Barcelona identify surprise Chelsea star as Gerard Pique replacement

Barcelona has identified Chelsea star Marcos Alonso as a potential target ahead of the summer transfer window, reports claim.

Spain defender Alonso has developed into a key player for the Blues since signing from Fiorentina in 2016, helping the club win the Premier League last season.

While Chelsea’s title defense ended in failure this term, Alonso has continued to impress, earning a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

According to Goal, his progress at Stamford Bridge has caught the attention of Barcelona, who are looking to bolster their defensive options in the summer.

Gerard Piqué will turn 32 on his next birthday and the Spanish giants reportedly see Alonso as a possible long-term replacement for the Barcelona legend.

While Alonso has flourished as a wing-back at Chelsea, he has experience of playing at center-back from his time at Fiorentina.

The 27-year-old was finally awarded an international cap for Spain earlier in the year and is in contention to be in the squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Chelsea, who reached the FA Cup final by beating Southampton at Wembley on Sunday, are determined to keep hold off Alonso, however, and could offer him a new contract to resist interest from Spain.

Premier League winner Alonso started his career at Real Madrid, spending almost a decade at their academy before being sold to Bolton Wanderers in 2010.

Chelsea goalkeeper launches libel claim against Marc Wilmots

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says he and his father have initiated “proceedings for libel and defamation” against ex-Belgium boss Marc Wilmots.

In an interview with Qatar-based beIn Sports, Wilmots said he was told Courtois’ father had leaked team selections during the 2016 European Championship.

Courtois said on Instagram: “Mr. Wilmots – not for the first time – reiterates publicly and intentionally (makes) accusations against my honor and my reputation.”

He added: “As well as my father, we decided together to file a complaint accompanied by criminal indemnification proceedings for libel and defamation.”

Belgium number one Courtois has won 54 caps for his country, who have been drawn in Group G alongside England, Tunisia and Panama at this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Wilmots was dismissed as Belgium boss after their Euro 2016 exit to Wales.

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