Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann returns to Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann WILL be returning to Atletico Madrid on loan, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The Frenchman will stay at the club until June 2022 with an option to buy for £34.3million.

When the move becomes permanent, Griezmann will be under contract for two years with an option for a third.

The French ace has failed to live up to expectations at the Nou Camp two years after departing the Wanda Metropolitano.

He has scored just 35 times in 102 games in all competitions, with the 30-year-old without a goal or assist from his three starts this term.

The 2018 World Cup winner was in talks with Atletico earlier in the summer in a swap deal with Saul Niguez, but the potential deal collapsed.

Willian’s agent takes swipe at Arsenal

Willian’s agent Kia Joorabchian has taken a swipe at Arsenal saying there is no ‘project’ at the club.

The former Chelsea star joined Arsenal last summer for the ‘project’, but failed to make an impact.

The Brazilian essentially tore up his contract, saving Arsenal £20million, allowing him to re-join boyhood club Corinthians.

Joorabchian told talkSPORT: “I think Willian did the right thing, he went for the project and the project wasn’t there.

“Unfortunately, I’d have to say, which player has moved to Arsenal that has not been a disaster in the last couple of years? That one I speak as a fan.

“I don’t think this is about Willian. I think something has gone wrong [at Arsenal] and this is just one piece of the puzzle.

“Nobody blames Arteta, we all want Arteta to do well. Even as fans, they might be disgruntled at the moment but they want the best for the football club. Willian wants all the success for Arteta and this Arsenal team.”

Ethan Ampadu signs new three-year contract at Stamford Bridge, joins Serie A club on loan

Chelsea’s Ethan Ampadu has signed a new three-year contract at Stamford Bridge, but there’s no time to celebrate – he’s off to Italy to play for Venezia.

The 20-year-old, who can operate in defence or midfield, has joined the Serie A club on loan until the end of the season in order to gain more top-flight experience.

The Welsh international featured 25 times for Sheffield United during their ill-fated Premier League campaign last term, having joined the Blades on a similar loan deal.

The defender has been on the Chelsea books since 2017, but had loan spells with RB Leipzig and Sheffield United.

He turns 21 next month and was sent off for Wales against Italy during UEFA EURO 2020.

Blues fans excited over Chelsea’s Saul Niguez breakthrough

Chelsea fans are delighted to hear that there has been a breakthrough in the Saul Niguez talks, with the club actively working on getting the deal done before the 11pm deadline.

The 26-year-old has been the main midfielder target being pursued by Thomas Tuchel as the German aims to add sufficient backup to Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, and the injury-prone Ngolo Kante.

It had seemed likely that a deal would not go through before the August 31 deadline, with reports coming out that Atletico were struggling to source a replacement.

Coupled with this, the Blues’ demand for an option to buy instead of an obligation to do so had put a halt to any talks that were going on between the two clubs.

However, this has all been resolved as Marina Granvoskaia and co. face a race against time to conclude the potential loan deal for the La Liga midfielder.

Here is how a selection of Chelsea fans reacted to the latest developments.

@CFCPrix tweeted: ‘SAUL IS PUSHINGGGGGGGG.’

@PayneCFC like many other supporters is delighted to hear this news: ‘YESS PLEASE.

‘Forget Kounde focus on Saul. we really need him.’

@therealbluefan has stated: ‘Mighty chelsea are back.’

@surennn11 isn’t surprised with this development: ‘Never ever doubt our pull power.’

@CfcMount4 has demanded more after this Saul news: ‘Koundee we want Koundeeee hope we get Saul but we also want Koundee.’

@Emenalo similarly put: ‘And now active Koundé’s clause late on and leave Monchi scrambling.’

Finally, @C10410511611497 tweeted: ‘He wants to join. They can’t find replacement. Just take Barkley instead. Simple. Deal done.’

Thomas Tuchel explains why Ben Chilwell has not featured for Chelsea this season

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed why Ben Chilwell has not yet managed to force his way into the Blues matches this season.

Marcos Alonso has been selected regularly instead by the German raising questions about the fate of Chilwell in the team.

