Tottenham rival Chelsea for 24-year-old defender transfer

Tottenham is ready to battle it out with rivals Chelsea for Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles.

Standard Sport revealed in February that the 24-year-old is a key target for Chelsea this summer to strengthen the backline.

However, Spurs are also admirers of the centre half, who impressed as captain of Newcastle this season, and are stepping up the

The north London club is expected to sell Toby Alderweireld this summer after the Belgium international rejected their offer of a new contract.

Manchester United remain confident that they will agree to a deal for the 29-year-old, although negotiations have stalled since Spurs began asking for in excess of £55m.

Lascelles has been earmarked as a potential replacement, although they are keen on Ajax’s Holland international Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt as well.

Everton is also in the running and their new coach Marco Silva wants to agree on a transfer before the World Cup.

The Merseyside club plan to make an opening bid of £30m, but it is believed it will take an offer in the region of £45m to acquire Lascelles.

Newcastle has consistently stated that they don’t want to sell their prize asset and Lascelles claims he is happy to stay at St James’ Park.

But with coach Rafael Benitez uncertain of how much money he will be given to spend in the transfer market, their stance may soften should someone meet their valuation because the funds could then be used to acquire more players.

Chelsea’s Willian: Spending time on bench this season has been ‘difficult’

Willian says he found life on the Chelsea bench difficult last season but insists that he respected Antonio Conte’s decision to leave him out of the team.

Tensions between the two men were highlighted by an Instagram post from Willian after Chelsea’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester United last month when the Brazil international obscured Conte with trophy emojis in a picture of the team celebrating.

In a news conference ahead of Brazil’s pre-World Cup friendly with Austria, Willian did not address the Instagram post but did admit that he became frustrated with his lack of starts at Chelsea under Conte.

“I was happy with my performances throughout the season,” he told reporters. “I played very well. I always try to do my best. I always try to work hard. Sometimes to stay on the bench is difficult.

“I respect the decision of the manager who thinks that and I have nothing more to say about my club. I now want to focus here on the national team, on the World Cup. I am ready for it.”

Willian had been left on the bench for the game despite producing some of the best football of his Chelsea career in the second half of the season and having been voted Player of the Year by his teammates at the club’s end-of-season awards.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Manchester United are set to rekindle their interest in Willian this summer and their cause may be helped if Chelsea does not part with Conte, who is refusing to walk away from the final year of his contract but is still expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.

For now though, Willian is adamant that helping Brazil make a deep World Cup run is the only thing on his mind.

“I had a good season with Chelsea, winning the best player of the season for my team, I was very happy with that,” he added. “The important thing is to follow up. I have to keep getting better.”

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