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Frank Lampard reacts as government sanction Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

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Frank Lampard admits his former club Chelsea are going through a ‘tough moment’ after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.

The government sanctioned Abramovich and a number of other Russian oligarchs as part of its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions are intended to stop Abramovich from making money from Chelsea and the announcement has halted his plans to sell the Premier League club.

A special licence granted by the government permits Chelsea to keep operating but the club’s future is certainly uncertain, with former star Pat Nevin saying the west Londoners could be in ‘serious danger’.

Reacting to the sanctions imposed on Abramovich and his former club Chelsea, Everton manager Lampard said on Friday afternoon: ‘Well I don’t know the specifics about it other than what all of us have read.

‘I haven’t seen the headlines about people losing their jobs but clearly I managed there for almost two years, I played there for 13 years, so I’ve got plenty of friends at the club and behind the scenes.

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‘Obviously from a human level I care about it, especially if it means people are losing their jobs. I don’t know the detail on it.

‘I care about the fans of Chelsea who will be there from the beginning and before us and will be there after us.

‘It’s a tough moment for the club. I don’t want to hang on it too much because I’m the manager of Everton and that’s absolutely my priority.

‘But of course on a human level, for people who are just doing their jobs and giving everything to their jobs – and if those jobs are in danger – you care a lot about that.’

Asked how the Chelsea players will be feeling amid the uncertainty, Lampard added: ‘A lot of players will just concentrate on the job at hand.

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‘I tried to do that as a player but this is bigger than that, I understand that. There is some doubt and uncertainty over the future, not just at Chelsea but in the world when we see what’s happening on the news.’

Chelsea were not distracted by the chaos at the club on Thursday night as they beat bottom-placed Norwich City 3-1 to strengthen their grip on third place in the Premier League.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel said: ‘The first half was brilliant. You have a 2-0 lead, It feels like a 3-0 or 4-0 lead.

‘Then you give a penalty away and concede and things get complicated. It’s life. I’m happy with the result.’

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On the speculation surrounding Chelsea following the sanctions, Tuchel added: ‘It is big news. It is huge and has a huge impact of course so it is the subject of the talks.

‘Maybe on a day like this you would talk about the Champions League games last night but nobody talks about this. So it nice to enter a schedule before a match as it helps to focus as we’re used to it.

‘We cannot influence it so we allowed ourselves to enjoy it. We have the privilege to play and sometimes it’s good to sweat it out. We tried to work hard to get the focus out.

‘I would love to talk about sport but of course I understand you have a lot of questions. We are also an entertainment so that’s why it is like this.’

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Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report

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As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

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Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

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Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m

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Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

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For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

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To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

See also  Thomas Tuchel praises ‘quality’ Chelsea FC star after win at Newcastle

With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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