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11pm Chelsea transfer news LIVE: Lionel Messi tussle with Blues ‘in equation’, Alaba eyed on a free

CHELSEA return to top-flight action in a London derby with Tottenham on Sunday.

And the Blues are rumoured to be one of the clubs interested in six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Follow all the latest Chelsea news below...

  • MORNING, CHELSEA FANS

    Early-season London derbies don't get much bigger than this.

    Chelsea will finish the weekend as Premier League leaders if they beat second-placed Tottenham this afternoon and ruin boss Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge.

    And with exciting Yank Christian Pulisic expected to be fit, Blues' chief Frank Lampard could well have a full squad to pick from.

    Pulisic was revving up nicely to peak form before being sidelined with a hamstring injury a month ago.

    Close-season recruits Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva should also be back after being rested for last weekend’s Prem win at Newcastle.

    But the mood amongst many Blues' fans has been soured after the club revealed £75 ticket prices for the home clash with Leeds next Saturday - when 2,000 supporters will be allowed in

    Chelsea Supporters Trust (CST) slated the "clear exploitation of supporter loyalty".

    The CST also said it had believed "tickets would be sold on 50 per cent loyalty points and 50 per cent on a first come, first served basis" - not through a ballot.

    They added: “The CST is also appalled to learn that this price is the highest that any PL club is charging for tickets."

    Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez is again being linked with the Blues following reported interest in the summer.

  • REDKNAPP ON LAMPS VS JOSE

    Sunsport columnist and ex-Spurs chief Harry Redkanp believes Jose Mourinho's mind games will count for little on his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday - when he takes on Blues' legend Frank Lampard.

    Redknapp says: "Mourinho isn’t just one of the best managers in the business, he’s also a classic wind-up merchant.

    "He loves all that and has been at it for years, as Frank Lampard found out when they had a bit of a spat as Chelsea played Tottenham a couple of months ago.

    "Some people have built up that row at the Carabao Cup game into something it’s not ahead of Chelsea playing Spurs again.

    "I speak to Frank a lot and know he got a bit of the hump after Jose said he didn’t get off the bench when he was losing 3-0 at West Brom, but it was something and nothing.

    "You’ll often get a bit aggy on the touchline. Frank had a bit of a row with Jurgen Klopp as well, but there’s no problem there either.

    "After the game it’s all forgotten, you’ll have a cup of tea or a drink and you just get on with it.

    "The one certainty is it should be a cracking game because both Chelsea and Spurs have got a serious chance of being right up there this season."

  • NEW EDEN BLOW

    Ex-Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard lasted just 28 minutes against Alaves as the unlucky Real Madrid star suffered yet another injury.

    In only his fifth start of the season, the superstar Belgian injured himself when he was hacked down inside the box.

  • GIM FITS THE BILL

    Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez is being linked with Chelsea.

    Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano claims the Blues are again monitoring the Uruguay 25-year-old.

  • TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG

    Charlton boss Lee Bowyer has admitted on-loan Chelsea defender Ian Maatsen needs a break.

    Bowyer was left disappointed after the 18-year-old picked up his fifth caution of the season in today’s 2-0 win over Ipswich.

    Speaking after the game, Bowyer said: “Ben will come in, when he came off the bench here he did really well – defended the far post really well.

    “He [Maatsen] probably needed a little rest, if I’m honest.

    “I spoke to someone at Chelsea earlier on in the week and said I’m going to drop him out here and there, because he is 18-years-old and I don’t want to burn him out.

    “He’s a young kid learning the game, so now probably the suspension will do him well.”

  • TICKED OFF BY PRICES

    Chelsea fans have responded with fury to the ‘eye-watering’ £75 ticket price for their return to Stamford Bridge.

    A ballot system will be deployed to dish out the tickets.

    But supporters were stunned by the jaw-dropping price tag of £75 for the West Stand seats opposite the dugouts.

    Some 1,600 of the 2,000 fans allowed in will have to fork out the fee to watch the Leeds game on December 5.

    The other 400 are to be housed behind the goal in the Shed End, where seats cost £40 each.

    Leading the furious response were the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, who stated: “The club, in their wisdom, have decided to charge an eye-watering £75 for the majority of sold tickets.

    “The CST is also appalled to learn that this price is the highest that any PL club is charging for tickets.

    “At a time of financial uncertainty... the CST believe that this is a clear exploitation of supporter loyalty."

  • BARGAIN BLUES

    Chelsea reportedly have their eye on Kalidou Koulibaly and Dries Mertens with Napoli reportedly facing a cashflow crisis. 

    Italian football journalist Ciro Venerato claims staff and players at the Naples giants have not received any pay since July. 

    Gennaro Gattuso’s side, who are currently sixth in Serie A, are among the division’s teams whose finances have taken a hit following the Covid crisis. 

