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‘Contact made’ as UCL contenders look to prize Tuchel favourite from Chelsea

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Champions League giants Juventus have reportedly made contact with one of Thomas Tuchel’s favourite Chelsea stars as they aim to complete a summer swoop.

The Italian side are in the process of rebuilding under Max Allegri after their domestic dominance was ended last season. Inter, then managed by Tottenham’s Antonio Conte, won the league title on 91 points.

Juventus, in contrast, scraped into the top four, finishing just one point ahead of fifth-placed Napoli.

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Their fortunes aren’t exactly improving this time around. 15 games in they sit in seventh and are 12 points behind leaders Napoli.

Reports suggest Allegri wants a squad overhaul in 2022, which could see Weston McKennie move to the Premier League. The USA international is a target for the likes of Tottenham and West Ham.

Selling players such as McKennie may allow Juventus to fund a move for Chelsea’s Jorginho. CaughtOffside, citing reports coming out of Italy, state that the they are big fans of the 29-year-old.

He has had a stellar year, which includes winning the Euros, Champions League and Super Cup. Those achievements saw Jorginho place third in the recent Ballon d’Or rankings, above Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Man Utd forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Juventus have made an approach to the player and his agent, informing them that a move is available if the Italy international wants to leave Stamford Bridge.

A transfer could fall in line with the star’s ‘dream’ scenario. Earlier this year, representative Joao Santos said of Jorginho: “He has a contract with Chelsea until 2023. Obviously it would be a dream for him to return to Italy, hopefully after winning the World Cup.

“We’ll have to see what the market looks like in a couple of years and what the other situations are.”

Jorginho became a top performer at Napoli before Chelsea came in for his signature in 2018. The Brazil-born ace has gone on to make 159 appearances for the Blues in all competitions, scoring 21 goals.

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Chelsea ‘can go really far’, says Zola

Meanwhile, former Chelsea man Gianfranco Zola reckons the west London side have a good chance of lifting the title this season.

Their most recent outing was a 2-1 victory over Watford, during which Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech got on the scoresheet.

After the game, Zola said: “We saw today they didn’t play their best but they managed to win and score two goals.

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“It makes me comfortable that it looks strong everywhere. They can bring players in and they change the game. They can go really far with this team.”

READ MORE: Abramovich intervention leaves Tuchel on hold in double Chelsea transfer saga

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Ralf Rangnick Has No Concerns About Selecting Paul Pogba During The Final Months Of His Manchester United Contract

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Pogba has entered the final six month of his current Old Trafford terms, with little progress made in discussions over a renewal and a departure on a free transfer in the summer considered likely.

The 28-year-old is yet to make an appearance under interim manager Rangnick after suffering a thigh injury while on international duty in November, though returned to full training on Monday.

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Rangnick expects Pogba to be available for selection ahead of the FA Cup fourth round tie with Middlesbrough after the January international break, and is ready to call on United’s record signing.

The United interim manager said that Pogba wants to show the fans, board and “the whole world” what kind of player he can be, but added that he will be “highly motivated” even if he is only playing to put himself in the shop window.

When asked if there is much point playing Pogba given the likelihood of him leaving, Rangnick said: “Yes, of course.

“By the way, my contract as a manager is also expiring in the summer. For us we have the same goal. We have the same ambition to be as successful as we can possibly be in the next three or four months.

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“For me, it’s not a question if a player has an expiring contract. The question is how much does he still want to be a part of this group? How much does he still feel emotionally and physically on board?

“As long as this is the case, why shouldn’t Paul Pogba [play] now after two and half months of injury, fully fit again now?

“And he also wants to show up, he wants to show the fans of Manchester United, the board, the whole world what kind of player he can be. And even if it’s only to show enough for a new contract elsewhere, he will be highly motivated to do that and why should I then not play him?

“As I said, there is a difference in how players deal with their current situation. How do they handle that? If they handle that in a professional way, an ambitious way, of course I will play players although they have a contract expiring in the summer.”

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Pogba will be one of the most sought-after free agents in world football if his contract expires before reaching a new agreement with United, as appears likely.

Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are among the possible destinations for a player who broke the world transfer record when joining United in a €105m (£89m) fee in 2016. Pogba has not signed another

Rangnick also revealed that he was impressed with what he saw from Pogba in his first training session back since his recovery.

“Paul Pogba had his first day of training with the whole group and he showed what an extraordinary player he could be,” Rangnick said. “He won’t be available for the two games this week but after the international break against Middlesbrough and Burnley he could be.”

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Juventus Cruise To A 4-1 Win Over Sampdoria In The Coppa Italia On Tuesday Night

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The home side were rather comfortable throughout the 90 minutes, with their opponents Samp looking completely out of their depth at the Allianz Stadium.

As you’d expect, it was all Juventus from the first whistle to the last, as the home side dominated possession while Sampdoria could barely string two passes together. Juan Cuadrado caused the visitors particular problems with his movement in and around the penalty area – forcing Wladimiro Falcone into a smart save at his near post in the 15th minute.

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Cuadrado got his just rewards for a great first-half performance ten minutes later, as the Colombian drilled a free-kick from just outside the box under the Samp wall, and through the fairly hapless Falcone (it was pretty bad goalkeeping to be honest).

Seconds later, Cuadrado proved to be the catalyst for what Juve thought was their second goal of the evening. The winger squared the ball to Alvaro Morata, who duly converted from inside the penalty with a sweeping shot. However, the goal was disallowed due to a foul from Adrien Rabiot in the build-up.

Falcone went some way to making amends for his earlier mistake by denying Rugani and Morata. The Samp goalkeeper reacted quickly to save an effort on goal from just inside the six-yard box from Rugani, before denying Morata with similar heroics on the stroke of half-time.

The second half was much the same as the first, with Sampdoria being absolutely terrible and Juventus being fairly competent.

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Juve deservedly bagged the second goal of the evening on the 50th minute mark, with Rugani rising highest from an Arthur cross to score his first ever Coppa Italia goal.

Despite the home side dominating proceedings, out of absolutely nowhere, Samp pulled a goal back on the hour. The goal came from former Milan man Andrea Conti, who drilled a great volley from the edge of the penalty area past Mattia Perin.

The momentary panic caused by Conti’s goal was arrested pretty much immediately by subsitute Paulo Dybala. After Manuel Locatelli stole possession on the edge of Samp’s box, the Juve number ten confidently curled the ball into the bottom right corner.

It was 4-1 in the 75th minute, when Dybala converted a penalty kick won by debutant Marley Ake.

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