Paper Round: Chelsea to reunite Enrique and Suarez
Chelsea want Luis Enrique and Luis Suarez, Antonio Conte won’t make his exit easy, Arsenal are interested in Daniele Rugani, and Thibaut Courtois could join Real Madrid.
Chelsea to make Suarez Enrique’s first signing
Chelsea are planning on replacing Antonio Conte with Luis Enrique. Conte is on the brink at Chelsea after a 4-1 defeat against Watford on Monday night, and Roman Abramovich wants to bring Enrique to London after his break from football. Abramovich also wants to make current Barcelona striker Luis Suarez his first signing for Enrique. It is not clear if the Catalan club would be prepared to let him go.
Paper Round’s view: Enrique had an inconsistent time at Barcelona but for a period he got the best football of Suarez’s career. As Alvaro Morata is struggling, Suarez would be able to provide the energy and aggression to aid him in attack, and might even prove to be a suitable replacement for Eden Hazard on the left side of the attack. The only concern is that at 31 he could be considered past his best.
Conte won’t go easily
Antonio Conte does not intend to step aside at Stamford Bridge, and according to The Mirror, Abramovich has no plans to sack him - for now. Chelsea believe that as long as Conte is on course to achieve a top four finish and remains in the Champions League, there is no reason to panic and remove him. Conte, who has 18 months to run on his contract, has also made it clear that he won’t quit the club.
Paper Round’s view: Looking for the subtext, one possible impression to take from this story is that the two parties are making it plain that they won’t move first. Conte is on £9m a year, so understandably may be reluctant to walk away from a job and financial security. By the same token, Chelsea could be trying to force Conte out without having to stump up £9m in compensation so that they can bring in their new man.
Arsenal target Rugani
Arsene Wenger is planning for reinforcements in the summer transfer window. One target is Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, who is struggling to break into the first team in Turin. Rugani is just 23, and his agent has said that while Arsenal have not launched an official bid for the Italian, they are keen to bring him to The Emirates.
Paper Round’s view: Arsenal were in the market for a central defender in the winter transfer but were unable to complete a deal as they focused on the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang transfer. With Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal, there is clearly room for improvement at the back for Wenger, but it is hard to see if a Juventus reserve is the man to make the difference at the top end of the Premier League table. Wenger increasingly struggles to identify bargains in the transfer market, especially when it comes to defenders.
Courtois: My heart is in Madrid
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is in talks for a new contract at Stamford Bridge, but has said that his heart is in Madrid, and that he would be interested in a move to Real Madrid should it be a possibility. Courtois’ two children live in Madrid, a city he lived in during his three seasons at Atletico, and he is finding it difficult to be separated from them. This makes him open to the possibility of a return to Spain.
Paper Round’s view: As David de Gea has shown, there is a real pull to join Real Madrid not just for the trophies, but when it also suits a player’s personal life. As much as Chelsea need a player of the calibre of Courtois, they are generally accommodating when it comes to releasing players in these kinds of circumstances. If Real Madrid offer up a sizeable fee in return for Chelsea’s co-operation, it is easy to see a deal being done before his contract runs out.