Could Chelsea beat Liverpool to this £32.5m star to replace MLS bound Drogba?

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is set to leave the club with MLS his most likely destination, leaving the Blues with only two recognised Premier League forwards on the books in the shape of Diego Costa and Loic Remy.

Jose Mourinho will expectedly be lining up a replacement for the Ivorian as both Costa and Remy are prone to injuries, so strength in depth could be the key to retaining the Premier League crown next season.

It has been revealed this week that Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has a buyout clause of £32.5m and manager Tim Sherwood has admitted that should anyone meet the asking price, there is nothing Villa can do to stop him leaving.

“There’s a buyout clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go. Someone’s got to meet that buyout clause and if they don’t, it won’t be considered because we don’t want to lose him,” said Sherwood, as reported by The Guardian.

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Benteke enjoyed an impressive end to the season with Villa, netting 11 times in his final 11 league games, as well as helping them to the FA Cup final with a goal in the 2-1 semi-final win over Liverpool.

Sherwood knows that the cup final could be the Belgian striker’s last game for the club but has urged him to stay at Villa Park in order to hold out for a possible dream move next summer.

“We’re building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage for Christian, and a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it. By playing for Aston Villa it hasn’t hindered him being the first choice for Belgium up to now.

“If he were to stay here and score at the ratio that he has since I took over, and ends up with 20 or 30 goals next season and then has a good Euros, he is probably playing for Real Madrid [by 2016]. Christian could go to the best club in the world if he scores 30 goals next season. He could be that good.”

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Liverpool have already been strongly linked with the 24-year-old but a move to a side playing Champions League football could be more appealing.

Because of Benteke’s stature and strength, he is a player in a similar mould to Drogba and would suit Chelsea’s style of play under Mourinho, who likes physically imposing forwards to lead the line, therefore making the Belgian an ideal replacement.

Could Christian Benteke move to Chelsea this summer?

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Transfer roundup: Wenger ‘likes’ Juve star, United forward to MLS, Timbers keen on Drogba

Daily transfer roundup (Wednesday, May 27)

MLS RUMOURS

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, 26, is set to leave the club this summer after returning from his loan spell with Real Madrid. His agent confirmed they have a whole host of tempting offers on the table, one of which includes a Major League Soccer club in the USA, likely to be Orlando City. (REPORT)

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has confirmed that his MLS club are interested in Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, 37, and Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, 36. Both have been linked with moves to MLS this week and the Timbers boss has done little to quell the rumours. (REPORT)

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New York City FC are looking to bolster their defence with the addition of U.S. International defender Oguchi Onyewu, 33, on a free transfer. He’s just left Championship side Charlton Athletic after making just three league appearances, and is now looking for his fifth club in three years. (REPORT)

PREMIER LEAGUE RUMOURS

Tottenham are reportedly lining up a £12m offer for Burnley striker Danny Ings, 22. Ings is out of contract in June but Spurs are keen to seal the deal and beat their rivals to his signature. Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the Englishman in the past. (REPORT)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he likes Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, 28, after the Chilean was linked with a move to the Gunners this week. (REPORT)

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Stoke City defender Robert Huth, 30, is looking to join Leicester City on a permanent basis in a deal worth £3m. The German defender joined on-loan in January and has made 14 appearances. (REPORT)

DONE DEALS

Newly promoted Bournemouth have confirmed the signing of Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, 30, on a free transfer. The Cherries signed him on a three-year deal after his contract expired at the end of the season. He joins fellow ‘keeper Artur Boruc, 35, to the club who signed a permanent deal following his loan move. (REPORT)

Stoke City have signed goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard, 23, from Danish club FC Midtjylland for an undisclosed fee. (REPORT)

Graham Dorrans, 28, has signed a two-year deal with Norwich City. He joined the Canaries on-loan in February 2015 and has now made the deal permanent. (REPORT)

Portland Timbers boss confirms club are interested in Drogba and Pirlo

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has confirmed that his MLS club are interested in Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo.

Both Drogba and Pirlo have been linked with moves to MLS this week and the Timbers boss has done little to quell the rumours suggesting that we could see two superstars heading to the USA.

“We’ll go after anybody like that. We’d love to have guys like that, but it comes down to the feasibility of it and looking at the situation as well,” said Porter.

“We’re aware of all these guys that come over and sometimes we want them and they don’t want to come to us. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense for whatever reason based on the situation, but yeah, we’re looking at all those guys.”

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Portland’s owner Merritt Paulson admitted back in January that he would like to have Drogba at the Timbers and although the Chelsea striker is ageing, Paulson believed the Ivorian would be “uniquely skilled to clean up in MLS.”

