Chelsea bidders set FINAL offer date, Reece James' new role, Declan Rice UPDATE, Werner exit talks – takeover updates

CHELSEA'S ownership battle is set to take a swift conclusion according to reports.

The Raine Group have stated that final offers will need to be submitted by April 11 in order for the US merchant bank to present their preferred suitor by April 18.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel's plans on converting Reece James into a Dani Alves type defender is proving successful.

The full-back has contributed to 13 goals in 26 appearances despite struggling with injuries for large parts of the season.

Elsewhere, former West Ham striker Carlton Cole has urged England international Declan Rice to snub a potential move to Chelsea in the summer.

And Timo Werner's exit plans are brewing up with reports suggesting that the Blues will not stand in his way come the transfer window.

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  • Alex Cole

    Good morning, Chelsea fans

    Eden Hazard has had successful leg surgery and is recovering at home ahead of Real Madrid's huge clash at his old club Chelsea.

    But the Belgium playmaker is surely unlikely to be ready for next Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg.

    Real said the 31-year-old had a plate removed in his right calf on Tuesday.

    But injuries have already reduced his LaLiga season to just eight appearances as his plight in Spain continues.

    Manager Carlo Ancelotti seemingly rates even a fully-fit Hazard only as back-up to Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

    And he sparked controversy, as well as anger from Real fans, when Chelsea KO'd the Spanish giants in the Champions League semi-finals last year.

    Hazard joked with former team-mate Kurt Zouma after a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge put eventual tournament winners Chelsea through 3-1 on aggregate.

    Apologising after a backlash, he said: “I am sorry. I have read lots of opinions about me and it was not my intention to offend Real fans.

    “It has always been my dream to play for Real Madrid and I came here to win."

    But he is struggling to play a major part for the runaway LaLiga leaders this campaign.

  • Alex Cole

    Chelsea's next five

    Chelsea's next five fixtures see the return of Champion League football as the Blues face Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

    Wedged between these two legs is a tricky trip to St Mary's Stadium to face Southampton.

  • Alex Cole

    Christensen trains ahead of Brentford clash

    Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen was spotted for the first time since Barcelona's shock transfer announcement as the Blues returned to training, writes DYLAN TERRY.

    The Danish centre-back was all but confirmed by Barca president Joan Laporta this week as one of two signings the Catalan giants have completed for the summer.

    Laporta told RAC1: "We've completed two signings for next season.

    "One is a midfielder, the other one is a centre-back. But I'm not allowed to mention their names."

    Credit: Twitter

    AC Milan star Franck Kessie is thought to be the other player.

    Yet despite Christensen dropping down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and his contract expiring in the summer, he was back in training with the squad on Tuesday following the international break.

    He was not included in the Denmark squad for their games against Holland and Serbia due to a muscle problem.

    However, he now appears to be back in contention ahead of their Premier League clash at home to Brentford on Saturday.

  • Alex Cole

    Happy Birthday N'Golo

    France star N'Golo Kante displayed his classic humility after he was presented with a birthday cake by his international team-mates, writes JOHN HUTCHINSON.

    The Chelsea midfielder is celebrating his 31st – and had a cake that appeared to be made of fresh fruit wheeled out.

    His team-mates sang happy birthday for Kante, who appeared mesmerised by the special gift.

    Two sparklers were plonked into the dessert.

    Kante stood up to thanks the room for the tasty offering, before adding: "Hopefully we can celebrate with a good match and nice win tonight."

    Les Blues were scheduled to play South Africa in a friendly on Tuesday night.

    Kante being humble will come as no surprise to Blues fans.

  • Alex Cole

    Werner ready to walk

    Chelsea striker Timo Werner is reportedly ready to QUIT the club – but it will take a £33million bid to snare him.

    The 26-year-old has been in and out of the team this season following the £97.5m signing of Romelu Lukaku, writes JOHN HUTCHINSON.

    Neither have really impressed so far for Thomas Tuchel's side this season.

    And according to German website Sport 1, Werner is ready to leave Stamford Bridge.

    Credit: Getty

    The former RB Leipzig star has had discussions with his adviser Volker Struth on plans "to leave London".

    Werner has recently admitted that Germany's tactics suit him better than Tuchel's at Chelsea.

