IT’S all go at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea prepare for a transfer window which fans hope will be busier than their previous two.
But one man who will definitely be a Blues player next season is Hakim Ziyech, who has been announced as Ajax Player of the Season for a third straight year.
Follow all the latest updates and gossip from West London below…
BEWARE OF THE BARK
PREM RULES CONTINUED
Staggered sessions so staff and players arrive at different times.
Players will be allowed 15 minutes to warm up including gym exercises and must work in groups of no more than five (including four outfield players) on a pitch while remaining at least 2m apart.
Maximum session length of 75 minutes including ball work but no contact or tackling and spitting is banned. Players then have 15 minutes to finish “essential recovery” programmes.
All players must take their own equipment away with any GPS gear worn in training left in a specific area to be disinfected before being handled by staff wearing PPE.
Staff to disinfect all corner flags, cones, goalposts, GPS units, balls, gloves boots and other equipment.
Players must leave as soon as they have completed their sessions and are banned from congregating in any area. All bathing/showering to be away from training ground.
Food, fluid, nutritional supplements and medication to be collected from designated point at exit gates.
Premier League clubs will today agree the “Stage One” training ground rules for the initial step towards a resumption of football.
SunSport outlines what can – and can’t – be done:
BEFORE TRAINING STARTS
All players must have given a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of resuming training and be tested twice per week.
They must self-isolate for seven days if showing symptoms or if any members of their family do. All staff must confirm in writing they understand the new regulations.
All players and staff must have designated parking place at least three spaces away from any other car and arrive wearing training clothes and carrying towels and drinks bottles.
Each player or staff member must take a temperature check and complete a medical questionnaire.
No massage or soft tissue treatment unless deemed “essential”, in advance, by the club doctor.
Players can only access dressing rooms to use the toilet and wash basins and only leave their boots at the training ground.
The British Medical Association has launched an attack on the Premier League for buying up so much PPE – as NHS workers battle the coronavirus on the frontline.
The chief doctors’ union in the UK has told The Telegraph that the English top flight should not be using testing equipment, masks and gloves until it has started to make more inroads in tackling the killer bug.
A BMA spokesman told the Telegraph: “The latest BMA survey results seem to show the supply chain situation is improving but there are still issues in some areas.
“It is important that these are resolved first, and adequate and consistent supply is available across the health service, before we consider non-essential sectors.”
Giorgio Chiellini says Maurizio Sarri’s smoking habit is so bad that players have to shower after seeing him.
The Juventus defender said players leave the former Chelsea boss’ office absolutely reeking of fags.
The Italy captain said in his autobiography Io, Giorgio: “He’s got a very closed-off personality, doesn’t let much slip, even if Juventus managed to whittle down some of his sharper edges.
“The one thing nobody has been able to change is his outlandish attachment to cigarettes.
“You can only go and talk to him in his office before a shower, still wearing your playing kit, because otherwise we’d stink of smoke.”
DEVIL MAY CARE
Former Manchester United star Nani has revealed why he snubbed a move to Arsenal and Chelsea over a switch to Old Trafford.
He told the Red Devil’s official website: “At that time, I was lucky because I was working with the strongest agents in the world and then we had a connection with a lot of important persons.
“People who were important in Manchester because, at that time, Ronaldo was playing there and had a similar story, you know, playing for Sporting and then Ferguson went to bring him to United. Carlos Queiroz was there as well, he’s Portuguese, so it can help a little bit and I was very excited.
“My agent asked me as there were so many teams to choose from – Chelsea, Arsenal, teams in Italy like Juventus and Inter [Milan]. Bayern [Munich] and [Real] Madrid – I don’t know if they were true but it was in the news.
“I chose Manchester because of the reasons they gave me at that time and everything [about how] the past was involved with me. It gave me the reasons to go there, all my story and beyond that, told me to go to Manchester.
“It was a club where I have a story in the past before I moved to Manchester, when I was a kid, so it was good.”
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has insisted that he is sympathetic to Premier League footballers voicing their concern about Project Restart.
He told the club’s official website: “I know they are good lads, their intentions and feelings for their family are good, they want to get in to work, they can’t wait to get back and play football so the important part of my job at the moment is showing empathy towards them.
“You can’t just tell them we’re going in this direction because this is something that’s affected everyone and their families. Football has been put in its place.
“Everyone wants to get back playing, we all miss it, but we need to know the players are comfortable.
“The players have been out for nine or 10 weeks, the first two weeks we were in self-isolation and they couldn’t leave their houses, that’s not normal for a footballer, so we have to make sure we get that right.”
UEFA chiefs want this season’s Champions League and Europa League finals wrapped up by August.
The football federation’s president Aleksander Ceferin has said the summer is the deadline for all of Europe’s top leagues.
