The Hard Tackle takes a look at the key news stories surrounding Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Chelsea romped back to winning ways in the Premier League with a comprehensive 3-0 win over champions Leicester City, a result that saw them increase their lead at the top of the table. Ahead of the visit of Hull City this weekend, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea Under-18s Advance In The FA Youth Cup
Chelsea have been flying in the Premier League this season, breaking records, playing beautiful football and blowing the competition away. They have now established a seven-point lead at the top of the table and are regarded by many as the odds on favourite to lift the Premier League come May.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 18, 2017
Looks like the impressive youth team has taken inspiration from their senior counterparts, as the under-18 side romped to an emphatic 5-0 win over Birmingham under-18s in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday night.
The skipper on the night Mason Mount stood out for the Blues, as the young 18-year-old midfielder struck a penalty for the victors, before Cole Dasilva scored the fourth in the 60th minute. Reece James rounded off the win by scoring his side’s fifth goal in the dying stages of the match.
Jody Morris’ side will now face the Sheffield Wednesday under-18 side in the fifth round, with the match set to be played on Monday, when they will look to get one step closer to defending the title they won last season.
Ballack Weighs In On Terry’s Future
Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack was back at the Cobham training ground this week, where he saw the players being put through their paces. Later on he talked to Chelsea TV, where he weighed in on club captain John Terry’s future at the club.
Ballack said, “He is big, you don’t have to talk about his influence over the years and his personality. Now is the point where he is reaching an age where he decides how long he wants to go on that level because I saw the training and it’s quite intense and it’s not getting easier for a guy of his age.”
Terry is slowly reaching the end of his storied Chelsea career, with whom the former England captain has won several trophies including the Premier League, Champions League and the Europa League.
However, with just six months left on his contract, and with Chelsea unlikely to offer a new deal, his Chelsea career is likely to end at the end of this season.
Diego Costa’s Contract Demands
From one end of the pitch to another, and Diego Costa is reportedly demanding a £300,000 a week contract to stay at Stamford Bridge, with the striker only returning to training this week after Chelsea reopened negotiations with his representatives.
The Spain international was mired in controversy last week after it was reported that Costa allegedly involved in a bust-up with Conte during training, which subsequently made his Chelsea career a matter of constant speculation, with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona being linked with a move for the striker.
However, Costa seemed to have made truce with Conte, and returned to training after demanding a new contract with wages worth £300,000 a week. Chelsea have now promised to reopen negotiations, with talks set to resume next week, but will offer a £225,000 a week, five-year deal.
Luke Shaw Will Not Move To Chelsea
Luke Shaw’s agent addressed speculation surrounding his future at Manchester United, by insisting that he will not be moving away from Old Trafford anytime soon, rebuffing rumours of an exit that had been doing the rounds.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that claimed that Jose Mourinho was growing frustrated with Shaw’s fitness struggles and a lack of progress, as a result of which Manchester United were willing to let the left-back leave, with Chelsea one of the clubs who were interested in signing him.
However, Shaw’s agent Jonathan Barnett insisted that both the England international and Manchester United were happy, saying: “He is happy at the club. Manchester United are very happy with him and he’s very happy at Manchester United.”
Chelsea’s Secret Weapon In Carrasco Pursuit
Finally, Chelsea are considering a lining up a move for Atletico Madrid forward Yannick Fereira Carrasco, and the West London club have a secret weapon up their sleeves. The Blues are hoping their Belgian contingent can help them trump competition and bring their man to Stamford Bridge.
Carrasco has been one of the key figures in Diego Simeone’s side this season bagging 10 goals and 3 assists, and his exploits have seen him being linked with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona in recent months.
However, Chelsea are confident that the presence of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and new signing Michy Batshuayi among their ranks will help tip the scales in their favour, and Antonio Conte would be hoping that he could soon add the 23-year-old to his squad.