Days after Antonio Conte made it clear that Nemanja Matic would not be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer, with the Express claiming that Juventus had made a £25 million approach for the Serbian. However, they now report on claims in Italy that suggest that Matic is desperate to make the switch and is planning to force through a move, with some claims going as far as to say that he has told Roman Abramovich that he has no interest in playing for the Blues this season.
It remains to be seen if Conte will allow the midfielder to depart, particularly so close to the start of the season, with no replacement lined up. Matic’s form was questionable at best last summer and some fans will feel that now is the time to cash in on him while Juventus monitor his situation, but few would be keen to take the gamble of losing such an important player with the season days away and no alternative of the same quality to replace him.
One man who could fill the gap left by Matic could be Brazilian wonderkid Thiago Maia. The Express report that Santos’ president is in London to negotiate with the club over a £15 million move for the holding midfielder who is currently in action at the Olympics. Having shone for Santos and now having been called up to the Brazil under-23 squad despite his youth, it is clear to see why he is tipped for greatness by many.
PSG are also said to be monitoring the 19-year-old and will be able to match Chelsea’s financial offer but the Blues are hoping that their Brazilian contingent including the likes of Willian, Oscar and Kennedy, will do enough to persuade Maia that a move to London will be the best next step in his career as he seeks to reach his full potential and become one of the world’s best players. At £15 million, it may be a gamble to replace Matic with someone so inexperienced, but there are bags of potential for Maia to develop to be a far superior player.
Another key player who could be on his way out is Spanish winger Pedro, who only arrived last summer from Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo claim that the 29-year-old is seeking an exit after Antonio Conte made it clear that he favours both Willian and Juan Cuadrado on the right side of attack, with Valencia said to be preparing an offer to rescue the winger who scored seven times in 27 league games last season.
Pedro is yet to live up to the exciting expectations he brought with him from the Camp Nou last summer, with his pace and skill not on display as Chelsea spent much of last season under intense pressure following a poor start and a number of disappointing performances. At 29, Pedro may feel that he doesn’t have time to sit on the bench under Conte, and with Valencia seeking to rejuvenate their side this summer such a move could be an exciting project for the man from the Canary Islands.
The funds from the sale of Pedro may well go towards Chelsea’s bid for a striker with Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi now the top target according to Metro. With the Argentinean available for £50 million, he is within budget and would bring goals to Stamford Bridge having scored frequently in Spain and Italy in his career so far.
New boss Frank de Boer has stated that he is reluctant to sell Icardi, currently club captain, but the forward seems unswayed in his desire to leave, with Arsenal also monitoring the situation. The situation is now becoming increasingly urgent for the Blues as they near the season with Michy Batshuayi as the only forward reinforcement and Loic Remy increasingly nearing the exit.
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