At the time Paulson said, “the league almost signed him a couple years ago and I know my coach would love him to be a Timber, but I highly doubt it at this point.”

However, it looks as though the likelihood of Drogba plying his trade in MLS with the Timbers has increased this week after the 37-year-old confirmed he is leaving Chelsea and is interested in playing in the USA.

Would Didier Drogba be an ideal signing for the Portland Timbers?

Is this Chelsea legend set to follow Lampard, Gerrard and Drogba to MLS?

Chelsea captain John Terry has revealed that he may be tempted to follow in the footsteps of former teammate and Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard by making the move to MLS before his career is over.

Lampard will link-up with New York City in July, while Liverpool‘s Steven Gerrard is also set to join LA Galaxy. Didier Drogba has also admitted this week that he is interested in the possibility of playing in the USA.

Terry lifted Chelsea’s fourth Premier League title at the weekend at the conclusion of a season where he didn’t miss a single second of the Blues’ league campaign and hasn’t ruled out a move to MLS.

“I would love to finish my career at Chelsea and maybe there is a time when I look to go to play in America or whatever might be best for my family at the time,” Terry told Talksport.

“Hopefully I have a couple of years left at least. I always thought I could get to age of 35 and still be playing and I am getting close to that now.”

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The 34-year-old would certainly be in high demand if he were to leave Chelsea, but he believes he can still achieve more before his time to move on or retire comes.

“Looking at this squad now, I think this squad has the potential to do a lot more than we did in the past, well beyond my playing days. It is not just the players that have done so well for us this season. There are so many young lads who could make the breakthrough to the team, too many to mention.

“It is harder than ever for them to breakthrough as you don’t get five games to find your feet any more, but the rewards are greater than ever as well.”

Would a move to MLS be good for John Terry when his time at Chelsea comes to an end?

Chelsea star admits he’s ‘interested in the USA’ and potential MLS move

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has expressed his interest in a potential move to Major League Soccer after he confirmed this week that he would be leaving the London club to play one more season elsewhere.

The 37-year-old lifted a fourth Premier League title on Sunday afternoon and although he’s leaving, he’s ruled out joining another English side.

“There are some really fantastic teams in the Premier League but my love for this club, I can’t share it with another English team,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Since I put the news I am leaving Chelsea on social media, I was in the dressing-room and I was receiving some calls from teams which is really unusual. It showed that maybe I can still bring something to a team.”

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Drogba also confirmed that MLS is certainly a possible destination for what is likely to be the final year of his career, given his age.

“Of course I’m interested in the USA. Now I’m going to have a few days and weeks to think about what is good for me next but all I want is to play.”

New York City FC have reportedly already made an offer for the Ivorian, while likely other clubs in MLS with a Designated Player slot available that could also be interested in Drogba’s services are DC United and New York Red Bulls.

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The Eastern Conference rivals all have at least one DP slot available, although NYCFC are reportedly also interested in Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo and they can only sign one more player on a DP contract.

Should Pirlo join New York City, that would see DC United and New York Red Bulls emerge as favourites to land Drogba.

Which MLS club would you like to see Didier Drogba join if he were to move to the USA this summer?

Barcelona star could turn down Manchester United move for MLS switch

FC Barcelona right-back and Manchester United transfer target Dani Alves could turn down a move to the Premier League in favour of making the switch to MLS, according to The Guardian.

The Brazilian defender has made a staggering 393 La Liga appearances during his time with Sevilla and Barcelona but has yet to agree a new deal with the Spanish giants which has left the Red Devils keeping a close eye on developments.

However, because Dani Alves is now 32 years of age, The Guardian’s Tor-Kristian Karlsen believes that the attacking full-back may be “somewhat past his prime” and is a “possible recruitment for an MLS side”.

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During his time in Spain, Alves has won five La Liga titles, two Champions League’s and three Copa Del Rey’s among other honours and would therefore demand a high weekly wage if he were to make the move to MLS.

Because of that factor, he would certainly have to join on a Designated Player contract. There are currently eight teams in Major League Soccer with Designated Player slots available, including expansion franchise New York City FC, where Alves’ former teammate David Villa is plying his trade.

The other expansion franchise, Orlando City, are owned by Brazilian man, Flávio Augusto da Silva. Ex-international compatriot Kaka and midfielder Pedro Ribeiro are also both at Orlando, so Alves could be persuaded by his fellow countrymen to join them in the USA.

Could Dani Alves make the switch to MLS?

Arsenal and Liverpool suffer setback in pursuit of French international

Arsenal and Liverpool have suffered a setback in the hunt to sign the Ligue 1 top goalscorer Alexandre Lacazette after the Olympique Lyonnais club president Jean-Michel Aulas has made it clear they will do their utmost to keep their star striker at the club.