    The goal-shy forward netted a rare effort against Israel at the weekend as Hansi Flick's side ran out 2-0 winners.

    Werner has surprisingly scored six goals in his last six caps – compared to none in his last eight Premier League outings for Chelsea.

    Asked about this quirk, the former RB Leipzig ace said: "There are differences in the style of play between football at Chelsea and here.

    "Maybe the one at the national team suits me better.

    "Here, I always have scoring chances, I can score goals.

    "I feel very comfortable here."

    Werner has scored seven times in 28 appearances for Chelsea this season, with only one goal coming in the Prem.

  • Alex Cole

    Ampadu the 'Nutmeg King'

    Chelsea's Ethan Ampadu is the nutmeg king – the Wales star, who is on a season-long loan at Serie A club Venezia, megged Chris Mepham THREE times in training on Monday.

    Ampadu's skill had his Welsh team-mates roaring with laughter as they prepared for tonight's friendly against the Czech Republic.

    The megs came as Robert Page's squad went into rondos of nine players – seven on the outside with two in the middle – which is seen as a fun warm-up exercise.

    Credit: Rex

    And that's where Bournemouth centre-back Mepham got caught out by a cheeky treble from Ampadu when he placed the ball through his legs.

    Ampadu, 21, posted a video of his silky skills on his Instagram page with the caption "X3" followed by a nuts emoji and green tick.

    Wales team-mates joined in the ribbing of Mepham with David Brooks, a pal for club and country but currently recovering from blood cancer, tagged the defender and posted: "Is that you?"

    Mepham jokingly denied being megged and replied: "Obviously not".

    But Harry Wilson, Neco Williams and Dan James all piled in to join the banter.

    Ampadu has made 23 appearances for Venezia in Italy this season.

    It is not known what future plans Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has for versatile Amapdu at Stamford Bridge next term.

  • Joshua Mbu

    Canoville meets Ricketts

    Chelsea’s first black player, Paul Canoville, has emerged as a key figure in the sale of the club.

    Last Thursday, Canoville held hour-long meeting at Stamford Bridge with controversial potential buyer Tom Ricketts, according to the Mirror.

    Ricketts is trying to calm Chelsea fans’ fears over racism and anti Muslim issues.

    Canoville said: “As the club’s official ambassador on racism – I was grateful to be asked for my views on the sale.

    “I was pleased to meet with Mr Ricketts and expressed my concerns over some of his family’s members‘ public statements.

    “I was reassured by his response.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    Declan Rice tipped for England captaincy

    West Ham legend Julian Dicks says he would be “very surprised” if Chelsea target Declan Rice doesn’t captain England in the future.

    Dicks was a Hammers coach under Slaven Bilic when a then 18-year-old Rice was handed his Premier League debut in the 2-1 win over Burnley in 2017.

    Rice’s exemplary leadership both on and off the pitch has stretched further than just Rush Green and the London Stadium.

    Hammers icon Dicks too believes that Rice’s day of leading the Three Lions will come.

    Speaking to SunSport on whether he thinks Rice will be a future England captain ahead of a Masters Football event in association with Bookmakers.com, Dicks said: “Absolutely. I was a coach at West Ham when Slav gave him his debut. 

    “The easiest thing I can say about Declan is he just keeps everything simple.

    “He wins the ball and gives it simple. 

    “I did the Man Utd vs West Ham game at Old Trafford (this season). 

    “And even though West Ham got beat, Declan was immense, and I mean head and shoulders above everybody else on that pitch, in my opinion.

    “He won every ball. Where the ball was he won it and he’d just give it.

    “So yeah, I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t an England captain in the future.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    Serial-winning Blues

    Chelsea's latest trophy was the Club World Cup.

  • Sam Dymond

    Barca legend hails England pair

    Reece James has many admirers, but few are as impressive as one of the best right-backs the game has ever seen.

    Barcelona legend Dani Alves has revealed he has been wowed by the Chelsea star's technique and strength despite his young age.

    The Brazilian was speaking to FourFourTwo, and picked out 22-year-old James and his England teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold as two of his favourite right-backs in the modern game.

    Alves referred to Alexander-Arnold's 'world-class skills' while also reserving a mention for Paris Saint-Germain's Achraf Hakimi.

