•Chelsea expect new owners to take over from Roman Abramovich during the next four weeks which will enable the club to do business in the transfer market.
•Norwich players, fans and owners have now relinquished all hope of remaining in the Premier League next season and a quick return to the Championship is all but inevitable.
Having probably the best squad of players in the Premier League brings rewards but also problems. Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, who scored four against Watford and one in the 4-3win over Real Madrid, has refused to commit to staying at the Etihad next season and his reason is that he is not given enough first eleven games.
The problem for Pep Guardiola is that he also has Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez also knocking on his door saying, “Why are you not playing me in the starting team?” City are all set to sign Erling Haaland which means Jesus will have to take a back seat and he knows it. Arsenal might be his salvation and the Gunners have made enquiries about signing him.
Chelsea hope to solve centre-half problem
Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russian oligarchs Chelsea cannot sign or sell any players until the club is sold.
Chelsea expect new owners to take over from Roman Abramovich during the next four weeks which will enable the club to do business in the transfer market.
Club scouts have been watching Seville center-back Jules Kounde who has expressed his desire to leave Spain this summer and he is known to be interested in joining Chelsea.
This will solve the problem of losing Andreas Christensen to Barcelona and Antonio Rudiger who has an reached agreement to join Real Madrid.
Norwich face up to relegation
Norwich players, fans and owners have now relinquished all hope of remaining in the Premier League next season and a quick return to the Championship is all but inevitable.
The Canaries have to win all five of their remaining games to stay up and other match results have to go their way.
Norwich captain Grant Hanley said his side doesn’t have the character to remain in the top tier and he said:“Getting beaten 3-0 by Newcastle, in what felt like a must-win game, is really difficult to take... especially at home! We need to show more character, that’s clear for us all to see.”
A trip to Aston Villa this weekend is the next step if Norwich are to have any chance but I can’t see it happening.
Joelinton earns respect from fans and players
What a difference two or three games make. Joelinton was signed for £40million but has largely failed to live up to expectations. He became the butt of fans’ jokes and was frequently booed with mediocre performances.
Suddenly everything has changed and he is fulfilling what was expected of him. He is thankful to new manager Eddie Howe who has lifted Newcastle out of the relegation zone and approaching mid-table with a series of wins.
Fans now sing: “He’s Brazilian, he only cost 40 million.” After scoring twice last weekend Joelinton responded by saying: “I love the fans, it’s nice to give them moments like this.”
One of the team revealed that when he entered the dressing room after the Norwich game, “The changing room was buzzing and when he came in the whole room erupted to congratulate him. We see how hard he works and the unfair criticism he gets. We know the quality he has. He’s outstanding and we could have cheered him every game."
"It was 100 Premier League games for him today against Norwich and such a special day. He is a joy to play with and a joy to be around every day.”
Jurgen Klopp is aware of the revitalised Newcastle as his team visit this weekend.
Klopp is looking at the depth of his squad after the midweek game in the Champions League with several fresh players looking for a start. Manchester City have arguably the easier task at Leeds and one extra day of recovery having played on Tuesday.
Elneny rises to the occasion
Mohamed Elneny has not been given many games in coach Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal but his professional attitude is a model example for younger players and those not currently in the first team.
He was picked for the last two games and has performed superbly against Chelsea and Manchester United.
The 29-year-old said this week: “I gave everything in training to be in the starting team every game — I got my chance at Chelsea and I think I did well. It’s been a long wait for me but you have to believe and, 100 per cent, I want to get Arsenal into the top four. This club are my family."
"If Arsenal say to me they want me to stay I won’t think about leaving this club. The contract and stuff — I’m just waiting for the club to decide what they want to do with me.”
The news I am hearing is that if Arsenal get into the top four with Elneny’s help, then they will offer him a new contract in June when his current deal expires.
Is Pochettino heading back to Premier League?
Rumours surrounding Mauricio Pochettino being sacked at Paris Saint-Germain are strong despite the club winning the French La Liga this season.
