Chelsea dominate Friday’s transfer tittle-tattle, what with the dust still settling on their Champions League humbling at the hands of Bayern Munich. The Sun opt for a slightly melodramatic “Hateful Eight” headline as they reveal that Frank Lampard is ready to offload no fewer than – you’ve guessed it – eight “flops” in a summer clear-out, with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, midfielders Jorginho, Willian, Pedro and Ross Barkley, and defenders Marcos Alonso, Kurt Zouma and Emerson all facing a brutal summer cull.
While the likelihood of Lampard getting rid of all eight players in one window seems unlikely, to say the least, his plans for a squad overhaul will also require the purchase of several replacements to join Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech, who is already Stamford Bridge-bound. Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell remains a target, while Chelsea also tried and failed to sign Wilfried Zaha and Moussa Dembélé during the January window and may ramp up their efforts to get the duo on board this summer.
Speculation also abounds that Lampard may try to negotiate a swap deal that would see Atlético Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak move to London with Kepa going the other way. Dembélé’s £43m-rated team-mate Houssem Aouar is the latest player to be linked with Chelsea, the 21-year-old Lyon midfielder having impressed during his side’s surprise win over Juventus in midweek. With nine goals and seven assists to his name this season, Aouar is likely to have no shortage of suitors and both Paris Saint-Germain and Juve believed to be monitoring his situation with interest. Determined to take up more than his fair share of space in the Mill, Chelsea’s boss is also reported to be interested in RB Leipzig centre-half Dayot Upamecano.
Following Arsenal’s shock elimination from the Europa League by Olympiacos last night, Mikel Arteta is likely to have woken up in the hottest of hot funks. Eager to stamp his own mark on the rabble he inherited from Unai Emery, the Spaniard wants to bring in Atlético Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey and will instruct club bean-counters to trigger the Ghana international’s £42m release clause. Partey, however, may throw a spanner in the works, as he is reported to be content with life at the Wanda Metropolitano and may negotiate a new deal that would keep him there.
Manchester City have identified Everton’s Mason Holgate as a potential solution to their ongoing personnel problems at centre-back. As handy as a small pot, the versatile 23-year-old can also play at right-back or as a defensive midfielder and could be available for as “little” as £30m. Elsewhere in Manchester, Roma officials are wringing their hands and kneeling in supplication outside Old Trafford in the hope of convincing Chris Smalling’s paymasters to help them make the centre-back’s move to the Serie A club permanent.
On loan at Sheffield United from Manchester United, Dean Henderson’s largely splendid performances mean his future beyond the end of the current campaign is very much up in the air. Should he depart Bramall Lane, United will be in need of a new goalkeeper and the club already seem to be attempting to get their ducks in a row. Reports from Turkey suggest they have had an £11m bid for Trabzonspur’s Ugurcan Cakir rejected. In other Turkish goalkeeping news, Loris Karius wants Liverpool to release him from his contract so he can ink a permanent deal with Besiktas. The Istanbul club are keen to sign him, but less keen on stumping up the £7.25m it would cost to trigger his release clause.