Premier League champions Manchester City have turned to Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic after losing out in their pursuit of former Napoli midfielder Jorginho.
The Brazil-born Italy international was understood to be Pep Guardiola’s chief midfield target and City had already agreed over a deal that would have seen the player move to Manchester. However, Chelsea have since swooped in to sign the player on a five-year contract.
The Etihad side are said to be furious over the recent proceedings but are now looking elsewhere in the hopes of beefing up their midfield ahead of the upcoming season.
According to the Daily Star, the Madrid and Croatia midfielder has emerged as a target. Kovacic, who only managed 10 league starts for Real last season, is unsatisfied with his role at the club and wants out.
Madrid, meanwhile, are willing to sell the player, but not for a fee below their valuation of £80m.
City only just signed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for a club-record £60m fee. And given their penchant for passing up on players who would have them exceed a certain budget, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds – if there’s any truth to the story, that is.
Various outlets are also reporting that the club will sign Paris Saint-Germain wonderkid Claudio Gomes when he turns 18 later this month.
Gomes is rated as one of the best young players in France at the moment and he is expected to quit the Ligue 1 side to sign a five-year deal with the Premier League supremos this summer.
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been awarded the 2018 World Cup’s Golden Ball following the culmination of a remarkable tournament.
The event, held in Russia, came to an end this Sunday as France recorded a thrilling 4-2 win over Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Mario Manzukic’s early own goal put France ahead after the forward got his head to Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick delivery into the box. Ivan Perisic tied things up with a scintillating equaliser, but the attacker later went from hero to zero, getting his outstretched arm to a ball in the box to hand the French a penalty.
Griezmann restored France’s lead with a cool finish from the spot in the 38th minute and second-half goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe seemed to wrap the affair up. Hugo Lloris, however, gifted the Croats a second with a clumsy touch that saw Mandzukic poke home.
The comeback wasn’t to be completed though, with Les Bleus holding on to their two-goal lead to emerge 2018’s very best following their Euro 16 final heartbreak two years ago.
Prior to the trophy being lifted, Mbappe was named the FIFA Young Player of the tournament, rather unsurprisingly.
And, as mentioned above, Modric was deservedly awarded the tournament’s Golden Ball, having led his nation to the final with several solid performances from midfield.
The Real Madrid ace is understandably disappointed not to have coupled his accolade with the World Cup trophy, yet all of Croatia can hold their heads high after their players put in multiple class performances during the tournament.
Former Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has finally arrived in Turin, having completed a €105m move to ?Juventus last week.
The Portugal international has spent the last nine years of his career at the Santiago Bernabeu but is now set to head into a novel challenge with Champions League hopefuls Juve, who are eager to get past that final hurdle in Europe.
Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner, is still at the peak of his powers despite being on the wrong side of 30. The forward has scored 49 goals for club and country since the beginning of last season, and will likely embellish the already potent I Bianconeri attack next term.
He’s set to become a mega-earner as well after penning a four-year deal worth €30m a season.
On Sunday, Juve announced the arrival of the Ronaldo in Turin via their official Twitter account, posting a photo of the attacker walking across an airstrip after landing in Italy.
“These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life,” Ronaldo wrote to the Madrid fans upon his exit.
“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for this hobby and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received.
“However, I believe that the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me. I feel that way and I ask everyone, and especially our followers, to please understand me.”
?Eden Hazard has confirmed that after six years at Chelsea, the time may have come for him to find a new challenge elsewhere.
Hazard was one of the key components in Belgium’s record high finish of third at this summer’s World Cup. The forward has produced a number of eye catching performances that have ramped up rumours that he could be on his way out of west London in this transfer window.
The Belgian has done nothing to quash the fears of Chelsea fans either, stating that a new challenge may be on the horizon.
He said, as quoted by Kristof Terreur: “After six wonderful years at Chelsea it might be time to discover something different. Certainly after this World Cup. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision – if they want to let me go. You know my preferred destination.”
Hazard also commented on Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea appointment, ?quipping: “We knew already for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. If he’s a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has told me he’s a good coach. We’ll have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio too.”
Hazard’s preferred destination is understood to be Real Madrid, with the Spanish club frequently being linked to the Belgian this summer.
After the departure of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid would certainly be looking to make a marquee signing this summer, and Hazard appears to fit the bill. Chelsea will be looking for an astronomical transfer fee however, and Real will have to fork out if they want to get their man.
?Michael Laudrup has fuelled rumours of Eden Hazard moving to ?Real Madrid, claiming that the ?Chelsea winger told him the deal was nearing completion.
Hazard has previously described playing for Real Madrid as “everyone’s dream”, refusing to rule out the possibility of leaving Stamford Bridge this summer.
His performances for Belgium at the World Cup have seen his stock rise even further, and now former Swansea manager Laudrup has confidently stated that the 27-year-old will be on his way to the Spanish capital in due course.
“I spoke to Eden Hazard a few days ago, he is preparing for a move to Real Madrid and it is a good move both for him and for Real,” Laurdrup told ?S?portske Novosti. “Again in Russia, he proved how good he is.”
New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri may try to convince Hazard to stay at the club, but the lure of Champions League football might be too much for him to resist.
Speaking before Belgium’s World Cup elimination against France, Hazard seemed interested in the possibility of moving to Madrid, but denied that any approach had been made.
“I think Real is everyone’s dream,” he told ?beIN SPOR?TS. “For now, it’s the World Cup. As I have said at least 100 times, I am at Chelsea and for the moment nobody has made me an offer.”
Hazard has made 300 appearances since joining Chelsea from Lille in 2012, scoring 89 goals. He won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in the 2013/14 season and followed it up by winning the PFA Player of the Year award the following year.
The transfer fee could be as much as £150m, which would be a British record and the third most expensive deal of all time.