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Chelsea team news: Expected XI vs Tottenham as Thomas Tuchel made N’Golo Kante decision

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Chelsea head into their London derby clash against Tottenham with the boost that N’Golo Kante is fit to play against the North Londoners.

Boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed that the Frenchman has fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool last month. 

Kante is likely to go straight into the team for the Spurs game. Express Sport predicts five changes from the Blues’ last Premier League match against Aston Villa.  

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy 

Mendy was excellent against Villa and has solidified his place as the club’s No 1 goalkeeper.  

He has played in every match since the beginning of the Premier League campaign, despite Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty-saving heroics against Villarreal in the European Super Cup. 

Mendy made an incredible double save to deny Villa in Chelsea’s 3-0 victory last weekend.  

His six saves were the most he has made in a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. 

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Centre-backs: Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger

Azpilicueta was a substitute against Villa but still had time to set up the second of Romelu Lukaku’s brace. The Spaniard found Lukaku on the edge of the box and the Belgian thumped home the third goal in added time.

The defender then crossed for Lukaku to head home the only goal during Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League victory over Zenit St. Petersburg in midweek.  

Silva or Andreas Christensen could take the central role. Rudiger will likely play on the left despite his uncertain future.  

The German could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season if he does not pen fresh terms. Chelsea’s defensive trio will have the tricky task of keeping quiet Harry Kane, who is yet to score a Premier League goal this campaign. 

Wing-backs: Reece James and Marcos Alonso

Reece James is back from suspension and will surely replace Callum Hudson-Odoi at right wing-back. James featured against Zenit but was burgled during the European clash.  

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Tuchel confirmed that the England star has trained and it seems likely that he will be ready to play.  

Alonso has surprisingly been preferred to Ben Chilwell on the left. Tuchel has claimed that the latter struggled to deal with not featuring for the Three Lions at Euro 2020. 

Chilwell made his first appearance since May’s Champions League final when he played the final 10 minutes against Zenit. 

Central midfield: N’Golo Kante and Jorginho

Tuchel could completely switch his midfield despite Mateo Kovacic’s excellent performance against Villa. The Croatian bagged a goal and an assist.  

Summer loan signing Saul Niguez could also drop out having struggled last weekend. The Atletico Madrid midfielder was hauled off at half-time and replaced by Jorginho, who might start against Spurs.  

See also  Thomas Tuchel left ‘sad’ by Two Chelsea stars after fail to deliver in Arsenal defeat

The main team news, though, is that Tuchel has Kante available. The 30-year-old has recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool last month.  

Tuchel said: “N’Golo is back, and back in full shape and ready to play.”

The Chelsea boss has a plethora of options to choose from for the two roles behind Lukaku.  

Mount, Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have all featured this season. Christian Pulisic remains injured.  

Tuchel could choose to put Mount back in, having left the 22-year-old on the bench against Villa. The England midfielder was taken off early against Zenit, perhaps in anticipation of a start against Spurs. 

Germany star Havertz has started the season well. He could line up behind Lukaku, whose place in the team is one of the few that are guaranteed.

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Barcelona do not want to sign Ronaldo, Lewandowski is the priority

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Following the meeting between Barcelona and super-agent Jorge Mendes on Monday, there has been non-stop speculation that the Catalans have been offered a chance to sign Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 37-year-old is intent on securing an exit from Old Trafford this summer, just a year after returning to his old stomping ground.

The lack of Champions League football and the failure to sign any players so far have been cited as reasons for the Portuguese maverick to seek a move.

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There have been talks with Chelsea, while a move to Bayern Munich has also been mooted. And following the meeting between his agent Mendes and Barcelona president Joan Laporta, it is being heavily speculated that Ronaldo has been offered to the Blaugrana.

However, as per a report from journalist David Bernabeu Reverter, there is zero chance that Barcelona will sign Ronaldo this summer.

The Spanish journalist claims that Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski remains the utmost priority for the Blaugrana this summer and their stance on the matter is non-negotiable.

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Barça have been pursuing Lewandowski for months and even have a three-year contract agreement in place with the Poland captain.

However, Bayern Munich’s unwillingness to negotiate with the Catalans is proving to be a major hurdle.

In spite of that, the Blaugrana remain intent on signing Lewandowski and are not considering bringing in Ronaldo, as per the aforementioned update.

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Despite being 37, Ronaldo remains in tremendous shape and scored 24 goals in all competitions last season. However, he has a rich history with Real Madrid.

The Portugal captain is Los Blancos’ all-time leading goalscorer and a club legend. So, it is hard to fathom that a move to Camp Nou can materialise.

As things stand, at least according to what David Bernabeu Reverter’s sources are stating, Lewandowski is the absolute priority for Barcelona.

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Barcelona looking to renew La Masia midfielder before loaning him out

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A report from SPORT has offered a fresh update on the future of Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig. The 22-year-old finds himself out of favour at Camp Nou and is widely expected to depart this summer.

Puig has been courting serious interest from clubs in Spain and the rest of Europe. In particular,

Benfica and Fiorentina have been showing the strongest in signing the La Masia midfielder despite his struggles to establish a foothold in the Barça first-team setup.

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Benfica have been long-term admirers of the Spaniard and continue to retain an interest. As for Fiorentina, they are already believed to be in advanced negotiations with Puig over a possible move this summer.

While it was largely expected that Barcelona would sell Puig permanently, the report from SPORT claims otherwise. Indeed, as per the latest update, the Catalan giants do not plan on selling the 22-year-old outright.

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Instead, Barça plan to extend his contract and send him out on loan so that he can play regularly and kickstart his development which has stalled in recent seasons due to a lack of game-time.

Puig’s current contract with the Blaugrana expires in 2023 and the Catalans want to ensure that they extend the deal before he is sent out on loan.

The 22-year-old, for his part, has always desired to succeed at Camp Nou. However, he has accepted that a move away to a team where he can get regular minutes under his belt would be in his best interests.

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A loan move would likely appeal more to Puig than a permanent transfer as it would allow him a chance to return to Barcelona and prove himself next year.

With no shortage of takers for the 22-year-old La Masia graduate, it remains to be seen where he ends up.

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Barcelona offered the chance to sign Premier League midfielder, asking price set at €85m

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Barcelona’s business for the summer transfer window kicked off on Monday as they officially confirmed the signings of Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers.

The Blaugrana will now focus on getting the deals for Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha over the line while continuing to look for other market opportunities to strengthen their roster.

And, journalist Gerard Romero is now reporting that Barcelona have been offered a chance to sign Wolves and Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves by super-agent Jorge Mendes.

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The Portuguese agent was in Barcelona on Monday and is believed to have met club officials to discuss various potential deals.

And as per Romero, during the discussions, Neves has been once again offered to the Catalan giants by Mendes.

The 25-year-old has been identified as the heir apparent to Sergio Busquets for the pivot midfielder role.

Barça had been seriously considering a move for the former FC Porto ace this summer but were priced out of a move by Wolves.

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As a result, the La Liga giants decided to postpone their pursuit of Neves until 2023 as he would be entering the final year of his contract with the Premier League club then.

However, Mendes has now put the midfielder’s name back on the table at Barcelona, although with the Portuguese international’s asking price set at a massive €85 million, it is hard to imagine that the Blaugrana will be in a position to go after him.

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As iterated earlier, Barça have Lewandowski and Raphinha as their top priorities at the moment while they are also working to sign Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and Jules Kounde to strengthen the defence.

So, splashing €85 million on Neves this summer seems like an unlikely prospect

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