In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Brighton manager Chris Hughton is hoping that Eden Hazard is not in Chelsea’s starting line-up for the Seagulls’ visit to Stamford Bridge, Joe Cole explains his decision not to join Tottenham Hotspur after leaving Chelsea and Mario Pasalic looks to join Atalanta on a permanent basis.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Hughton hopes Hazard is benched again
Hughton is an admirer of the Belgian, who has been the tormentor-in-chief for the Blues in our recent meetings with the Seagulls, scoring three goals in our last two matches.
However, he admitted he would prefer to see the 28-year-old not included in Maurizio Sarri’s starting line-up, as was the case on Sunday when he was not introduced until the 53rd minute in our 2-1 win at Cardiff City.
‘He is, for me, a world-class player. And for how good he was a couple of seasons ago, I think he’s even improved on that,” said Hughton of the Chelsea star, who netted twice in our 4-0 win at Brighton last season.
‘We’ve had examples of that at our place this season, and last season where he was outstanding, probably one of the best single performances we’ve seen at the Amex.
‘He’s an outstanding individual that can very much win games. Would we be grateful if he wasn’t playing? Yes.
‘But we also know they’ve got so many good quality players to pick from.’
Cole explains his rejection of Spurs
Joe Cole is pretty well loved by both Chelsea and West Ham United fans and the former winger will endear himself further to both sets of supporters after saying he rejected a move to Tottenham Hotspur because of his connection to the two clubs.
Speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, the 37-year-old admitted that when he left Stamford Bridge in 2010 after a glorious seven-year spell in which the Blues won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups, he was tempted with the short switch to White Hart Lane.
But he decided instead to move further north to Liverpool so that he did not tarnish his relationship with Chelsea and West Ham fans.
‘Staying in London would have been the logical thing to do. Harry Redknapp was the manager there, too, so it was a very easy fit,’ said Cole, who is now a coach in the Chelsea Academy.
‘But I just didn’t feel it was right, being a West Ham and Chelsea player and then going to play for Tottenham. It would have tarnished everything I did at Chelsea.
‘West Ham will always have a special place in my heart, but as a kid you dream of winning trophies.
‘Playing for Chelsea was really special. It’s a good place to learn, I feel very comfortable there and they’ve been great with me ever since I left in 2010. The chairman, Bruce Buck, always stayed in touch, and they wanted me back in the building.
‘In the same way as when I signed for West Ham as a kid, I just felt like this was the right place to start.’
Pasalic linked to permanent Atlanta switch
Mario Pasalic’s agent has told Gazzetta dello Sport that the Croatian midfielder is keen to turn his loan move to Atalanta into a permanent one after a good campaign in Serie A.
Having joined Chelsea in 2014, the 24-year-old went on loan to Elche, Monaco, AC Milan and Spartak Moscow before moving to Atalanta, where he has five goals and seven assists in 32 games so far this season for the Bergamo-based club, who are currently sixth in Serie A.
And according to his agent, Marko Naletilic, he is enjoying himself and hoping that the club is willing to make a deal to retain his services.
‘The price for his purchase is established, and our will is clear. There is no better place of him to grow and if the club want to focus on Mario, there is total openness,’ he said in Italian.
‘I would be delighted if he remained, it would be the best thing. Atalanta is a reality of world football, it is a small Juventus. In addition, they have [Gian Piero] Gasperini, who is an exceptional coach. One of the best not only in Italy, but in Europe. He values 100% of every player, as he’s showing it with Pasalic.
‘Mario has never felt as good as this year and he has been lucky enough to play for some important clubs. But Bergamo represents a step forward for his career without doubt.’