Hazard staying, Koulibaly coming for Chelsea; Barca scout Arsenal’s Bellerin

Shaka Hislop evaluates the latest rumours around football, including talks of Eden Hazard’s future plans.

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

Hazard to shun Real Madrid for Chelsea stay

There are two helpings of good news for Chelsea fans in today’s Transfer Talk. Not only is Eden Hazard committed to the club and likely to spurn the advances of Real Madrid this summer, but also their long-term pursuit of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly could finally be completed.

The London Evening Standard reports that European champions Real want to make a marquee signing in the summer, and Hazard ticks all the right boxes after being influential for Chelsea as they storm toward the Premier League title. However, the Belgium international is content at Stamford Bridge and is said to have no intention of linking up with his idol, Zinedine Zidane, in Spain.

Meanwhile, the Standard claimed that Koulibaly’s agent is not ruling out a move for his client at the end of the season, amid interest from Chelsea. Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Antonio Rudiger of Roma are also targets for the club, while 20-year-old Andreas Christensen is expected to return after spending two seasons on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Barca scouting Premier League talent

Barcelona are planning for a future without Luis Enrique, and they have had sporting director Robert Fernandez and scout Urbano Ortega in London this week to check out players from Chelsea and Arsenal.

Barca scouts were reportedly in London on Tuesday to watch Hector Bellerin against Bayern Munich.

The Daily Star reckoned the pair took in Chelsea’s win at West Ham and kept a particularly close eye on Spanish duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso as well as midfielder Nemanja Matic. The following night, they were present as Arsenal exited the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich with a view to watching Hector Bellerin.

The good news for Arsenal is that having seen Bellerin concede five goals against Bayern, maybe Barcelona will look elsewhere. But it is reported that the high salaries earned by Premier League players might get in the way of Barca’s interest.

Juventus to swoop for Bayern’s Costa

The Sun claimed Juventus are interested in signing Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa, who has said he could “find another team” at the end of the season.

It could be a summer of major upheaval for the Bundesliga champions, with influential duo Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso both set to retire.

Costa, who contends for a place on the flanks with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, has started only 11 of Bayern’s 23 Bundesliga games this season, which led to the 26-year-old’s admitting that he isn’t always happy at the club following the Champions League victory against Arsenal on Tuesday.

Steve Nicol examines the arguments for N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard to win the Premier League’s top individual honour.


— AC Milan hope to sign Gerard Deulofeu to a permanent contract and have contacted Barcelona about making that happen, according to Calcio Mercato. Although Deulofeu is on loan from Everton, the player’s former club, Barca, have a first-refusal option, and Milan want to see if they intend to exercise that right before arranging a deal.

— Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna, who will become a free agent in the summer, is a target for West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. The right-back spent seven years at Arsenal before moving north with City, and the Sun claimed the 34-year-old is keen on a return to London in order to play regular football.

— The same paper claims Juventus right-back Dani Alves is wanted by Pep Guardiola to replace Sagna at City as part of a defensive overhaul. Alves was one of Guardiola’s first signings at Barcelona, and they won two Champions League titles together.

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