Chelsea want Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski to replace Romelu Lukaku – see Sportzshala’s insider notebook for the latest. PLUS: Why Barcelona missed the opportunity to sign Darwin Nunes to Liverpool.

- Advertisement -

Jump on: Barcelona lacked Darwin. | FA outraged by backlash against Southgate | Bilbao takes aim at Pochettino

Lukaku leaves, Lewandowski stays?

- Advertisement -

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel would like to replace Romelu Lukaku with Robert Lewandowski, but there are serious obstacles to completing both deals, sources told Sportzshala.

- Advertisement -

Lukaku is eager to return to Inter Milan and endured a disappointing first season at Stamford Bridge – scoring eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances – after leaving the Serie A club for €115m last summer.

Sources told Sportzshala that talks have taken place between Lukaku and the club in recent days, during which Chelsea have indicated their willingness to allow the Belgian striker to leave the club. However, the Blues want to recoup much of the club’s record fee they paid just a year earlier, while Inter are short on cash and would prefer a loan deal.

Chelsea were initially asking for between €20m and €25m on loan to Lukaku for just one season to make up for the depreciation in his transfer fee given he turns 30 next year. However, they are now willing to agree to a significantly lower pay and negotiations are ongoing – it is yet to be decided whether any agreement will include the option or obligation to make the move permanent, or what his £300,000 per week wage will be. . paid.

– No Sportzshala? Get instant access
– Complete Premier League schedule for 2022-23
– New season: unmissable storylines

At the same time, Chelsea are looking for their own striker to rebuild their attack. Chelsea were interested in Erling Haaland but were unable to compete with Manchester City due to transfer-blocking sanctions imposed by the UK government over former owner Roman Abramovich’s alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tuchel has been a longtime fan of Lewandowski, who has confirmed his intention to leave Bayern Munich and believes he will thrive in the Premier League despite turning 34 in August. The Poland international has been closely linked with a €40m move to Barcelona as reports surfaced in Spain this week that he verbally agreed to a deal, but a lack of funds is holding things back.

Several rivals are looking to any uncertainty with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United among clubs linked to Lewandowski. Sources told Sportzshala that Tuchel urged Chelsea to enter the race if there was a chance a deal could be struck.

But if Lewandowski moves to Barcelona, ​​Chelsea will turn their attention to other targets. It is not clear at this stage which alternative they will choose but the Blues have been informed of the availability of Gabriel Jesus at City – Sportzshala reported on 19 May that Arsenal have been awarded a £55m fee for signing the Brazilian player – and the Blues asked to be kept up to date with any developments as a number of clubs show interest. Sportzshala reported on Thursday that Arsenal are close to signing the striker.

Chelsea could offer Champions League football to Jesus, but the 25-year-old has a good relationship with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta when they played together at City. The Blues have also been eyeing RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunka, who could be worth up to €100m. — James Ollie

Barca let go of Darwin due to lucrative fee

Darwin Nunez’s new €100m Liverpool contract almost went to Barcelona for just €8m two years ago, but the La Liga side pulled out of the bidding when Benfica intervened, sources told Sportzshala.

Former Barça sporting director Ramon Plains, who was instrumental in signing Pedri and Ronald Araujo, made a deal with Almería in the summer of 2020 to sign Nunez and keep him on loan in the Spanish second division for the season.

– New Liverpool signing: Darwin dominance statistics

Manager Ronald Koeman also gave the green light to the transfer as Barça were looking for a long-term replacement for Luis Suárez, but Benfica made a €24 million offer and the Catalans withdrew their interest.

Uruguay striker Suarez himself advised Barca to push through a deal for his compatriot. “I told them, ‘Take care of Darwin. Follow him, he is very good, ”he said earlier. “I was told that he is at Almeria and is still very young, but instead of paying 100 million euros, [now]at that time it would have been 20 million euros and for example he could replace [me].”

Nunes joined another of Suárez’s former teams this week by signing a €75m Liverpool deal that could reach €100m with add-ons, while Barca look to fill their No. 9 need by targeting Lewandowski. . — Sam Marsden and Moses Llorence

Football Association outraged by backlash against Southgate

Football Association officials were shocked at the level of criticism of Gareth Southgate on Tuesday when he lost 4-0 to Hungary in the UEFA Nations League, but remain fully supportive of the England manager, sources told Sportzshala.

The much-changed squad at Molineux saw England’s worst record at home since 1928, leading to chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” and “you’ll be fired in the morning” aimed at the 51-year-old. old.

Last summer, Southgate led England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and their first major final in 55 years, missing out on the Euro 2020 crown on penalties to Italy.

Sources told Sportzshala that FA officials were taken aback by the fans’ reaction to Southgate, given that he had previously been very popular with the fans and achieved so much during his time in office.

There is no suggestion that Southgate’s position is in jeopardy ahead of the final in Qatar this November. He has a contract until 2024, but the usual post-tournament review will include an assessment of his future. It remains possible that Southgate could step down from the role. Just last week, he said he “won’t refuse my hospitality” as England manager and, having held the post since 2016, sources have told Sportzshala that there are several staff members at the FA who believe he may end his tenure. in positions depending on the outcome of the match. Qatar.

Tournament performance will be the deciding factor, but Southgate attaches great importance to the public perception of his suitability for the job. So Tuesday night was far from a knockout blow, but left its mark. — James Ollie

Bilbao takes aim at Pochettino

Sources told Sportzshala that Mauricio Pochettino is a prime target to take over Athletic Bilbao if Ricardo Barcala is elected as the club’s new president later this month.

Barcala has already convinced former Barcelona sporting director Ramon Plains to join his project, which he hopes will convince Pochettino to accept the job. Planes and Pochettino previously worked together at Espanyol and Tottenham and remain close.

Sources told Sportzshala earlier this week that Pochettino will be stepping down as Paris Saint-Germain manager after just 18 months on the job, removing one hurdle for Barkala.

Athletic members will vote for a new president on June 24, with Barkala becoming one of three candidates running in the election. John Uriarte is the favorite. The third candidate is Inaki Arechabaleta, who will reportedly look to bring in Marcelo Bielsa as coach if elected.

Former Athletic manager Marcelino left the club at the end of the season, taking them to eighth place in La Liga, missing out on Europe on the last day of the campaign. He cited uncertainty about his future due to the upcoming elections as the reason for his departure. — Sam Marsden and Moses Llorence.