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Chelsea close to agreeing contract with two stars after major breakthrough

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Chelsea have reportedly made a major breakthrough in their attempts to tie down Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen and are ‘close’ to agreeing new deals with the centre-back duo.

Eyebrows were raised when Chelsea signed Silva, 37, on a free transfer back in August 2020 given the defender had reached the twilight years of his career after calling time on his Paris Saint-Germain spell.

Silva has since silenced his doubters across an outstanding opening 18 months at Chelsea, playing a key role in the club’s Champions League success and establishing himself as an integral member of Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

However, there has been mounting uncertainty surrounding Silva’s future, with Chelsea already resigned to the fact they may lose Antonio Rudiger.

Christensen, 25, is also set to become a free agent at the end of the season as it stands but, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, Chelsea are increasingly confident both players will still be on board next term.

The report indicates the Blues are ‘one step away’ from agreeing terms with Christensen. The Denmark international – who has been linked with AC Milan and Tottenham – is expected to put pen to paper on a four-year agreement including the option of a fifth year.

Meanwhile, Chelsea hope to agree an extension with Silva in the coming weeks, but resolving Christensen’s future is viewed as the priority for the time being.

It’s claimed Silva’s good relationship Tuchel – who he previously worked with at PSG – will likely be key for the European champions in their talks with the veteran centre-half.

Tuchel, speaking to the media earlier this month, said he was hopeful ‘good news’ was just around the corner regarding Christensen’s delicate contract situation.

Asked whether a lack of recent game-time hindered Christensen’s chances of a new deal, Tuchel told reporters: ‘No, it’s the opposite.

‘We have to hope that it influences the contract situation a little bit. My understanding was that it is a matter of a very short period that we have good news.

‘I said this in the national break, that for me it is a matter of days that we think that we can have good news about Andreas.

‘As I understand it, the club want the same, and so do the coach and player. That is to stay, and that’s why we need the commitment and then we can continue.’

Tuchel said it was up to Christensen to prove he can ‘develop’ and become a ‘big player’ for Chelsea going forward.

‘We have been waiting since a long time now for confirmation and it is on Andreas to act how he acts on the pitch,’ the German added.

‘He needs to act now off the pitch and walk the talk because he tells us he loves Chelsea and that he wants to stay.

‘He says he wants to be a big part of this club, because he is a big part, and I think he is a perfect fit.

He is not done here yet and his career is far from finished at Chelsea.

‘He can still develop and be a big player. But it is on him. We want the commitment and hopefully we get it.’

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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