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Chelsea handed major Real Madrid boost just minutes after Champions League draw

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Chelsea will travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid before welcoming the La Liga table-toppers back to Stamford Bridge in a significant boost to their Champions League defence.

The Blues initially appeared set to play their quarter-final home leg with the record 13-time winners first, however, the tie has subsequently been reversed following a clash of fixtures with Manchester City’s last-eight opponents Atletico Madrid.

For logistical reasons, both Atletico and Real cannot play the first leg of their respective ties at home in the Spanish capital. Therefore amendments to the Champions League’s fixture list were made and the rule was decided in Atletico’s favour, meaning Thomas Tuchel’s side hold the perceived advantage of playing at Stamford Bridge second.

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However, Chelsea appear set to do so in front of no fans. The Athletic revealed on Wednesday that the Blues face playing their remaining Champions League home match behind closed doors as a result of EU sanctions imposed on the club’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

The two European giants have only met once before, at the semi-final stage of last season’s competition. Tuchel’s side prevailed 3-1 on aggregate on that occasion before overcoming Premier League rivals City to be crowned European champions in Porto.

As will be the case this year, Chelsea travelled to Spain for the first leg, however last year saw them play at Real’s training ground due to ongoing renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu.

See also  Manchester United and Chelsea ‘had talks over Erling Haaland transfer’ but two rivals lead race

Back then, Christian Pulisic opened the scoring in 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital, with Karim Benzema cancelling out the American’s early strike.

In the return leg at Stamford Bridge, the Blues then claimed a 2-0 triumph to seal a spot in the final with Timo Werner and Mason Mount on the scoresheet. Tuchel’s side will no doubt be buoyed by the fixture reversal as they look to replicate that success this season.

Should Chelsea progress to the semi-final stage, they will play the winner of other aforementioned tie – either City or Atletico.

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Elsewhere, Liverpool were drawn against Portuguese side Benfica while Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich face Villarreal – the third Spanish side remaining in the competition.

The Champions League quarter-final first legs will take place on Tuesday 5 April and Wednesday 6 April, with the return meetings taking place the following week, on Tuesday 12 April and Wednesday 13 April.

This year’s final will be staged at the Stade de France in Paris after UEFA decided to remove Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium as the host venue due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Report: Chelsea agree personal terms with Inter Milan superstar

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Chelsea look to be closing in on the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Cesare Casadei.

The Blues are reportedly agreeing personal terms with the Inter Milan youngster ahead of what is expected to be a €15m (plus add-ons) transfer. Inter had been looking for around €20m all told.

As per Fabrizio Romano, and others, the highly promising Italy youth international, though who has yet to make his senior professional debut, has agreed a six-year deal with the Blues, choosing Chelsea over the likes of OGC Nice in France and US Sassuolo in Italy.

Presumably, Casadei will not be joining the Chelsea first-team right away, though post-Brexit work permit rules are fairly esoteric and confusing.

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Perhaps he will end up joining one of the aforementioned teams on loan to build up the necessary professional experience? Just speculating…

See also  Two major reasons why Chelsea will defeat Norwich City at Carrow Road Stadium

While the two teams have yet to agree a transfer, this looks to be drawing to a successful conclusion for us, adding yet another teenager talent to the team as we look to build for not only this season but for many seasons in the future.

See also  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned he's about to commit 'sackable offence' over Jadon Sancho
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Mikel Arteta drops Youri Tielemans hint as Arsenal can sign ‘more complete’ N’Golo Kante

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Today’s Arsenal transfer round-up on Tuesday, August 16.

Tielemans hint

Mikel Arteta’s increased use of Granit Xhaka could mean that Arsenal are close to giving up on transfer target Youri Tielemans.

The Gunners are still chasing a deal for the Leicester City midfielder but have seen their chances dwindle of doing a deal this summer and now, despite Xhaka previously saying he had come close to leaving, the club could have to do without a new addition.

Xhaka is now part of a new leadership group at the Emirates Stadium, a possible indication that he may remain at the club and throw a move for Tielemans into doubt.

See also  Zidane 'learning English' and rejects job offer amid Man United links

Kante replacement

With Tielemans becoming less and less attainable this season, Arsenal have reportedly turned their attention elsewhere.

According to the Express, Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo is attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs including the Gunners and Manchester United. Having been previously compared with Kante, Arsenal’s desire to sign Caicedo is understandable.

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South American football expert Tim Vickery said, “A year ago he was saying that Kante of Chelsea is his role model but he is already more than that. He already offers more in the final third.”

Yeremi Pino flight explained

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has cleared the air regarding Yeremi Pino and denies that a bid has been made for him.

Romano told CaughtOffside, “Many clubs have been following Yeremi Pino for months, he is a top player of the future that at least three Premier League clubs have been monitoring for some time.

See also  Report: Chelsea considering player-plus-cash offer to sign Barcelona Star defender

“No proposals have been made yet to Villarreal, who would like more than €50m for their young star; it will not be an easy negotiation.

“As for the rumours about Arsenal – Edu was not travelling to Spain to meet Villarreal, also because Pino’s agents are based in the UK (Stellar Group).”

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Erik Ten Hag believes £64,000 a week player will agree to join Man United – Report

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Despite signing two defenders this summer, Manchester United’s backline has been terrible this season and yet another defender is linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Yesterday, we covered a story (via Sport) claiming that the Red Devils have submitted an offer to sign Sergino Dest, who has received a clear message to leave Barcelona.

Today, the Spanish news source have covered another report and stated that the American international has not been able to impress in the last two years, moreover, he failed to convince Xavi in pre-season. Therefore, his exit is considered essential.

See also  Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea to hijack Arsenal striker bid as defender slapped with £45m pricetag

Erik ten Hag wants to get rid of Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer so that he can complete the signing of Dest, who is valued at 20 million euros.

The Catalan media outlet claim the Dutch manager believes that the 21-year-old Barca defender will agree (say Yes) to join Man United.

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Ten Hag really needs to understand that players from the Netherlands or connections with Ajax are not guaranteed to solve the conundrum at Old Trafford.

Under Van Gaal, Depay and Blind failed to shine for Man United. For Ten Hag, thus far, the likes of Eriksen, Martinez and Malacia have not settled.

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Now, he is pushing to sign another ex Ajax player in the form of Dest. The American was a hit in the Eredivisie but has proved to be average in the La Liga.

The youngster’s current contract at the Nou Camp will expire in 2025 and he earns around £64,000 a week (The Sun).

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