“For Ben Chilwell, it’s very easy,” Tuchel explained when asked by football.london about the defender’s situation after the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

“He came back with the latest group [from his summer break]. When he arrived, Marcos Alonso had five weeks in his legs from pre-season. He played the first competitive matches and was simply way more ready physically. This was natural because of the training session and his fantastic games.

“He played the Super Cup final and three Premier League games. Also, we only have three substitutions allowed and this is a huge problem, a huge, huge disadvantage in the European competitions for any English team.

“We play in the toughest league in the world but only have three [in-game] changes allowed.

“So you can’t say after 60 minutes, ‘Ben, I’ll give you 30 minutes now so you’re ready to start the next game’. You can’t say, ‘let’s see with Thiago how long he can go’. It’s simply not possible.

“Everyone who went further in pre-season is very strong [physically]. This is the only reason.

“But look at how Thiago played today, he was excellent. I could feel he was absolutely ready in the last week. I’ve known him a long time now, he made a huge step.

“Chilly needed his time in training to adapt to the intensity. He is ready now but it [facing Liverpool] wasn’t the moment to push him into the cold water.”

(Watch Video) Olivier Giroud nets brace in AC Milan win (Match Report)

Olivier Giroud got his first two Serie A goals for an ultimately comfortable 4-1 win over Cagliari, with Sandro Tonali and Rafael Leao also on target.

Henrique Dalbert risked slightly more than a yellow card for a two-footed lunge in the opening six minutes, while Rafael Leao took too many touches when sent clear on an Olivier Giroud back-heel, allowing Andrea Carboni to make the desperate tackle.

Sandro Tonali scored his first goal in the Rossoneri jersey, and only his second in Serie A, with a wonderful free kick from the edge of the area that dipped over the wall and into the near top corner.

The lead lasted just three minutes before Joao Pedro’s inspired dinked pass over the top found Alessandro Deiola, whose header steered into the far top corner, despite Mike Maignan getting his fingertips to it.

The drama continued with a third goal in five minutes, as Leao’s strike took a massive deflection off Brahim Diaz to completely wrong-foot Radunovic. The Lega Serie A credited Leao with the goal, as his original shot was on target.

The Spaniard created the third goal, running forward from midfield and a slide-rule pass finding Giroud to bend it into the far corner first time with the inside of his left boot from 12 yards, the ex-Chelsea striker’s first Serie A goal.

Milan kept pushing, Simon Kjaer’s header charged down and Fikayo Tomori’s follow-up well saved. Kevin Strootman raised his arm to deflect a Brahim Diaz shot over and VAR confirmed he was on the line, so it was a penalty, converted by Giroud for a brace.

It would’ve been a hat-trick but for Diego Godin’s desperate defensive header in the six-yard box and interception to prevent a tap-in on Leao’s low cross.

Cagliari almost got another too, Maignan just about preventing the Charalampos Lykogiannis free kick going straight in from a tricky angle.

Chelsea’s current “greatest defensive asset” identified

Garth Crooks has claimed he thinks Antonio Rudiger is the “greatest defensive asset” at Chelsea right now.

Rudiger, who earns £100,000-a-week, has played every minute at the start of the new season for the Blues.

The 28-year-old centre-back was part a superb defensive performance at the weekend as they earned a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool at Anfield.

He’s a no-nonsense defender who’s aggressive in his work, something which has really gone up a notch since Thomas Tuchel became manager at the start of the calendar year.

BBC pundit Crooks named the Germany international in his latest edition of Premier League Team of the Week after his Liverpool display.

He added that he’s the elite defender right now at Stamford Bridge.

“Blues manager Thomas Tuchel summed it up when he said his team showed great resilience and spirit [against Liverpool] – no-one more so than Rudiger,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“I have been saying for some time now this player is Chelsea’s greatest defensive asset.

“When he was booked in the first half I thought he was odds on to receive a second yellow, but Rudiger proved to be far too smart for that. Under Tuchel, the German centre-back has got better.”

