Chelsea Plan £200m Raid on Serie A Stars

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Chelsea are plotting a stunning £200million outlay on Serie A players this summer with Miralem Pjanic and Lautaro Martinez among their targets.

The Blues are looking to invest heavily in their squad at the end of the season after being freed of the transfer ban that stopped Frank Lampard buying last summer.

He is keen to add a goalkeeper and striker among other positions and has reportedly identified three players in the Italian top flight he would like at Stamford Bridge.

The Evening Standard cite reports in Italy that claim the Blues are willing to splash out around £200m on the trio of big names in Serie A.

One of those is Juventus midfielder Pjanic, who may be keen on a move after falling down the pecking order under Maurizio Sarri.

The former Chelsea boss has reverted to a midfield trio of Rodrigo Bentancur, Blaise Matuidi and Aaron Ramsey in recent weeks, leaving the Bosnian out.

It is believed it would take a bid in the region of £55m to get Juventus to sell.

Lampard may be willing to part with Jorginho, a player bought by Sarri but one who has failed to find his feet in the Premier League, to make space in his midfield.

Lampard was desperate to buy a striker in the January transfer window to compete with Tammy Abraham but failed to get one through the door.

They are now said to be joining the long list of clubs interested in Martinez after his stunning form for Antonio Conte’s Inter.

Despite heavy interest from Barcelona as well, Conte seems unwilling to let one of his key players go but with Mauro Icardi still to return to the club they could be persuaded to sell if the offer is right.

The third Serie A player linked with a move to west London is AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Kepa Arrizabalaga lost his place as Chelsea’s No 1 earlier this year after a series of major errors.

He was replaced by Willy Caballero but came back into the team before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If Lampard decides to change his first-choice goalkeeper then the Blues would do well to recoup the £72m they spent on Kepa in the summer of 2018.

Donnarumma was hailed as the world’s next great goalkeeper only a few years ago but has seen his stock fall due to AC Milan’s on-field woes.

It is believed he could be available for around £47m.

Ribery’s Fiorentina Suffer Ten Cases of COVID-19, Higuain Leaves Quarantine

Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso revealed late Wednesday that ten members of the Italian outfit have tested positive for coronavirus, with three in hospital.

“The situation is worsening, in the club we have about ten people affected by this unfortunate disease, three members of staff are in hospital,” Commisso told Sky Sport Italia from the United States.

Players infected include Italian forward Patrick Cutrone, Argentine German Pezzella and Serbia forward Dusan Vlahovic.

As a result the Tuscany side have launched a fundraiser to help city hospitals with former France midfielder Franck Ribery donating 50 000 euros ($54 000).

“I want to thank Ribery for his donation,” said Commisso.

“We’ve started well, we’ve already raised 420 000 euros with a target of 500 000.”

Serie A rivals Brescia also confirmed two employees had tested positive for COVID-19 which has killed nearly 3 000 people in Italy.

Meanwhile, Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain has left the team’s quarantine and returned home to Argentina, according to multiple reports in Italy on Thursday.

The 32-year-old international had been in isolation along with the rest of Serie A leaders’ squad following teammate Daniele Rugani’s positive test a week ago, with France’s Blaise Matuidi also catching the virus in recent days.

Higuain had reportedly asked Juve for permission to visit his sick mother, and had a test confirming he was negative for COVID-19.

The recommended quarantine period is two weeks.

As flights to Argentina are all blocked, Higuain organised a transfer by private jet with his family first to France late on Wednesday, then Spain and from there fly to South America, Sky Sports Italia and Gazzetta Dello Sport reported.

Germany’s Sami Khedira and Bosnian Miralem Pjanic have also left Turin to join their families, Gazzetto reported.

Star attacker Cristiano Ronaldo had remained in Portugal to self-isolate after his mother suffered a stroke.

Italy has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic with over 3 000 deaths and more than 13 000 positive cases.