Not sure what happened around 22:30 BST on June 17, 2017 at the Daily Mirror’s offices, but they dropped a handful of stories all related to Chelsea, one more sensational than the other.
We don’t usually put all that much faith in the Mirror’s missives, regardless of journalist byline, but this mass-blast is too weird to simply just ignore — plus other outlets are picking them up as well, so you’ll be seeing them around anyway.
(Alas, it was the Express who came up with the Hazard-Cristiano Ronaldo swap ‘exclusive’, so that doesn’t quite fit this silly round-up.)
Perhaps the biggest story relates to the Chelsea head coach — still the Chelsea head coach and no more than head coach — who “remains committed” just as Chelsea themselves have maintained, despite all the rumors of the last few days. Most of this is stuff we’ve already heard (transfer market backing, Costa-text handling, etc), but there are a couple new details.
One is that Conte is house-hunting — mind you, he’s on vacation, so either he’s hitting that Zillow pretty hard or he’s got people looking for him; also, he had the school picked out for his daughter already but not where they will be living? — and the other is that he will be allowed to bring-in a replacement for Steve Holland — mind you, Chelsea have already said that the position will not be filled when Holland took the England job.
This is not a good start, Mirror.
We move on to Diego Costa, where the Mirror bring tidings of an improved bid incoming from Atlético Madrid ... though don’t get your hopes up, it’s only £26m with bonuses to possibly hit what Chelsea paid for Costa back in 2014. But wait, that’s not all! For a limited time — act now! — not only are Atléti banking on this lowball, they also want Chelsea to house Costa for the next six months while also leaving him off our Champions League squad. What could possibly go wrong?
Regardless of that potentially farcical situation, the offer is still less than half the £70m+ that Chelsea were hoping to get out of Costa from China before that door closed for good (both because of Costa himself and the ever-tightening regulations imposed on Chinese Super League clubs).
Why is this so important? Other than not setting a bad precedent — as if we’re still laboring under the impressions that we can somehow avoid being taken advantage of by other teams — apparently our transfer dealings still depend on player sales, despite the persistent £200m war chest rumors pretty much all season. Or something.
The Mirror claim that disagreement over this policy is what got this week’s shenanigans started, though it was Conte himself who said we must be “very cold” when evaluating squad, keeping our best players and, presumably, chucking the rest.
Last but not least, the Mirror bring back the Morata rumors, claiming that Chelsea will look to hijack the deal that’s seen Manchester United hit the pause button after Cristiano Ronaldo dropped his bombshell on Real Madrid. The rumored price is £70m, though if Chelsea are baulking at Lukaku’s €90m valuation, as a few recent rumblings have intimated, I’m not seeing how we’d be so willing to drop basically the same amount on a player who’s lower on our wishlist.
But hey, Mirror.