Chelsea fans sign petition to ban referee Anthony Taylor after awarding Liverpool penalty and sending off Reece James

Thousands of Chelsea fans have signed a petition to ban referee Anthony Taylor from officiating their games in future.

Taylor, 42, has incurred the wrath of Blues supporters after awarding Liverpool a penalty and sending off Reece James for handball in the dying moments of the first-half of Saturday’s match at Anfield.

Mo Salah scored the resulting spot-kick and Chelsea were forced to defend for the second half, but did enough to secure a point after Kai Havertz had opened the scoring.

Despite the positive result Chelsea fans are fuming with Taylor.

Much of the anger is born out of the fact Taylor only looked at the VAR monitor for seconds before making his decision.

In fact, it appeared the ref made up his mind based on a still image of the ball making contact with James’ arm.

Taylor decided it was handball which means, according to the law, the England star had to be dismissed – whether it was deliberate or not.

The petition calling for Taylor to be removed from future Chelsea matches already has more than 44,000 signatures.

And claims have been made suggesting Taylor has harmed fans’ mental health with his actions.

One petition also suggests Taylor has been “constantly biased whenever he officiates a Chelsea match”, and warns that keeping him away from Chelsea games would be good for his own safety.

There is no suggestion or evidence Taylor was biased during the match.

The Twitter mob have been after Taylor too, with one Chelsea supporter saying: “We need to stand up and protest against it. We cannot let him ruin every game he is officiating. FA cup final was same.”

Another added: “He was extremely unfair and biased.”

A third wrote: “Anthony Taylor should be ashamed of himself. And I’m not talking about the penalty or the sending off. So inconsistent with his decisions.”

Tuchel says he doubted referee’s decision to send Reece James off, reveals what Chelsea did to minimize Liverpool’s effect in second half

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel doubted the referee’s decision to send Reece James off with a straight red card after he handled the ball in the area.

Tuchel told Sky Sports: “The red card – I’m not even sure any more if it’s the rules or not the rules.

“You have to accept the decision. He maybe would have changed his mind with moving pictures.

“With pure will, resilience and team effort at its very best. Never lose the shape, try to close the half spaces.

“We decided to stay active in the back five because of all the runs in half spaces, the fluid runs from Liverpool and their high full-backs.”

The west London club’s boss described James’ dismissal against Liverpool as a “double punishment”.

He continued: “A double punishment is super hard and it’s a bit of a spoiler for the game. If the referee says he denies a clear chance, then it’s a red card.

“It’s a spoiler of the game, nobody wants to say that for 45 minutes. I’ve not solution now for it and no better idea. In general, it’s a spoiler.

“I can understand the decision and I’m not saying it’s wrong. I didn’t like the way the referee checked it because he was only shown the image. The image only shown the clear contact.

“I’d have liked a longer consideration. Maybe the decision stays the same. But I have to live with it. Some decisions stay with the responsibility in the moment”

Pep Guardiola praises Mikel Arteta’s quality after Gunners’ horror show at Etihad

Pep Guardiola has praised Mikel Arteta’s ‘quality’ after yesterday’s 5-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

Arsenal suffered a heavy 5-0 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad, which marked their worst start in 67 years.

The City man has been gracious in defeat though, and pointed out that City’s near full strength team helped his side to victory.

He said: “In football, people want result, result, result. Sometimes, you have the squad – look at us, except for Phil [Foden] and Kevin [De Bruyne], all the other people are ready.

“It is easy for me. The players make our job good. The moment he has the full squad, everything is going well.

“I know him perfectly and know the quality he has as a person and as a manager.”

He also told BT Sport: “All I can say is I worked two or three years together [with Arteta], I learned many, many things.

“He is above and beyond a good manager. The correct personality, he is incredibly loved by all of us. We were sad when he left. Sometimes people expect and want results immediately.

“The squad he played today is not the team he dreamed because they have six, seven, eight injuries – really important players.

“Ben White, Thomas Partey, he cannot use the players that he needs to. All the managers need their squad.

“Absolutely, I am a big fan of him and I’m pretty sure, if they trust him, he will do a good job at Arsenal.”