Month: July 2017

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte wants to avoid “Mourinho season”

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte is insistent that the Blues will not suffer another “Mourinho season” and slump again after winning the Premier League.

The current Premier League champions, then under the management of Jose Mourinho, had also won the 2014-15 title. However, Chelsea seemed to capitulate soon after and slumped in the subsequent season, picking up just 11 points from their first 12 league games.

Mourinho was then quickly dismissed as coach while Chelsea slumps close to the relegation zone, before interim coach Guus Hiddink took over to lead the London club to a mid-table finish.

Conte, who is currently with his team in Singapore where Chelsea had just lost a 2-1 friendly to Internazionale, is insistent and wary of not letting the current Blues squad face the same fate.

“We know the difficulty of the next season and for sure we want to avoid the Mourinho season with Chelsea. Two years ago the team ended the league in 10th place and we want to try to avoid this.”

Mourinho responded to the Italian’s comments later by saying that “I’m not going to lose my hair to speak about Antonio Conte.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea returns to England after straight pre-season defeats – with a 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich in another fixture — with Conte pointing his finger at fatigue after a training month and playing in hot conditions.

“We played against two strong teams in Bayern Munich and Inter in a period that is very important as we are working very hard,” he said. “To play three games with the same players means you finish and are tired. We are tired, very tired.”

AC Milan CEO confirms talks with Diego Costa’s agent

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND – MARCH 18: Diego Costa of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Bet365 Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

AC Milan CEO Marco Fassone has confirmed that his club have been holding talks with the agent representing Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

Costa, 28, have been heavily linked with a return to his former club at Atletico Madrid after reportedly falling out with the Blues and its coach Antonio Conte, with the Italian manager informing him through a text messaged that he was not a part of Conte’s own plans for Chelsea’s  future.

Additionally, Chelsea completed the club-record signing of Costa’s Spanish compatriot Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid — who appears to be a direct replacement for Costa in Chelsea’s formation up front.

Chelsea had since allowed him to negotiate a return to Atletico, but with La Liga club placed under a transfer ban until January there is a high chance for the plan to be mooted.

However, Fassone has hinted that Milan have also already made contact with the Spanish striker’s agent Jorge Mendes, who also represents stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.

“I would prefer to avoid talking about players from other teams; Diego Costa is a great player, but a Chelsea player,” Fassone said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“We went to see [Costa’s agent] Jorge Mendes; there is a lot you can talk to him about. Costa is a great player but he is of Chelsea. That’s all.”

Fassone’s confirmation also comes amidst a big-spending summer transfer window where the Serie A club had already made 10 new signings so far.

Their reinvigorated squad include stellar arrivals such as Leonardo Bonucci and Andre Silva, but coach Vincenzo Montella is reportedly keen to add another striker to his squad, with Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among those linked with a switch to San Siro.

Javier Hernandez joins West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen for £16m

Mexican striker Javier Hernandez has joined Premier League club West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen for a transfer fee of £16m.

Hernandez had scored 59 goals in 156 appearances for United after arriving at Old Trafford in 2010, before spending a brief loan spell with Real Madrid and subsequently joining Leverkusen for £7.3m in August 2015, this time scoring 39 times in 76 matches for the Bundesliga club.

“I am very happy to join West Ham United,” he told West Ham’s official website after signing a three-year contract with the hammers. “For me the Premier League is the best league in the world and when the opportunity came, I was desperate to sign for this club.”

“It was not a difficult decision. West Ham is an historic club and very ambitious. This summer you can see with the players signed that they are looking to have a very good season.”

“I’ve had three fantastic years playing in Spain and Germany but England was really the first big chapter in my career and I am so happy to be back. I am desperate for the season to start and to help the team achieve all their objectives.”

Hernandez, 29, who was also widely known by the nickname Chicharito — or ‘little pea’ — became Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer in May, and will meet  his new team-mates at a pre-season training camp in Germany in the next few days.

He will also be West Ham’s fourth major signing in this summer transfer window after Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart and Marko Arnautovic.

The signing of Arnautovic in particular had been a club record, after the Austrian international forward penned a five-year deal for a fee of £20m, which could rise to £25m.