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Tottenham and Chelsea chase Fernando Llorente – Which club will he choose?

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Llorente

Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente looks set to take up a central role on deadline day as Chelsea and Tottenham battle for his signature, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague on Twitter.

He claims that Tottenham have offered more money for the 32-year-old in a surprising late twist, after ESPN had earlier stated that Chelsea were in advanced talks with the Swans over a deadline day move from Wales to London.

Entering into the final year of his contract and having scored 15 Premier League goals last season, Llorente is clearly and understandably a player in demand. Husband experience at some of Europe’s biggest clubs, such as Juventus, Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao, are only likely to help convince both London clubs that he could be a valuable option to a side facing the challenge of the Champions League.

It was at Juventus that he worked under Antonio Conte, which may tip the scales in favour of a move to west London rather than north London. Playing under the Italian, Llorente thrived and had some of the best form of his career, registering 18 goals and 6 assists from 45 games.

That spell in Turin also saw him play alongside fellow Spaniard Alvaro Morata. The ex-Real Madrid man moved to Chelsea this summer and it’s expected that if Llorente joins, he will help him to adapt to the Premier League with his experience and will play alongside him as well as being his understudy. Given that no option in the Chelsea squad offers the physicality that Llorente possesses, similar to that of Diego Costa, he could get regular game time.

At Wembley, Llorente would surely play an understudy role to Harry Kane too. Given Mauricio Pochettino‘s one striker system, it is hard to envisage how he would ever truely become a regular in the starting line-up unless there is an injury to Kane.

Money talks, but the opportunity to team up with several former colleagues at Stamford Bridge, including joining the sizeable Spanish contingent at Chelsea, is likely to tip the scales in favour of a move to the Blues. Even with that in mind, on deadline day anything can happen.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Chelsea

Chelsea face Alvaro Morata decision amid Borussia Dortmund interest

The Spaniard could be set to leave the Blues after just one season.

Jake Jackman

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Morata
Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea have a summer of restructuring ahead of them, but the progress has been slow to date.

Antonio Conte remains in the manager’s hotseat, despite plenty of rumours to suggest that he is unlikely to be in the dugout for the first game of the 2018/19 season.

The Blues won’t be in the Champions League for the second time in three years and that is likely to affect their transfer business in a negative way.

They will realise the importance of selling players in order to bring in the funds required to strengthen.

Talksport and the Daily Mail both cite reports originating from Bild suggesting that Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata.

The German club are believed to have made the Spaniard a top priority as they try to add a top-tier striker to their ranks.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Last season, they loaned Michy Batshuayi from Stamford Bridge and the Belgian striker did very well for the club, but they have now switched their attention to his team-mate.

Morata endured an off first season in the Premier League, facing a lot of criticism for his performances, despite finishing the campaign with a decent return in front of goal.

His contribution of 11 goals and six assists in the Premier League isn’t bad, but Chelsea expected more from a striker that they spent big on last summer.

It was hoped that he would play a similar role to Diego Costa, but he lacked his international team-mate’s aggression in the final third.

It can be argued that he was a more selfless striker and he often chose to bring his team-mates into the game at every opportunity, but the lack of a regular supply of goals did hurt Chelsea.

They became over-reliant on Eden Hazard and Willian. Meanwhile, the tactical set-up of Antonio Conte was a lot less effective without a top-tier striker.

There will be many at Chelsea that remain behind Morata and will be willing to give him time, but if the interest from Dortmund is genuine, it may be too good to turn down.

Although they aren’t in the Champions League, the Blues remain one of the biggest clubs in Europe and they will have the pulling power to attract a top striker.

At this time, their Spanish number nine has maintained his value in the transfer market, but another average season may see that plummet.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The problem at Chelsea right now is that their future direction both in the boardroom and in the dugout are unclear.

This period of uncertainty is hurting the club as they are unable to make decisions on members of the current squad and potential transfer targets.

Antonio Conte will have different ideas than a potential successor and until a clear decision is made on the manager, no moves can be made in the transfer market.

His first season in England will have been a disappointment for Morata and he will be eager to prove that he remains one of the best strikers in the world.

A player doesn’t have Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea on their CV without having a lot of talent.

At the age of 25, he still has his best years ahead of him and it might be worth keeping him in the hope that there is an improvement.

However, the Blues need to return to the Champions League next season and their current number nine may not be up to the task of delivering that.

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Chelsea

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

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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

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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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