Maurizio Sarri is plotting a four-man raid on former club Napoli if he is made the new Chelsea boss, according to reports. Striker Dries Mertens, winger Jose Maria Callejon, full-back Elseid Hysaj and defender Raul Albiol have been linked as transfer targets if Sarri ends up in Antonio Conte’s office.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Serie A runners-up want to put a limit on how many players he could take with him to Stamford Bridge.
The paper says it would cost in excess of £70million to bring four of his former players to West London. According to the Daily Mail, Sarri is also eyeing Matias Vecino, Inter Milan’s Uruguay midfielder. Meanwhile Chelsea are yet to make any announcement on what the future holds for Conte, who is reportedly on holiday in southern Italy.
Meanwhile Chelsea are also set to take on Barcelona in the race to sign Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, tabloids report. Former Juve director Luciano Moggi told the Serie A champions’ news site, Il Bianconero, that the Bosnia and Herzegovina international could end up at Stamford Bridge in a deal worth £70million. With Sarri’s appointment expected to be announced as early as next week, a number of signings could follow. The Blues’ managerial situation is said to have put any transfer announcements on hold until it is resolved.
Arsenal have kicked off talks to sign Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega, the Metro says. The Argentina international’s agent is said to have flown in to London for negotiations. Banega, 29, is the latest name to crop up as a transfer target for new Gunners boss Unai Emery as he rings the changes ahead of his first season. The departures of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla have given the Spaniard cause to search for talent to bolster his options. Banega, who turns 30 this month, and Emery have worked together before at Valencia and Sevilla. There is a 20million euro (£17.5m) release clause in Banega’s contract, which expires in two years, the paper says.
Inter Milan are leading the chase to snap up Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele, the Daily Mirror reports. Entering the final 12 months of his contract, the Belgium international has said that loyalty to Spurs means he would not join another Premier League club. He is expected to leave White Hart Lane this summer. Tottenham are said to be willing to entertain offers for the £30million-rated playmaker, who turns 31 in July.
Manchester City’s hopes to land Riyad Mahrez have been given a fillip by Leicester’s apparent interest in Basel’s Mohamed Elyounoussi, the Manchester Evening News reports. The Foxes are said to have identified the Norway international as a replacement for the wantaway Algerian whose potential transfer to City reportedly collapsed in January over price.
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Players to watch
Declan Rice: The West Ham defender, 19, is wanted by Crystal Palace and Bournemouth amid a contract stand-off, tabloids report.
Ben Gibson: Everton are plotting to tempt Middlesbrough into selling the defender, 25, the Northern Echo says.