Silva Chelsea talks, Zubimendi Arsenal and more

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Thiago Silva and Mauricio Pochettino have spoken about the tweet put out by the Chelsea defender’s wife Belle Silva. After the game against Wolves she clearly seemed to aim a dig at Pochettino, calling for a change at Stamford Bridge. That tweet is still there, it hasn’t been deleted, but Pochettino discussed this in his press conference and made it clear that everything has been clarified and that his relationship with Silva is excellent.

I can confirm that Silva and Pochettino had a discussion about this, and their relationship remains very good. However, the feeling in general, even before this incident, is that Silva is not expected to extend his contract at Chelsea, making him a free agent this summer. There is a very concrete chance for the Brazilian to leave as a free agent.

Things can change in the next months, but at the moment there are no discussions ongoing to extend Silva’s contract, but let’s see what happens closer to the summer.

There have also been reports about other Chelsea players being unsettled and some claims that they regret signing such long-term contracts at the club. However, I’m not aware of this, honestly. I think this week it’s easy to say only negative things about Chelsea, players, managers, owners. For sure it’s a difficult moment but it’s also too easy to call it all negative and disaster. How can players be happy when things go so bad? But it’s also about being professional to help the club and improve the situation. This is normal life at top football clubs.

I reported the details of the Kylian Mbappe saga in my column yesterday, but as well as that I wanted to add today that PSG have two plans in place regarding their star player.

The first plan is the optimistic one – to keep Mbappe at the club, extend his contract, and build the squad with Mbappe. The second one is in case Mbappe leaves as a free agent, and so PSG have something in place for that. They have prepared for this possibility, and so plans are in place in case they cannot keep their star player.

One plan involves a signing in midfield – the player they wanted last summer was Bernardo Silva from Manchester City, so let’s see if they try again for him because they want an important midfielder signing.

PSG also want something in attack – Rafael Leao is also really appreciated by the club, but there have been a lot of rumours and the truth is they have still not decided who is their top target in that position. For sure, they want to do something to replace Mbappe with a new winger, and with Leao appreciated, but let’s see if this leads to a concrete negotiation. There has been a release clause for Leao since he signed a new deal at AC Milan last summer. Still, no one has approached Milan so far, so it’s very early. I’m not aware of proposals or negotiations with any club – there’s no chance to see things advancing now.

PSG also want a new centre-back, with Leny Yoro a top target from Lille, though he is also Real Madrid and Manchester United interested in him. Yoro is now represented by Jorge Mendes, so looks like one to watch, but let’s see what happens with PSG and Mbappe before these other plans become more concrete.

Martin Zubimendi is on Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern list for the summer. At the moment, there is nothing more than this as Zubimendi only wants to focus on Real Sociedad and he loves his club. He is fully focused on La Liga and the Champions League, with no distraction at all. It will take time, there is nothing for February or March, despite some talk that Arsenal have already been ‘laying the groundwork’ for this deal.

Another note on Arsenal – good news that Jurrien Timber has been included in their Champions League squad for the knockout stage. I don’t have precise timing at the moment, but for sure it’s a positive signal. It would be a huge boost for Arsenal, he’s a fantastic player and it would be great to have him back to help in many positions.

Piotr Zielinski – After a fantastic season at Napoli when they won the Serie A title but it looks like his time at the club is coming to an end as Inter Milan have an agreement in principle to sign the Polish midfielder as a free agent in the summer. It’s just about the final details now and then Zielinski will be set to sign his deal with Inter by the end of February.

Serhou Guirassy – The striker’s $17.5m release clause at Stuttgart will still be there for the summer. In January he was on Manchester United, West Ham and AC Milan list being considered as an option, but in the summer many things change at clubs. Some clubs change directors, others change managers, nothing is decided now.

Hansi Flick – There have been reports that the former Bayern Munich and Germany manager is Joan Laporta’s preferred candidate to replace Xavi. I don’t have confirmations on this. It’s very early stages at Barça, they will take some time before deciding their favourite candidates, starting interviews and more. Flick would love to work for Barcelona, that’s for sure; but there is nothing more than this so far, no decisions, nothing advanced.

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