    And earlier this year it is thought the Napoli boss took a wage reduction in order to help Napoli save the jobs of club staff.

    Football.London believes Napoli, who will play Roma on Sunday, could look to shift some players off their wage bill, should Venerato's claims prove true. 

    And it is thought Chelsea, who strengthened their backline with the summer signing of veteran Thiago Silva, could consider a swoop for Koulibaly - if Napoli are open to a cut-price sale. 

  • BARKLEY INJURED

    Chelsea's Ross Barkley, currently on-loan at fellow Premier League club Aston Villa - is reportedly out injured for three weeks.

    The injury comes a couple of weeks before the ever busy Premier League fixture list.

    Barkley has impressed since going on-loan, and has played a vital role in the clubs success so far this season.

    And he's looked particularly dangerous alongside Villa captain Jack Grealish.

    Speaking ahead of Monday's trip to West Ham, Smith said: "Ross has got a hamstring injury. Obviously, he's a week into that already.

    "I think it will be two to three weeks and we're very hopeful he'll be back soon.

    "We're hopeful it's not as bad a hamstring (injury) as it could be, which is good news for us.

    "We're not going to rush him and we're going to make sure he's fully fit because we don't want to lose him again."

  • MAATSEN ADMISSION

    Charlton boss Lee Bowyer has admitted on-loan Chelsea defender Ian Maatsen needs a break.

    Bowyer was left disappointed after the 18-year-old picked up his fifth caution of the season in today's 2-0 win over Ipswich.

    Speaking after the game, Bowyer said: "Ben will come in, when he came off the bench here he did really well – defended the far post really well.

    “He [Maatsen] probably needed a little rest, if I’m honest.

    "I spoke to someone at Chelsea earlier on in the week and said I’m going to drop him out here and there, because he is 18-years-old and I don’t want to burn him out.

    “He’s a young kid learning the game, so now probably the suspension will do him well.”

  • CESAR'S SUGGESTIONS

    Need something to watch during lockdown? No need to worry, Cesar Azpilicueta has you covered.

    Speaking to the Chelsea official website, Azpilicueta gave his Netflix suggestions.

    His top three:

    Money Heist - A popular choice among the Chelsea squad, set in Azpi's native tongue but dubbed in English.

    The Last Dance - covers the career of the legendary NBA superstar Michael Jordan.

    Peaky Blinders - according to Azpilicueta, it's a must watch!

  • FUTURE STAR

    Chelsea fans think they've found their next big academy star, and he goes by the name of Jude Soonsup-Bell.

    The 16-year-old has caused Chelsea twitter to explode after he scored a wonderful solo goal in Ed Brand’s young Blues side that beat Barnsley 8-1 at Kingsmeadow

    Bell dribbled the ball into the penalty area close to the by-line, found himself with his back to goal, and he pulled off a cheeky back-heel beating the keeper.

    One fan said: "Jude Soonsup-Bell is our answer to Haaland."

  • AROUND THE GROUNDS

    How many fans will be allowed back inside stadiums around the country?

  • 'WRONG AND SILLY'

    Chelsea fans have responded with fury to the 'eye-watering' £75 ticket price for their return to Stamford Bridge.

    A ballot system will be deployed to dish out the tickets.

    But supporters were stunned by the jaw-dropping price tag of £75 for the West Stand seats opposite the dugouts.

    Some 1,600 of the 2,000 fans allowed in will have to fork out the fee to watch the Leeds game on December 5.

    The other 400 are to be housed behind the goal in the Shed End, where seats cost £40 each.

    Leading the furious response were the Chelsea Supporters' Trust, who were left 'appalled' by the fees.

    They stated: "The club, in their wisdom, have decided to charge an eye-watering £75 for the majority of sold tickets.

    "The CST is also appalled to learn that this price is the highest that any PL club is charging for tickets.

    "At a time of financial uncertainty, for CFC to charge supporters £75 for a match ticket, the CST believe that this is a clear exploitation of supporter loyalty.

    "The CST have expressed our disappointment and anger to the club representatives in a phone meeting (on Saturday morning) and will continue to push for a more appropriate scheme in the upcoming months."

  • HASSELBAINK RESPONDS

    Former Chelsea frontman Floyd Hasselbaink believes that Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is under more pressure than Blues boss Frank Lampard.

    Speaking on Sky Sports, Hasselbaink said: "As a squad, if [Tottenham] are not winning, or close to winning, the league this year then I think they will have underachieved.

    “I think Chelsea doesn’t need to win it. Frank is not there yet. If they win it of course they will take it with two hands.

    “But it’s only Frank’s second year, we all know what happened last year. He had to come in and let the youngsters play and he did magnificently.

    “They have spent a lot of money but he is building for the future. In that aspect Spurs are a little bit further than Chelsea.”

  • LAMPARD DEFENDS KANE

    Blues boss Frank Lampard has hailed Tottenham's Harry Kane as one of the world's best.