He told beIN Sports: ““We have an idea but we have to wait for the executive committee of Uefa to confirm the dates.
“I can say that the European season will be finished, if everything is as it is now, in August.
“As things look now, I’m sure… that we can finish the European season and this means Uefa competition.
“I think the majority of leagues will finish the season. The ones who will not, it’s their decision.
“But they will still have to play qualifiers if they want to participate in the European Uefa competition.”
Newcastle fans are allowed to get excited with prospective new owner Mohammed bin Salman’s funds set to dwarf his Premier League rivals’.
The Sunday Times has published its Rich List 2020 and it makes for interesting reading where football is concerned.
Roman Abramovich, as he has done since he took over Chelsea in 2003, features at the top end, with an estimated wealth of £10.2bn.
TO BE FRANK
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has discussed the latest situation regarding the club’s stars including Willian who are out of contract this summer.
He told the Blues official website: “We have big players in that position so that’s obviously something I’m looking at very carefully.
“The ones out of contract here have been great servants for the club and actually have a lot of feeling for the club, but of course they will be concerned about themselves in terms of how they are now, and if pre-season is rushed they’ll want to make sure they’re alright.
“So it’s going to have to be something we look at. Hopefully we can have that arrangement so they can stay with us because if we play again I would love the squad to look as it’s looked all season, but we’ll have to see how that works.”
LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Championship clubs are reportedly considering a wage cap for the 2021/22 season – in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Salaries in the second-tier have gotten increasingly out of hand in the pursuit of Premier League riches and are coming under further scrutiny amid the virus crisis.
According to the Mirror, a £15-20million annual limit on squad wages is to be mulled over in the coming months.
Instituting any cap before next season is considered too difficult with clubs already having to take drastic measures to control the financial devastation brought about by the pandemic.
And any new measures would have to sit alongside, or replace, the Championship’s oft-maligned Profit and Sustainability laws.
Chelsea have set their asking price for Jorginho.
Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri is interested in a third reunion with midfielder, who he took to Stamford Bridge from Napoli in 2018.
According to Tuttosport, Chelsea are set to ask the Italian giants for a fee between £58million and £62m for the 28-year-old, who is under contract until the summer of 2023.
Former Chelsea player Emmanuel Petit has named his dream Premier League five-a-side team but found no room for any Blues players.
The Mirror reports that the Frenchman included Liverpool duo Alisson and Andrew Robertson in defence.
In midfield, Petit has gone attacking and has named Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes from rivals United.
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is the striker the World Cup winner has picked to lead his line.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce believe the Premier League season shouldn’t restart until the end of June at the earliest.
He told The Telegraph: “We’ve listened to what has been said and, with the precautions taken, we will get back to work and start phase one.
“Can we get to that stage where we can have all the players on the pitch together? We don’t know yet.
“Phase one will be mainly fitness work, four or five players on a pitch. Let’s see how we get on.
“You have to remember that they have had eight weeks off and that is probably the longest break some of these players have had in their careers.
“If we were doing pre-season, we would have six weeks and probably have six friendly games to get them ready for the first league match.
“So, we need a good stretch of time here to get them ready. Certainly once we get into stage two, that is vitally important.
“We need enough preparation time to get these players into shape or they are just going to fall down like a pack of cards.
“Most of the managers have the same concerns. We would need at least six weeks. I don’t see how we can play games until the back end of June.”
Jorginho would jump at the chance of a reunion at Juventus with his former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
But the Blues midfielder, valued at £63million, will only move to the Serie A giants if they miss out on their main target, Barcelona’s Brazilian star Arthur, claim Italian newspaper Tutto Sport.
Juve officials are set to hold talks with Stamford Bridge chiefs over the transfer of left-back Emerson Palmieri.
That could mean they test the water to see if Jorginho could be for sale, with Bosnian star Miralem Pjanic a likely makeweight in the deal.
Chelsea have been handed a boost in their race with rivals Manchester United to the signing of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.
The Blues will receive a major cash-injection from Atletico Madrid this summer when Alvaro Morata completes a permanent switch back to Spain following a season-long loan.
Chelsea are due to receive £48.5m for the flop striker, and that those funds could be used to bolster their bid for England international Sancho.
Chelsea are reportedly confident of beating London rivals Tottenham in the race for Feyenoord’s teenage sensation Lamare Bogarde.
Football Insider claim that the Blues feel they now have an advantage over their former manager Jose Mourinho for the 16-year-old Dutch midfielder.
Arsenal are also said to be interested in Bogarde, but face competition from Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Juventus and AC Milan.
KEEP AN EYE OUT
Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing Barcelona goalkeeper Neto to provide competition for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Brazilian has made just one LaLiga appearance since joining the Catalans last summer from Valencia.