Pochettino has failed to deliver the main prize of winning the Champions League.
The Paris hierarchy wants Zinedine Zidane to take over but he is proving to be a difficult choice. The ex-Real Madrid man is not responding to their approaches to negotiate.
PSG’s strategy is to make it public that Zidane is their priority but Antonio Conte is a possibility if he decides that Tottenham are not backing his summer transfer wishes.
The club are not serious about hiring Conte but want to put pressure on Zidane to sign a pre-contract so that he is not tempted to coach the French national team.
Pochettino wants to return to the Premier League although the Manchester United job has now been filled by Erik Ten Hag.
He has been criticized in France for failing to get the best out of recent recruits Lionel Messi, Gini Wijnaldum and Sergio Ramos who have completed only six games all season.
Marsch steering Leeds clear of relegation
Leeds took another step nearer to escaping relegation on Monday night after a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace but pushed Frank Lampard’s Everton nearer to the drop.
Leeds now have 34 points from 33 games. When I spoke with some of the Leeds staff this week they admitted the challenge ahead is difficult with upcoming matches against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
They finish off the season with matches against Brighton and Brentford. Leeds manager Jessie Marsch has been more successful at coaching than his American predecessor Bob Bradley who failed badly at Swansea.
Marsch said: “The draw against Palace was very big for us. The performance was not our best but five unbeaten, two straight clean sheets, we have to take positives. The mentality of the group really helped us earn the point. It gets us closer and closer to our ultimate goal of survival in the Premier League."
Kroenke promises Emirates upgrade
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke is a very lucky man. Not only does his US football team the Los Angeles Rams own the current Superbowl title but the Gunner’s will be heading for a pre-season tour of the USA this summer.
Last year’s planned visit was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. After facing criticism for not investing enough in Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, Kroenke’s son, who is on the Arsenal board, has announced the stadium will be given a multi-million upgrade with a new roof, more speedy ticket entrances to the ground and bigger high-quality definition screens for replaying action highlights.
Bale heading to America?
Carlo Ancelotti is a fan of Gareth Bale, his highly expensive forward who is not loved by Real Madrid fans.
Gareth has scored 72 goals in 237 matches and won a whole host of trophies whilst earning a large fortune. His contract ends in the summer and Real are anxious to move him on and save his £400k a week salary despite the support of Ancelotti.
Not many clubs could afford him but he has been contacted by the American MLS team Dundee United where Wayne Rooney played after leaving the Premier League.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett said that the would leave on June 30th and Dundee could afford to pay him more than they paid Rooneywhich was £300k a week.
Chelsea's Kepa could be on the move
Chelsea have revealed they are waiting to receive approaches for goal-stopper Kepa Arrizabalagaat at the end of the season.
He left Atletico Bilbao in 2018 for £71.6million but he is coach ThomasTuchel’s second choice behind Edouard Mendy.
After poor performances for previous managerFrank Lampard the 27-year-old has done much better under Tuchel and his improvement is mainly due to personal one-to-one training with Hilario the goalkeeping coach and technical director and former goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Kepa has expressed a desire to move on and not to accept his second choice role.
Viera says ignore Zaha to Arsenal rumours
Patrick Viera has again stressed that he is determined to keep wing-man striker Wilfried Zaha.His contract is approaching the final 12 months and his name is again being discussed at Arsenalwho almost signed the Ivory Coast international three years ago.
As the rumours get stronger Viera stressed, “There’s no truth in it. Wilfried is an important player, a really good inspiration for the young players and he knows the club better than anybody else. You want to keep your best players.”
Mason reveals Jorgie is a practical joker
The big joker at Chelsea is Jorghino. Mason Mount tells how Jorgie played a trick on himby putting his boots in a microwave oven and they were red hot when he tried to put them on for training! Mason got his own back without having to lift a finger as England went through to the World Cup finals and Jorgie’s Italy were embarrassingly knocked out.