Chelsea target Dzeko will be continue to be picked – Di Francesco

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco says he will continue to pick Edin Dzeko, despite rumours the striker nears an exit to Chelsea.

Chelsea’s desire to bring in a striker in January has seen Dzeko emerge as their primary target following an ankle injury to West Ham’s Andy Carroll.

The Premier League champions have been linked with a combined €50 million move for the Bosnia-Herzegovina international and team-mate Emerson Palmieri.

However, Roma have stated a deal is yet to be struck, with Goal reporting they are searching for a replacement for the striker who has scored 39 Serie A goals since the start of last season.

Di Francesco will continue to pick both of them until a move materialises, which he hopes does not come this month.

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“I have complete freedom [to pick anyone], regardless of any talks that may be ongoing, which you all know more of than I do,” he told reporters prior to Roma entertaining Sampdoria on Sunday.

“Dzeko and Emerson are two players who are available to me for this game and I’ll continue to use them as and when, if I feel it is right to do so.

“It’s only normal to expect that if something like this goes through, it will be dictated by Financial Fair Play regulations.

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“I asked the club to sign Lionel Messi, but they told me it wasn’t possible. Look, it is not as if myself or Roma want to lose our most important players. If someone does go, it’s obviously not so we can just spend all the money we get in.

“But I’m not the one who can answer these questions; it is down to the sporting director [Monchi]. All I can say is that I have Dzeko at my disposal and I hope he remains here for the remainder of the season.

“As for anything else, I do my job and try to do it the best I can. There are some clear things that have been said to me, so either you accept those or you go home. I chose to be the coach of Roma, even during difficult times.”


Lampard endorses Chelsea move for Dzeko

Frank Lampard has backed Chelsea’s move for Edin Dzeko and believes that he offers the “something different” that the Blues need.

Antonio Conte has regularly bemoaned an inability to get top targets through the door at Stamford Bridge.

Further reinforcements are still required, having lost the title-winning experience of Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, with the London club currently in talks with Dzeko.

Eden Dzeko lAMPARD e

Lampard feels the former Manchester City star would be a shrewd addition, with the Bosnia international a better fit for a club of Chelsea’s stature than other mooted targets such as West Ham’s Andy Carroll and Stoke City’s Peter Crouch.

The Blues legend told the Evening Standard: “Carroll and Crouch are not the kind of names Chelsea have gone for in the past.

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“But January is a tough one and [Alexis] Sanchez is a one-off. The majority of the time you’re looking at making minor adjustments.

“If it’s a Crouch or Carroll, it’s just a back-up but Dzeko is something different. He is a very good player, an all-round striker with all the attributes.

“In terms of investing heavily, that will come in the summer. It’s very easy to say that Crouch and Carroll are not Chelsea signings but it’s not an indication of where Chelsea are going.

“It is more a sign that the manager doesn’t think they strengthened enough last summer.”

Chelsea  are currently third in the Premier League standings while also readying themselves for an FA Cup fourth round clash with Newcastle and a heavyweight last-16 encounter with Barcelona in the Champions League.

There is, therefore, still all to play for, with Lampard convinced that a testing season can end on a high.

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He said: “This is when the experienced players are vital – there is nothing wrong with getting everyone together and reminding everyone to push.

“Chelsea do need to get their act together. They have the spirit there. They have the players.

“When Chelsea get it right, as we saw last season, they can take on anybody. It is certainly not the time to give up.”


Dzeko’s Chelsea move delayed by Roma’s hunt for a replacement

Edin Dzeko remains Chelsea’s prime striking target before the January transfer window closes, but a deal has been delayed by Roma.

Chelsea have agreed many parts of the deal to sign the former Manchester City striker, but Roma are looking for a replacement before sanctioning the Bosnia-Herzegovina international’s transfer.

The Blues have alternatives to Dzeko, with Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud being considered as more ambitious targets for a January move. 

The likes of Stoke’s Peter Crouch and Burnley’s Ashley Barnes are other options and the moves could now be delayed until deadline day on January 31.  

Arsenal will likely resist Chelsea’s approach for Giroud due to club rivalry after already losing Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in the transfer window.

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Llorente could be released by Tottenham in certain circumstances but that deal would be difficult to complete, despite Conte’s long-standing admiration for his former player. 

The delay in Dzeko’s transfer has impacted upon two more players, with Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi’s loan move away to Sevilla being delayed.

Meanwhile, Dzeko’s team-mate Emerson Palmieri’s £22 million move to Stamford Bridge has also been slowed down as Chelsea aim for a double deal for the Roma stars. 

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However, Chelsea remain confident that they can get their £50m swoop for Dzeko and Palmieri over the line as Roma need to sell in January.

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco will continue to play Dzeko due to the club’s battle for a Champions League spot and has pushed for a suitable replacement for the 31-year-old. 

Palmieri’s deal is pretty much complete, but Dzeko’s still needs agreement on a contract before it can be completed. 


Di Francesco questions Roma over potential Dzeko to Chelsea sale

Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco has questioned the reasoning behind the potential sale of Edin Dzeko to Chelsea, stating that he would need an explanation from the club if they were to allow their main striker to leave in the winter.

The Bosnian has been locked in talks with the Premier League outfit, with personal terms said to be holding up the finalisation of a switch to Stamford Bridge, while a deal for Giallorossi team-mate Emerson is looking close to completion. 

Di Francesco appears to be none the wiser regarding his club’s transfer business, however, with the Italian questioning the justification behind allowing a first-choice player to exit the club in January.

“What counts is the club,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia, “My own hopes are relative. If they sell him, they will have valid reasons, which they will explain to me.

