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Fulham need to tie down Slavisa Jokanovic amid Chelsea interest

The Serbian has been linked with Stamford Bridge in recent weeks.

Jake Jackman



Slavisa Jokanovic
Photo: Getty Images

Fulham will have ramped up their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season after clinching promotion last weekend in the play-off final.

The Cottagers have the least time out of any team in next season’s competition and they can’t afford to be slow over the coming weeks, especially as the transfer window is closing earlier in 2018.

It is generally agreed that the London outfit have a good foundation from which to build on and their manager Slavisa Jokanovic is central to that.

However, speculation has emerged in recent days that he is catching the eye of a bigger club.

The reliable Gianluca Di Marzio reports that Chelsea have met with Jokanovic about the potential vacancy at Stamford Bridge.

The Serbian coach speaks the native tongue of Roman Abramovich and previously turned out for the Blues as a player.

The report goes on to state that the Fulham manager is a candidate for the post, but there are concerns about his lack of experience. Laurent Blanc and Maurizio Sarri are other figures that have been linked.

Chelsea are facing a crucial summer of rebuilding, but the question of who will be the manager next season has yet to be answered.

That is a huge concern and the fact that Jokanovic has emerged as a contender suggests that they haven’t been able to get in the man that they want.

The Fulham coach would represent an exciting option, but his managerial CV doesn’t scream Champions League manager and that is what the Blues have become accustomed to.

Although Chelsea supporters may not be delighted about the possibility of appointing Jokanovic, this rumour will be concerning for Fulham and their fans.

The Cottagers have returned to the Premier League after four seasons outside of the top-flight and their manager has been a key reason for their promotion.

He has established an entertaining style of play and used his connections to sign players that are above Championship standard.

A great example of Jokanovic’s influence in the transfer market was the loan signing of countryman Aleksandar Mitrovic.

It was a huge coup for Fulham and the striker appeared to be the missing piece of the jigsaw, as the team went on an excellent run of form after he joined.

The 23-year-old finished the season with 12 goals to his name and he will now go into the World Cup as a wanted man.

The Cottagers will want to get him signed to a permanent deal, but to do so, they will likely need their manager to stay at Craven Cottage.

Sky Sports report that Fulham are set to enter talks over a new contract and negotiations will start when he returns from holiday.

It is clear that the club know the value of their manager and want to put an end to exit rumours as soon as possible.

Jokanovic has previously been in conflict with the board over the transfer policy, as he believes his thoughts are often ignored. Those complaints quietened down in January, but they will still be on the mind of the manager.

He will use the interest from Chelsea to gain more influence at Craven Cottage before signing a new deal.

It is important that Fulham get this sorted as soon as possible. The interest at Chelsea may not be very serious, but Jokanovic is clever enough to use it to get the assurances that he needs to continue building the club in his image.

If this drags on, it could impact the club in the transfer market and that would be very damaging. It needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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Crystal Palace’s hopes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek return boosted after latest comments

The midfielder is unlikely to get what he’s after at his parent club.

Jamie Watts



Ruben Loftus-Cheek has boosted Crystal Palace‘s hopes of securing his services for another season, after claiming he will only remain with Chelsea this summer if guaranteed a regular first-team spot at Stamford Bridge next season, in quotes via Sky Sports.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park after making just 31 appearances for Chelsea since his debut in 2014, and his immense talents have earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this World Cup.

Photo: Getty Images

“I want to play as much as I can,” revealed Loftus-Cheek. “Even this past season just gone, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked because of injuries. So I still feel I need a proper season of playing, wherever it is.”

Loftus-Cheek made 25 appearances for Roy Hodgson’s outfit last term, and is still unhappy with the amount of minutes he managed, so it’s pretty safe to assume Chelsea – given the disastrous domestic season they’ve just had – won’t be bettering his previous return, or be prioritising taking chances on academy products next season.

And Palace will be keen to offer the stylish midfielder a deal to extend his stay with the former England manager, where, if available, he will continue to be considered one of the first names on the team-sheet.

Photo: Getty Images

Palace are likely to face competition from rival clubs though, as Loftus-Cheek is emerging as a star on the biggest stage of all in Russia; having flourished in his brief cameo against Tunisia. And he’s now considered likely to start against Panama, with Dele Alli nursing a slight injury.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa could reportedly owe John Terry £560,000 in wages

The owner may have to sell shares in the club.

Jamie Watts



Aston Villa’s financial mess looks likely to continue, as the cash-strapped club could now owe captain John Terry a whopping £560,000 in wages, unless he transfers to a different club this summer, according to reports from the Times.

Villa are said to have reached an agreement with HMRC to postpone a payment of £4 million last week, but a further payment is expected this week and the club owner Tony Xia may have to go as far as to sell shares in the club to ensure all debts are paid.

The ex-Chelsea legend announced his impending departure from the midlands club last month, after they failed to secure Premier League promotion in the play-offs and his current contract is due to expire at the end of the month. But he is said to be entitled to a further month’s pay.

Photo: Getty Images

His weekly-wage packet was said to be worth £70,000 at Villa Park, meaning the overdue payments from the last two-months add up to over half-a-million for the 37-year-old defender. However, the outstanding July payment will only stand if Terry retires or remains a free-agent, meaning Villa will be keen to land him a new club.

Villa reportedly need £40 million in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations (Birmingham Mail), after gambling that they would gain promotion to the Premier League this season.

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England must start Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Panama reveal tactics

England must opt for creativity after the Panama captain’s comments

Jamie Watts



Panama have revealed plans stifle England with a physical approach in their upcoming clash on Sunday, in quotes from captain Roman Torres on the Telegraph, and Gareth Southgate should ensure the Three Lions’ approach is suited to the style of opponent.

The Central Americans were beaten 3-0 by a star-studded Belgium outfit on Monday in their World Cup debut, meaning a win against England is pivotal in ensuring they remain in the competition beyond the group stages. And England will have a tough task taking the lion’s share of points on the day.

“England are a bit more direct than Belgium. They try to make use of the pace they have. We’ll need to be compact and limit their space,” revealed Torres told the Telegraph.

Photo: Getty Images

And as a result England must employ the right tactics. Creativity and bravery will be key, as they will undoubtedly have the majority of possession, and Southgate will want to make it count. Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added instant impetus to a languid outfit, after coming on late against Tunisia.

The team’s performance became full of purpose and directness in the last 20 minutes, with both taking the responsibility of carrying the ball forward and creating, and from that arrived the corner and subsequent winner from Harry Kane.

Photo: Getty Images

The end product from the likes of Rashford was missing in the opening stages of the game also, as team-mate Jesse Lingard squandered a number of key opportunities to put the game to bed early, and Southgate will not want a repeat this time around.

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