Saturday, April 21, 2018

De Bruyne wants starting place at Chelsea; Milan rubbish Balotelli-El Shaarawy swap talk

Belgium international midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will spend the pre-season with Chelsea, following his season-long loan at Werder Bremen, with the 21-year-old having already set his sights on winning a place in the Blues’ starting XI alongside compatriot Eden Hazard, Sky Sports understands.

Chelsea signed De Bruyne from Belgian Pro League side K.R.C. Genk on five-and-a-half-year contract in January 2011 after the two sides agreed a fee in the region of £7 million for the midfielder.

De Bruyne stayed at Genk for the remainder of the 2011-12 campaign, and was shipped out on loan by Roberto Di Matteo prior to the start of this season.

As a result, he has yet to make a professional appearance for Chelsea, with Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Victor Moses and former Bremen star Marko Marin ahead of him on the Blues depth chart at the moment.

All things considered, De Bruyne will re-join Chelsea following the expiration of his loan at Bremen, with fierce competition for a starting place awaiting his arrival.

“I am definitely going to spend pre-season with Chelsea. After that, we will see what happens,” De Bruyne told Kreiszeitung Syke.

“I know it will be very tough for me to accept being just a substitute. I know I would become extremely unhappy.

“I want to play every match and if that doesn’t happen at Chelsea, then perhaps I will have to find a club that are a bit lower in standard.”

De Bruyne has bagged four goals and four assists in 16 league matches, all starts, for Bremen this season, while adding one goal and two assists in four 2014 World Cup qualifying matches for Belgium.

Milan rubbish Balotelli-El Shaarawy swap talk

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has played down reports suggesting a potential swap deal involving Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy, insisting that the 20-year-old Italy international will remain at Milan, Sky Sports reports.

“There will not be any exchange,” revealed Galliani.

“El Shaarawy will remain at Milan. We plan to keep our best players and to try and find cover for Nigel de Jong.”

El Shaarawy is undoubtedly Milan’s most prized asset, and best player, at the moment.

The 20-year-old forward has 13 goals and two assists to his name in 16 Serie A appearances this season, and has added two goals and one assist in six appearances, four starts, in the UEFA Champions League.

De Jong, who joined Milan from Manchester City on a three-year deal in August, will be sidelined for the remainder of the season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon in the Rossoneri’s 4-2 victory against Torino on Sunday, 9 December.

In addition, Galliani quashed the likelihood of a potential January swoop for AS Roma defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi.

“De Rossi? It’s impossible,” added Galliani.


Shawn Etemadi



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