Paper Round: Chelsea plan Cech return
Chelsea want Petr Cech back, Real Madrid may sell Dani Ceballos and Mateo Kovacic, and Neil Warnock almost quit after the death of Emiliano Sala.
Chelsea line up Cech return
The Sun claim that Petr Cech is being lined up for a return to Chelsea. The former Stamford Bridge goalkeeper is retiring at the end of the season, and the 36-year-old Czech could help improve the relationship between fans and Maurizio Sarri. He could also take up some of the responsibilities of technical director Michael Emenalo, who has not been replaced since leaving in 2017.
Bernd Leno of Arsenal comes on as a substitute for Petr Cech during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Watford FC at Emirates Stadium on September 29, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: The paper claims that this is just part of a potential shake-up behind the scenes at Chelsea, and with an owner increasingly distant, it is no surprise that changes are occurring elsewhere at the club. They have underperformed this season, but the early stages showed a team that could flourish with more resilience, team spirit, and flexibility. Cech impressed under a series of coaches in his time at Chelsea, so could be the man to guide the club through more change.
West Ham eye Ceballos
Another player who could make a permanent switch away from Real Madrid is youngster Dani Ceballos. The 22-year-old Spanish international could be available for around £18 million, the Mirror reports. Real would prefer to send him on loan if possible, but Pedro Obiang’s expected departure to Italy would mean West Ham need a long-term solution in midfield.
Paper Round’s view: West Ham appear to be throwing money around with less committed buffoonery than they have done in the past. Not only does it help Manuel Pellegrini to properly build a squad, it gives the owners better value for money and the fans the chance to see a side improve noticeably. Ceballos is a promising player and worth bringing in permanently or on loan.
Chelsea given Kovacic option
Chelsea may be given a way around a transfer ban by signing their on-loan midfielder Mateo Kovacic. The player has spent a year at Stamford Bridge and could be registered despite a transfer ban, according to the Daily Star. The paper claims that Real have offered Chelsea the chance to sign the player after a further year on loan, with an obligatory option to sign him for £26 million next summer.
Mateo KovacicGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: Chelsea have little choice over their signings this summer. It is a risk to turn down Kovacic, who is a perfectly decent midfielder with the potential to improve over the next few years; £26 million, too, is a reasonable price for the player. There could be other, better signings out there for the side but they probably can’t afford to risk missing out on the Croatian.
Warnock almost quit after Sala death
Neil Warnock’s assistant Kevin Blackwell was the man to break the news that Emiliano Sala’s father had passed away, and he told the Express that the Cardiff City manager almost quit in the aftermath of his son’s death. Blackwell said: “The week after Emiliano died, when they still had not found him, I was genuinely waiting any minute for a phone call from him to say, ‘I have had enough – I’m packing it in.’ And he was close to that.”
Neil WarnockGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: It would be no surprise if Warnock moves on at the end of the season. While he seems in remarkably good shape at 70, the stress of a season where he will very possibly endure relegation is bad enough, but the impact of Sala’s death, the dispute over the transfer, and now the death of Sala senior might be enough to see Warnock retire.