality and speed of Premier League.

    “Havertz is an option for them but it has only been the first week back of the Bundesliga and I hope that he continues to way he has comeback, by scoring and producing the goals that he has done so far.”

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Barcelona tell Chelsea Coutinho transfer will cost £80m as Blues prepare to open talks for Nou Camp flop – The Sun

BARCELONA are ready to take a £65million hit on flop midfielder Philippe Coutinho and sell him to Chelsea.

The Spanish giants will demand £80m for the Brazilian, who moved to the Nou Camp for £145m from Liverpool in 2018.

Coutinho, 27, has been on loan at Bayern Munich since last year but the Germans have baulked at paying such a high fee for the player.

Now Chelsea are ready to open talks and steal in and grab the South American as boss Frank Lampard gets ready to splash the cash when the season resumes after the coronavirus pandemic, claim Barcelona-based Sport.

It was originally thought that the Catalans would off-load Coutinho for £70m but Nou Camp chiefs have now made it clear they will take no less than £80m, as they strive to recoup some of their massive outlay on the Brazilian.

The former Inter Milan star is under contract until 2024 but is surplus to requirements in Spain despite an initial £355m buy-out clause being put in place.

Barca want the cash to fund new players and have been regularly linked with a move for former star Neymar.

Lampard has put Coutinho at the top of his shopping list.

Coutinho turned down a summer move to Tottenham and Arsenal.

He has made just 38 LaLiga appearances for Barca.

Bayern told Barca chiefs they would not be exercising their clause to sign the Brazilian permanently on June 30.

Coutinho has also been linked with Leicester.

But Chelsea will try and tempt Barca into a deal where they pay a £13m loan fee next season as well as his wages int total.

They would then turn that deal into a permanent one next year.

However, the Catalans will demand a permanent transfer this summer to any willing buyer.

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