    Speaking ahead of the game between Chelsea and Tottenham, Lampard said: "Firstly the queries of Harry Kane are incredible and a nonsense.

    "Harry Kane is one of the best players in world football and has always had the talents to play as an out-and-out nine or as someone who can drop off.

    "Now he's developing in his own way as he matures as a player. And he's a really impressive player, there's no doubt about that.

    "I've got a huge amount of respect for Harry Kane, and around him now he's got a very solid team, squad, good players around him, players that want to run behind him if he does want to come short.

    "So I think he's a very good and a very intelligent player, it's as simple as that.

    "He's got a very good coach. And that's why they're in a strong position. As a coach we do rely on our top players to perform.

    "And at the minute Harry Kane is an example of a player really in a sweet spot and playing some top football."

  • FANS RETURN

    Chelsea are one of the teams allowed up to 2000 fans inside the stadium once lockdown restrictions loosen.

  • DYNAMIC DUO

    Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard remain the top duo in Premier League history, but Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are hot on their heels.

  • BLUES STATS

    Timo Werner has had a big impact since joining from RB Leipzig in the summer.

    He's scored four and provided two assists in nine Premier League games!

  • MOUR ON THE LINE

    Jose Mourinho says the heat is all on big-spending Frank Lampard ahead of their Stamford Bridge showdown tomorrow.

    But the Tottenham boss insists it is still nothing like the pressure he faced while he was in charge of Chelsea.

    Mourinho, who has also bossed Manchester United, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, said: “When I was in these clubs, there was huge pressure on me — and now there is not huge pressure on the coaches of these teams.”

  • FOUR-T KNOX

    Frank Lampard's decision to settle on his back four makes Chelsea genuine title contenders, according to Martin Keown.

    Keown wrote in the Daily Mail: "Lampard was chopping and changing his defence. It felt like everybody was on trial.

    "But Lampard has found his most reliable back four in Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma and Reece James and it’s paying dividends.

    "Whereas previously he could not decide on his centre back pairing, Silva and Zouma have become his regular partnership.

    "Since the start of October, they have started together seven times. Chelsea are unbeaten in all of those and have kept five clean sheets.

    "Previously, the Blues’ habit of ball-watching was getting them into trouble.

    "Their naivety was on show in a 3-3 draw with Southampton, which took them to 65 goals conceded in 43 Premier League games under Lampard. Now, they’ve shut that door."

  • MARADONA - MY IDOL

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard revealed Diego Maradona was his idol growing up and that as he grew up he looked past the 'Hand of God' goal.

    Maradona tragically passed away on Wednesday aged 60 after a cardiac arrest in his native Argentina - prompting thousands of tributes across the footballing world.

    And Lampard said: "He was the player on the world stage that made me fall in love with the game. I was fortunate to meet him very briefly, he was a footballing god and it is very sad.

    "I remember vividly, moments of World Cup's in my early years. I wasn't even that put out by the 'Hand of God', I was as an England fan but his individual brilliance overcame that as I grew up."

  • BLUES NEWS

    Catch all the highlights from Frank Lampard's press conference.

    The Chelsea boss leads his side into a tantalising clash against his old manager Jose Mourinho, now in charge of table-topping Spurs, at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

  • BEING FRANK

    Frank Lampard insists his relationship with his old manager Jose Mourinho is still 'cordial' despite the nature of it changing given their roles as rival Premier League bosses.

    Lampard's Blues host Mourinho's table-topping Spurs on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

    The former Chelsea midfielder said: "We were always very cordial. If I see Jose, if I talk about him or if we send messages to each other, we've always had a good relationship.

    "Naturally now, when we are managers of big clubs that are rivals, I think it does change the relationship. Not in a bad way - I've got no problem with him. We are very competitive people and we both want to do well.

    "I think when I speak about Jose I always show how much respect I have for him. I've always felt that back from him."

  • REECE LIGHTNING

    Chelsea right-back Reece James has been hailed as one of the Premier League's best by Liverpool rival Trent Alexander-Arnold.

    Alexander-Arnold told the Evening Standard: "I remember him always being good for the Chelsea youth teams, remember watching him in the Youth Cup.

    "Chelsea is probably the hardest team to break into as a local lad and as a young English player. For him to be able to do that is a statement itself.

    "He has shown since he came in over the last year or so that he is a good player, solid defensively and good going forward. He is an all-round right-back and probably up there with some of the best in the league.

    "He is still young and has a lot to learn but as for his talent and potential he is a very good player. Competition for places is always exciting. It is always something that helps me, I think helps a lot of players get better.

    "I think right-back is the most populated position for England, there are a lot of really good players going for one position so it is always going to cause headaches for the manager.

    "I think there are maybe five, six who could easily play that position and do it to a high level. It is tough."

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