The Express claimed that Chelsea are keen on Neto, 30, but face competition from Arsenal, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis and AC Milan.
MORNING CHELSEA FANS
The Blues are reportedly ready to ditch FIVE players this summer to free up funds for Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell.
ESPN reports that Frank Lampard will cast off a number of first-team members as he looks to rebuild his squad.
However, the Chelsea boss has no plans to shift Real Madrid target N’Golo Kante or vice-captain Jorginho – a target for Juventus.
Yet current left-backs Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri are no longer required, along with Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi.
While youngster Ian Maatsen could be promoted to the senior squad.
In a blow to the club, RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner is ready to stay in Germany for another year in order to seal a “dream” move to Liverpool.
The Athletic claim he will stay and then get closer to the end of his Leipzig contract, when a much cheaper release clause kicks in.
It is due to finish in 2023 and in a year’s time, his value will have decreased, but that figure drops to £35m in 2021 and just £22m in 2022, the website claims.
And finally, Brazil legend Rivaldo believes Chelsea are the front-runners in the race to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer.
He wrote in his Betfair column: “Chelsea are the favourites to sign Coutinho and I don’t believe they will be put off by his recent injury.
“After all, next season is still very distant and he will have enough time to completely recover.
“On the other hand, if the transfer doesn’t go forward and he stays at Barcelona perhaps a salary reduction, based on the player’s decision, could earn plaudits from the clubs board and maybe let him show that he is eager to remain at the club and finally prove his worth.”
Frank Lampard is doing more than his fair share to help the NHS in these difficult times.
Hakim Ziyech has got Chelsea fans excited by picking up Ajax’s Player of the Season award for an incredible third year running.
The Moroccan will move from Amsterdam to Stamford Bridge this summer after signing in January.
And he said of winning the award after the Dutch season was cancelled: “It’s a bit strange. You know that everything comes to an end, but it’s a strange way of closing this chapter.
“I am happy to take the next step, but you don’t want to end it like this. It feels as if you didn’t pass the exams, that’s how it feels. You’re powerless. It doesn’t feel like the season ended successfully.”
STILL ON TRACK
Project Restart can stay on track — even if Premier League players are found to have Covid-19 when official testing begins today.
Prem bosses expect some players and club staff to test positive when contractors Prenetics carry out the first phase of the official programme over the next two days.
West Ham defender Aaron Creswell has joined he lists of top players voicing worries about possibly returning too quicklyBut they believe the Bundesliga, which had 10 positives from an initial 1,724 tests across 36 clubs, shows that plans to resume competitive action can still move forward.
A source said: “There is an expectation that there will be positives — but that doesn’t mean the train is off the track.
“The Germans had 10 positive tests but they didn’t panic and in the second set there were none in Bundesliga 1.”
This is the mad moment former Manchester City star Dedryck Boyata broke coronavirus rules by KISSING a team-mate on football’s return from lockdown.
Boyata planted a smacker on on-loan Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic in Hertha Berlin’s 3-0 behind-closed-doors Bundesliga win at Hoffenheim.
But, incredibly, he was defended by his coach and will not face any punishment — despite Augsburg boss Heiko Herrlich being banned for leaving his team’s hotel to buy toothpaste and skin cream.
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram – son of France legend Lilian – was also seen appearing to kiss a team-mate.
Thuram looked to peck his fellow player on the cheek after scoring his side’s second against Frankfurt.
Any contact outside of challenges is banned – and subs have even been made to sit two metres apart.
WHERE THERE’S A WILF
Chelsea Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha has emerged as a potential target for Newcastle if the Saudi takeover goes through.
A major squad overhaul is planned providing the Premier League approve the £300million buyout.
Mauricio Pochettino is understood to be the prospective new owners’ preferred choice as manager if they decide to sack Steve Bruce — and the Argentine has made it clear he would want total control over signings.
But that has not stopped soundings being made about the availability of winger Zaha, valued at more than £60million by Crystal Palace.
The Ivory Coast star, 27, has ambitions to play Champions League football and wanted to leave the Eagles last season.
But should Toon invest huge sums on their squad he could be persuaded to move to the North East.
NOT GOING BAK
Chelsea are reportedly prepared to offload Tiemoue Bakayoko for just £31million this summer.
The midfielder, 25, has made just 43 appearances for the Blues since his £40million move from Monaco in 2017 with the club now prepared to take a £9m loss on him this summer, according to Le10 Sport.
Paris Saint-Germain are among the clubs that could offer him a fresh start next season but they are only willing to fork out £26.5m for him.
Spanish side Sevilla have also set their sights on signing him – but he allegedly has his heart set on a return to AC Milan.