  • Sam Dymond

    Season ticket holders can attend

    Chelsea have announced that season ticket holders at Stamford Bridge WILL be able to attend their remaining Premier League games this season, but they will not be allowed to sell any further tickets for their home games.

    The club announced the news on their official website, and confirmed they had 'received an amendment to the UK Government general licence'.

    The amendment means the Blues are now able to sell tickets to supporters for upcoming cup games, including their FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace, and the two legs of their Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid.

  • Sam Dymond

    Captain Cesar triggers contract extension

    Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has triggered a one-year contract extension – but may still leave Stamford Bridge this summer.

    The Spanish defender's deal was due to expire in June but – due to the number of appearances he has made this season – has automatically signed on for another 12 months.

    The clause is said to have been set prior to the club being sanctioned by the government.

    However, despite the updated deal, Azpilicueta remains a serious transfer target for Barcelona with Mundo Deportivo suggesting that the LaLiga giants are more than prepared to pay a fee for the 32-year-old.

  • Sam Dymond

    Final four to meet club bosses

    The four remaining bidders for Chelsea will travel to London to meet with club officials for face-to-face talks.

    The Evening Standard report that the shortlisted quartet will sit down with chairman Bruce Buck, director Marina Granovskaia, chief executive Guy Lawrence and, perhaps, even manager Thomas Tuchel to outline their plans for the future.

    Raine Group, the merchant bank overseeing the sale, recently announced that the four parties had until April 11 to submit their revised bids for the London outfit.

    Raine have also indicated that they will present their preferred bid to the UK government and the Premier League on April 18 with the intention of processing a sale before the end of this season.

  • Sam Dymond

    Poisoned Roman snapped in Instanbul

    Roman Abramovich has been pictured for the first time since it emerged he was supposedly poisoned in Ukraine.

    The sanctioned billionaire Chelsea owner was seen bleary eyed in Istanbul ahead of the next round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

    The two countries are locked in discussions, which are being hosted by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The outgoing Chelsea owner has been trying to broker a deal to end the war but it emerged on Monday that he was 'poisoned' while in Kyiv talking to Ukrainian officials.

    Abramovich is said to have gone blind for several hours as skin peeled off his hands and face.

    Credit: EAST2WEST
  • Sam Dymond

    Blues helped by Hammer blow

    Chelsea will renew their efforts to sign Jules Kounde this summer, and could prove successful thanks to a helping hand from one of their rivals.

    The Blues attempted to bring the centre-back to Stamford Bridge last summer, but their bids were knocked back by Sevilla.

    However, after West Ham stunned the Spanish side by eliminating them from the Europa League, the defender looks destined to depart.

    Spanish publication Sport (via The Daily Star) report that the LaLiga club are 'doomed to sell' Kounde after their European exit.

    Of course, a deal at Chelsea's end is dependent on the smooth takeover of the club, and their prospective new owners giving it the green light to proceed.

  • Sam Dymond

    Dortmund fancy nice little Werner

    Borussia Dortmund are reportedly preparing to bring Timo Werner back to Germany after a disappointing two-year spell at Stamford Bridge.

    The striker has struggled to make an impact in the Premier League since joining the Blues for £47million in 2020, scoring just seven times in 49 appearances.

    Following another goal for his country on international duty, Werner admitted that 'things aren’t going the way [he’d] like at Chelsea', and that he feels much more 'comfortable' playing for Germany.

    According to 90min, Bundesliga giant Dortmund have told officials at Stamford Bridge to keep them updated on Werner's availability as he remains one of the top targets.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    Good morning Chelsea fans

    Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri is laying the track to make a move for Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri this summer, according to reports in Italy.

    The Italy defender, 27, is on loan at French giants Lyon and has been linked with a move away from the Blues.

    A Citta Celeste report says former Chelsea boss Sarri has already ‘called him’ about the possibility of a move to Serie A.

    Chelsea’s embattled and outgoing owner Roman Abramovich suffered suspected poisoning along with Ukraine peace negotiators earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The Russian oligarch and two officials are said to have developed symptoms including red eyes, painful tearing and peeling skin while acting as peacemakers at a meeting in Kyiv. They have recovered now.

    Abramovich is selling the Blues as a result of pressure put on him by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    And there has been an update on the sale, as the four parties battling to buy the club discovered they will learn which of them has the backing of Raine Group next month.

