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Chelsea eye Dries Mertens

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Chelsea are exploring the possibility of signing Dries Mertens from Napoli before Friday’s transfer deadline.

The 32-year-old is out of contract until the end of the season and is thought to be keen on staying at the Serie A club until the summer.

However, that situation could change if the Blues are able to agree a fee with Napoli and offer a financial package tempting enough to to move to west London.

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Mertens, who has scored 88 league goals in 221 appearances, represents a cheaper option than Edinson Cavani, who is the same age but on £360,000-a-week at Paris Saint-Germain.

Chelsea have expressed an interest in Cavani but have so far baulked at the total outlay, given PSG want at least £15m whole the striker wants a minimum 18-month deal.

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Atletico Madrid remain favourites to land Cavani, meaning the Blues are turning their attentions elsewhere with top target Moussa Dembele not available from Lyon until the summer.

Napoli may be reluctant to lose Mertens given they are languishing in 10th place in Serie A and have a Champions League last 16 tie against Barcelona to come.

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Mikel, Oliseh excluded from Ancelotti’s best 11

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Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has left out Nigerian duo Sunday Oliseh and Mikel Obi from his all-time best 11 players he’s coached.

Oliseh worked with Ancelotti at Juventus during the 1999/00 season.

Mikel was one of his midfield stalwarts during his two-year spell at Chelsea, where they both won the Premier League and FA Cup titles.

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The squad, which has a large number of Serie A stars, also excludes Cristiano Ronaldo, Filipo Inzaghi, Del Pierio and Didier Drogba.

Ancelotti, who has won silverware in Italy, Spain, England, Germany and France, listed Cafu, Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko in his ideal 11, according to British tabloid, The Sun.

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Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were also listed in the squad.

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EPL: Why Man City lost 1-0 to Southampton – Guardiola

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Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, has said that Southampton defeated his team 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday night because the Citizens made a mistake and could not convert their chances in front of goal.

Man City was defeated by Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium, after a first-half goal from Che Adams.

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Speaking after the game, Guardiola was quoted by Express UK as saying: “We played really well again, but we made a mistake and after, we had chances to score we could not convert.

” We cannot lose a lot of games, and we have lost a lot of games.

“In the (title-winning seasons) Premier League, we were a machine in terms of playing and results and this season results have not been good.

“We were a machine in the second season. Every game we had seen, how we have lost and played and really good, but it’s not enough.

“We put in a good performance here, but it was not enough, and in the league, we have lost games in this way. When this happens so many times, it’s not a coincidence, it’s happened many times.”

Man City will now face Newcastle United in their next Premier League clash on Wednesday.

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Conte blames himself after another Inter Milan collapse

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Antonio Conte

Exasperated Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte blamed himself after watching his team collapse again on Sunday, almost certainly ending their Serie A title challenge.

“There’s a great, indeed enormous, disappointment,” said Conte whose side were leading 10-man Bologna when they missed a second-half penalty kick.

They went on to concede twice to go down 2-1 to late goals by Gambian pair Musa Juwara and Musa Barrow.

“We managed to lose a match that we should have brought home comfortably. I’m angry with myself as the coach and responsible for what happens on the pitch,” said Conte, whose side had taken a first-half lead through Romelu Lukaku.

“The players must also be angry with themselves, although they only have a small part of the blame.”

Inter Milan, who have a habit of making life difficult for themselves, led the table in the early part of the season.

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But they have now dropped 11 points behind leaders Juventus with eight matches to play.

There was a long delay before Conte spoke to the press and some Italian media reports said he was involved in a meeting with club directors.

“It’s right to question all of us. First of all me, because I was called to bring Inter Milan back to victory after so many years,” he said.

“Of course, it won’t happen overnight but this situation brings a lot of bitterness.

“We have not reached the standard we set ourselves. Everyone has to show they want to rise above the past years, otherwise it’s right to make other decisions”.

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was happy with the result but also frustrated that his team, who are ninth, took so long to get going.

“We were poor in the first 20 minutes. We were afraid and there were too many wayward passes,” he said. “We really looked a completely different team in the second half.

“It wasn’t easy to be a goal down with 10 men. This is a great victory, with character and conviction.

“However, we’ve sometimes waited to concede before we start to play. That’s not okay, we need to play from the off.”

 

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Reuters

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