Potter delivers backing to Sterling amid Chelsea struggles
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Chelsea are reportedly against the idea of signing Cristiano Ronaldo in January. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be available on a free transfer after mutually terminating his contract at Manchester United, but the Blues are thought to be prioritising four other high-profile targets.
Ronaldo initially asked to leave Old Trafford during the summer but a host of top sides, including Chelsea, distanced themselves from a potential deal. Ex-manager Thomas Tuchel wasn’t keen on the idea of working with the former Real Madrid star, while Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid publicly pulled out.
The rocky relationship between Ronaldo and United manager Erik ten Hag may have put some suitors off. Despite the fact he would be available for free after a controversial interview saw his contract terminated, his extortionate salary would be enough to put significant strain on any club’s wage bill.
According to The Telegraph, Chelsea’s stance hasn’t changed from the summer and there is no appetite to swoop for Ronaldo, despite Tuchel being replaced by Graham Potter in the dugout.
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The Blues solved their attacking shortage by signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the summer and one of their four priority targets, Christopher Nkunku, is also closing in on Stamford Bridge. The RB Leipzig forward’s camp are supposedly sorting out the final details of a move that will go through in the summer.
That will leave Potter particularly well-stocked up front, with youngster Armando Broja also pushing for a more prominent role within the squad. Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is also thought to be chasing three other targets with an emphasis on strengthening in midfield and defence.
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Boehly was at England’s 6-2 World Cup win over Iran earlier this week to watch Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice. The central-midfield duo would both cost in excess of £100million but Borussia Dortmund and West Ham are both supposedly preparing to cash in next summer after years of fending off transfer interest.
Bellingham has been superb at club level this season and he’s taken his dazzling Champions League performances to the World Cup, starring in England’s opening win and getting on the scoresheet. Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City are also in contention to sign the 19-year-old, who already has 18 senior international caps to his name.
Rice was let go by Chelsea’s academy as a 15-year-old and he almost quit football entirely before breaking through with West Ham as a teenager. The Three Lions regular is now a key figure in the Premier League and a move back to Stamford Bridge would see him reunited with close friend Mason Mount.
The Blues’ final priority target, which looks set to leave Ronaldo scrambling for options, is RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol. Chelsea were heavily linked during the summer and they’re expected to try a second bite at the cherry over the coming transfer windows.
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