– CHELSEA NEWS is coming thick and fast ahead of the January transfer window and Express Sport brings you the latest.
Murphy on Salah
13.30: Danny Murphy has claimed Mohamed Salah was NOT a failure at Chelsea despite being shipped out to Italy.
Salah returned to England this summer when he joined Liverpool and has been on fire.
“I’d seen him play a few times before he went to Chelsea and liked him a lot,” Murphy exclusively told the Daily Star.
“Not only his pace, but his close control and awareness.
“I didn’t know he had this many goals in him or was as comfortable in front of goal.
“He then never got a chance at Chelsea. People say he went there and failed, but you don’t fail if you don’t play and the reason he didn’t play was Willian and [Eden] Hazard.
“It’s the same with [Kevin] De Bruyne. Was he ever going to play instead of [Frank] Lampard? No.
“Sometimes it takes you going away, playing somewhere else and getting the confidence up even more.”
Real plot Atletico move
10.20: Real Madrid are monitoring the situation at Atletico Madrid after they were dumped out of the Champions League.
Florentino Perez is watching proceedings across the city and is considering a move for Jan Oblak.
Real Madrid want a new goalkeeper to replace Keylor Navas.
David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois remain top targets but Madrid are also considering moves for young Spanish stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
However if those moves fall through Perez could step up his interest in Oblak, according to Don Balon.
Atletico dropped out of the Champions League this week and a number of players’ futures are in doubt.
09.40: Chelsea face West Ham in the early kick-off on Saturday – but who will start?
Antonio Conte almost has a full-strength Chelsea squad to choose from, with David Luiz the only player sidelined ahead of their clash with West Ham.
The Blues have enjoyed solid form in recent weeks and will be hoping to notch up a big win over their London rivals at the Olympic Stadium.
With so many options to choose from, Conte could try a range of starting line-ups as the festive fixture pile-up arrives.
His stack of central midfielders including Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko could provide an interesting battle for places in the coming games.
Who will starts for Chelsea?
Hazard contacted by Real Madrid
08.00: Zinedine Zidane and Florentino Perez have been in touch with Eden Hazard.
It emerged earlier this week that Hazard was stalling on a new deal at Chelsea in the hope to attract interest from Real Madrid.
And now it is being claimed that the Madrid boss and president have in contact with Hazard.
Diario Gol claim Zidane has been granted permission to sign the Chelsea star.
Hazard needs to be tied down
07.30: Michael Essien says Chelsea need to tie down Eden Hazard as soon as possible.
“He could go to Real Madrid to win the Balon d’Or easier,” Essien told Goal.
“When we talk about Eden, he is such a good player. He’s very quick, very good on the ball. He’s very strong, he may be little but he is strong, trust me! It is hard to get the ball off him.
“He’s such a good player and we’re happy to have him at Chelsea but I’d understand why Madrid would be looking at him. He is proving it week-in, week-out. At the moment he is the most important player [at Chelsea]. When you have Hazard, he can always do something.
“He can always create something to do something with the ball. He makes goals for himself or others. He has that magic touch. I think that Chelsea need to renew his contract. You don’t want your best players to leave and we need him at the club.
“I think he is only motivated about playing football, he just enjoys playing football. It would take a lot of money to replace him [at Chelsea] but I hope that they can tie him down for a long time.”