    The bank overseeing the sale has told bidders it intends to present their preferred bid to the government and the Premier League during the week of April 18.

    The suitors were told over the weekend they have until April 11 to refine their final offers.

    And Christian Pulisic says his 'worm' goal celebration – after he scored for the USA in their 5-1 win over Panama – was for a young fan with cancer.

    The Chelsea winger revealed it was dedicated to 15-year-old Mason Ogle, who has osteosarcoma and was the USA’s matchday ambassador for the game.

    Pulisic said: "I met someone really special yesterday. His name was Mason and his one request was that if I scored he wanted to see a worm celebration. That’s what that was for."

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    Cole 'nervous' on England duty

    England boss Gareth Southgate says retired England hero Joe Cole was 'nervous' when asked to present shirts to Three Lions debutants.

    Former West Ham and Chelsea midfielder Cole, 40, was asked to help make it a special occasion for new players in Southgate's national squad.

    Speaking as part of the promotion for McDonald’s free Fun Football sessions, Southgate said: “I think the nice part before the Covid restrictions was bringing some of the former players back in to present their shirts to the lads making their debuts.

    "I've never seen Joe Cole look so nervous. He was more nervous giving somebody else their shirt for their debut than when he was playing himself!"

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    Guehi approached by Ivory Coast

    Chelsea youth team product Marc Guehi might get the chance to switch his allegiance from England to Ivory Coast.

    The Crystal Palace defender, 21, made his Three Lions debut in Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland.

    But he was born in the west African country and – in the build up to England versus Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday – the Ivorians' boss Patrice Beaumelle revealed: "The choice has to come from the heart.

    "He will make his own decision. He did well in his first cap for England.

    “Maybe we will try for the orange jersey of Ivory Coast – you never know."

  • [email protected]

    Chelsea quartet travel to America

    Four Chelsea players not in action for their countries during the international break have travelled to America together, it has been has reported.

    Hakim Ziyech, who recently declined a call-up for Morocco, Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, un-capped Englishman Trevoh Chalobah, and Spain’s Kepa Arrizabalaga enjoyed the break in each other’s company.

    The Chelsea Chronicle’s article says they have ‘decided to spend some time watching an NBA game between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets at FTX Arena in Florida.’

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    Sarri's Lazio tracking Emerson

    Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri is laying the track to make a move for Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri this summer, according to reports in Italy.

    The Italy defender, 27, is on loan at French giants Lyon and has been linked with a move away from the Blues.

    A Citta Celeste report says former Chelsea boss Sarri has already 'called him' about the possibility of a move to Serie A.

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    Terry watches England training

    Chelsea legend John Terry watched England's current crop in training for tomorrow's friendly with Ivory Coast.

    The retired England skipper, 41, was present to see the Three Lions squad warming up at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield HQ.

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    Abramovich – from orphan to billionaire

    The BBC have done a nice feature on how Roman Abramovich went from being a three-year-old orphan to one of the world's richest men.

    Chelsea's outgoing Russian owner has seen his club win every trophy available to them since taking over in 2003.

    But, in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and due to his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abramovich's days in English football look numbered.

    The Beeb's article says: "This fall from grace for a man who has dominated British football but sharply divided sports fans in the process will be cheered by some.

    "But he has overcome huge challenges before, notably in his early life."

  • [email protected]

    Blues bidders to learn fate

    The four parties battling to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich will discover which has the backing of Raine Group during the week of April 18.

    The bank overseeing the sale has told bidders it intends to present their preferred bid to the government and the Premier League.

    Sky News understands a letter has been sent to those on the shortlist, indicating the government will also be asked to issue a licence enabling a quick sale that could be completed by the end of the season.

    The suitors were told over the weekend that they had until April 11 to refine their final offers.

  • [email protected]

    Abramovich 'suffers suspected poisoning'

    Chelsea's embattled and outgoing owner Roman Abramovich sufferedsuspected poisoning along with Ukraine peace negotiators earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The Russian oligarch and two officials are said to have developed symptoms including red eyes, painful tearing and peeling skin while in the role of peacemakers at a meeting in Kyiv. They have now recovered.

    Abramovich is currently selling the Blues as a result of pressure put on him by the UK government in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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