Chelsea determined to keep Hazard, Courtois from leaving for Real Madrid

Antonio Conte has insisted Eden Hazard is strong enough to handle challenges from the opposition.

The football world’s gossip mill is in full swing, and Transfer Talk is monitoring the whispers ahead of all the summer moves. Check out the latest deals here.

Chelsea won’t let Real steal Hazard

Chelsea are ready to offer Eden Hazard a new contract and a pay rise in order to ward off interest from Real Madrid, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The 26-year-old has been central to Chelsea establishing themselves as the top team in the Premier League this season, scoring 11 goals and setting up another four so far. Although he signed a new five-year contract in 2015 — a deal worth £200,000 a week that made him the club’s highest-paid player — it is said Hazard could be offered a new deal to guarantee he remains top earner at Stamford Bridge.

The Guardian claimed on Thursday that Real are planning a double swoop for Hazard and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and could potentially offer James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata in exchange. But, according to the Telegraph, Chelsea are confident that both Hazard and Courtois are happy at Stamford Bridge and will not look to move on at the end of the season.

Liverpool, Chelsea chase Van Dijk

Liverpool and Chelsea are both after Virgil van Dijk this spring, but the London Evening Standard reckons Southampton want a fee similar to the £50 million Manchester City paid for John Stones before they let the Netherlands international leave.

Southampton could have a hard time keeping Virgil van Dijk out of the clutches of bigger Premier League clubs this summer.

Van Dijk, who signed a six-year contract with Southampton in 2016, has become one of the top defenders in the Premier League, and with Liverpool and Chelsea both in the market for defensive upgrades, it makes sense that they are considering the 25-year-old.

It is reported that Antonio Conte already has earmarked the right side of his three-man central defence for van Dijk and hopes guaranteed Champions League football can entice him to Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp is relying on Liverpool’s storied history and style of play alongside their core of former Southampton players — including Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane — to tempt him up north.

Kessie may prefer Prem to Serie A

The manner of Franck Kessie’s breakthrough season in Serie A means he will have no shortage of suitors come the summer, with Napoli and Roma reportedly among them.

According to Tuttosport, the 20-year-old Atalanta midfielder will be one of the leading characters in the summer transfer window, but rather than stay in Italy, Kessie apparently would prefer a move to the Premier League. Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have all been linked with the €25m-rated Ivory Coast international.

Stevie Nicol says Manchester United should throw the kitchen sink at Antoine Griezmann to lure him from Atletico Madrid.


– Barcelona are weighing up a summer move for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, according to the Telegraph. The Algeria international — and many of his teammates — have not enjoyed the kind of success this season that they did in last year’s Premier League title-winning campaign, but they are still alive in the Champions League. And some of the credit for that has to go to the playmaking prowess of 26-year-old Mahrez. However, the Telegraph adds Leicester are firm that they won’t let last year’s PFA Player of the Year go for less than £40m.

The La Liga giants are also keeping tabs on Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez, and Sport claims they hope to exploit their relationship with the Eredivisie club’s sporting director, Marc Overmars, to ensure they receive first refusal on the 20-year-old Colombian. Sanchez joined Ajax on a five-year contract last summer and has become a regular fixture in Peter Bosz’s team.

Bild claims that Johan Djourou could return to the Premier League with West Ham this summer after falling out of favour at Hamburg. The 30-year-old former Arsenal defender will become a free agent when his contract expires at the end of the season.

– Crystal Palace have kept three consecutive clean sheets, but manager Sam Allardyce is looking to upgrade his defence in the summer, according to reports in Turkey. Milliyet claims Galatasaray defender Lionel Carole, who was a reported target for the club in January, is the subject of a €7m offer.

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