“We will do everything within our powers to hold on to Alexandre. You never have any certainties in football, but we are determined to keep him here,” said Aulas while speaking to Canal+.

“A transfer fee of €50 million (£36m) would not be enough for an attacker like him. He is priceless.”

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Tottenham and Newcastle have also reportedly been interested in the French international who has scored an impressive 27 goals in 33 league appearances this season and also won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday.

Aulas knows that Lyon are undoubtedly going to be inundated with offers from England for Lacazette as the Premier League sides look to bolster their attacking options heading into the 2015/16 season.

The 23-year-old striker is contracted with the club until 2018, so Lyon will know they can demand a hefty transfer sum for one of the hottest prospects in French football right now.

Is Alexandre Lacazette worth more than £36 million?

United could get TWO Real Madrid players if De Gea leaves

Manchester United could land both Gareth Bale and Fabio Coentrao should goalkeeper David De Gea leave for Real Madrid this summer.

Coentrao may be keen on a move to a new club as he has only made 13 appearances in all competitions for Madrid this season and could be included as part of a player-plus-cash deal between the two clubs, according to Jose Felix Diaz of Marca.

Meanwhile, rumours of Bale leaving the Spanish capital have been growing rapidly and United legend Gary Neville has urged Louis Van Gaal to try his utmost to bring the Welshman back to the Premier League.

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“Once a player only has a year left on his contract, Manchester United have a decision to make if Real do come for him, as it looks like they will,” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.

“Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool will all want Gareth Bale. So if you are going to give Real a player, I think it would make sense to try and get Bale and steal him in return for De Gea.”

Although the Red Devils will be desperate to hold on to De Gea’s services, Neville believes there is nothing they can do to stop him leaving for the Spanish giants.

“With his form this season I was always hopeful he’d stay, but with the wave of noise in the press it just looked to have an inevitability about it.”

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Man United have already secured the services of Dutch winger Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven and with Falcao unlikely to be signed on a permanent basis and Di Maria struggling for form, chasing the signature of Bale is likely to be a major priority.

With United valuing De Gea at approximately £30 million, it’s likely they would still have to pay a significant transfer fee to persuade Real to sell the Welsh international, especially if Coentrao is included as part of the deal.

Would a deal that brings Bale and Coentrao to Old Trafford at the cost of David De Gea heading the other way be a good move for Manchester United?

Bournemouth looking to beat Arsenal and Liverpool to in-demand right-back

Newly promoted Bournemouth are planning an offer for Burnley right-back Kieran Tripper in order to beat Arsenal and Liverpool to his signature, according to Sky Sports’ Amy Lewis.

The 24-year-old has been linked with a whole range of Premier League clubs following the Clarets’ relegation from the top flight, including Southampton.

Trippier began his career at the Manchester City youth academy and had loan spells with Barnsley before joining Burnley on a permanent basis in 2012 after a successful season long loan.

The Englishman has played in every single one of Burnley’s Premier League games this season and although he couldn’t help Sean Dyche’s side avoid the drop, his performances have still been impressive enough to draw the attention of other clubs.

Arsenal are inundated with right-backs, so are unlikely to pursue a move for Trippier, while Southampton and Liverpool could both be in desperate need to fill the position.

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The Saints could be looking for a replacement for Nathaniel Clyne who has been linked with a summer move to Manchester United and Glen Johnson is expected to leave Liverpool when his contract expires.

However, Bournemouth have now emerged as favourites to land the defender and Trippier could be tempted with a move to the south coast having previously worked under Cherries manager  Eddie Howe when he was at Burnley in the 2011/12 season.

Would Kieran Trippier be a good signing for Bournemouth?

Southampton to turn to Arsenal as they look to solve goalkeeping dilemma

Ronald Koeman has identified Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny as an ideal short-term replacement for injured goalkeeper Fraser Forster, according to the Sun.

Forster is currently recovering from a knee injury that looks set to keep him out for the whole of 2015 and Southampton will need to find a replacement until he is fit.

Szczesny is a target due to losing his starting spot to David Ospina at Arsenal earlier this year. Coincidently, Szczesny’s last start in the Premier League was against Saints on New Year’s Day.

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It seems that Szczesny would be open to the move too after only starting 17 times this term and there is no guarantee he’ll get any more regular action next year.

Any move would be a loan move as Southampton see Fraser Forster as their long-term goalkeeper, and it looks like it could be a move that benefits both sides.

Should Wojciech Szczesny be allowed to leave Arsenal, and if so, is he a worthy replacement for Fraser Forster?