“Do I hate the market? That depends: if someone arrives, no; otherwise, yes.

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“In the event that he leaves, we will do something else. Schick has the characteristics, together with Defrel, of being able to play in several roles in attack. 

“But it’s still to early to talk about it.”

For Di Francesco’s part, the manager has no short or long-term intention of reducing the striker’s game time despite uncertainty surrounding his future in the Italian capital.

“[Dzeko] made himself available for the game, despite the many rumours. He is a player who sometimes you can see little of, but then he appears,” the 48-year-old said.

“It’s a choice for the club, determined by many factors. As long as I have the player I will play him, because he has always shown me commitment, seriousness and professionalism.

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“Dzeko is a decisive player and he’s the one who scored the most goals for my team.

“The sooner the transfer market ends, the sooner we will find a Dzeko with more serenity.

“But for his part his availability is always the same.”


Dzeko the perfect pick for Chelsea after curious Crouch & Carroll talk

Chelsea Football Club transfer briefing, January 2018.

Today’s task? Find a new striker.

What are we looking for? Well, ideally we would like somebody with proven Premier League experience.

Said targets must also pose a considerable physical threat, but be more than just a targetman – we want to find someone in the ‘good feet for a big man’ category.

Any ideas? Feel free to fire them out.

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“Andy Carroll?”

Let’s try for somebody who isn’t permanently broken.

“Peter Crouch?”

Somebody who isn’t 36.

“Ashley Barnes?”

Get out!

Having not been offered access to the latest round of recruitment talks at Stamford Bridge, it is impossible to tell quite how the conversations have progressed.

Judging by the rather bemusing list of targets to have been linked with the Blues, though, over recent weeks, it is not too far beyond the realms of possibility to suggest that discussions have followed a theme similar to that laid out above.

Chelsea, apparently, are in the market for another frontman, with a very specific set of criteria drawn up by those in the corridors of power.

The Blues, it would appear, have no interest in chasing down a ‘fox in the box’. Oh no, for them, January is all about acquiring an archetypal ‘big man’.

Antonio Conte, you would hope, will have been asked for his input at some stage in this process – he is the manager, after all – and it is at this point that talks may have been taken in a slightly more productive direction.

Those with their head seemingly buried in the sand, with the net cast no wider than Lancashire, will have been made aware that Premier League experience can, quite remarkably, be found outside of the Premier League. Who’d have thought it?!

Edin Dzeko to Chelsea

Conte, with at least one eye being kept on goings-on back in his homeland, knows all about the Italian market – both in terms of transfers and jobs.

It is, therefore, a welcome relief to find that Chelsea have finally stumbled across an option from that part of the world which makes considerably more sense than the curious list of targets being pieced together from a domestic standpoint.

Yes, there are quotas to be met at home and abroad, but when you stockpile as many players as Chelsea do, then certain box-ticking exercises become less concerning.

With that in mind, turning attention towards those on foreign fields becomes a more logical approach than blindly pursuing those you faced in Premier League action a few weeks ago.

This is not to say that the Crouchs and Carrolls of this world are not without their merits, they are certainly capable of ‘doing a job’, but are they Chelsea calibre? Really?

Edin Dzeko, on the other hand…

Now, after many worrying headlines which will have had the Stamford Bridge faithful scratching their head in disbelief, the Blues have identified a target who ticks all of their required boxes and then some.

Premier League experience? Two titles with Manchester City, thanks very much.

Physical threat? Six foot four – the same height as Carroll.

Good on the deck? You’d better believe it – of a 29-goal haul to take the Serie A Capocannoniere crown in 2016-17, only two of those efforts came off his head.

Premier League Dzeko for Man City
Goals 50
Left foot 15
Right foot 25
Head 10
Outside box 6
Shot accuracy 48.42
Conversion % 17.54
Braces 7
Hat-tricks 1
Mins/Goal 141.62
Assists 11
Pass accuracy 71.53

Dzeko’s exploits this season have also followed that familiar theme, as while he has only netted nine times compared to Alvaro Morata’s haul of 10 league goals at Chelsea, only one effort was a header – while a potential new club colleague in west London has managed six with his.

The Bosnia international is no spring chicken – he will turn 32 in March – but there is still plenty left in the tank and his exploits in a previous life at City help to further highlight how useful he could be to Conte’s cause.

He was never a guaranteed starter at the Etihad Stadium, and that situation is likely to be replicated in London, but he rarely let his side down when called upon – with 50 Premier League efforts spread between right foot (25), left foot (15) and head (10), and six coming from outside the box (a feat Morata is yet to achieve following a £70 million move from Real Madrid).

In total, Dzeko netted seven braces for City and one hat-trick, while finding the target on average once every 141.62 minutes – which again compares favourably to Morata’s current rate of one goal every 152.2 minutes.

He also contributed 11 assists while operating alongside a diminutive, Eden Hazard-esque partner in the form of Sergio Aguero, which all bodes well.

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Roma, following initial reluctance to contemplate parting with a prized asset, have opened the exit door – alongside that for Brazil-born full-back Emerson Palmieri in a possible €50m-plus double deal – with director of football Monchi having said: “Whatever will be will be. I work every day to have players suitable to replace our players, my job is always to strengthen my club. If [Dzeko] leaves Roma, we’ll buy another player.”

Hope for Chelsea then, withGoal having revealed that an agreement is in place which requires only personal terms to be thrashed out. Thus, the Blues are close to landing not only the striker they so desperately crave, but one that is actually suited to them.

Chelsea may not have got very far through their Big Dictionary of Striking Talent, but having moved on from Barnes, Carroll and Crouch, ‘D’ could potentially deliver rich rewards.