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Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge to undergo large development changes

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Chelsea are taking the next steps towards the long-awaited redevelopment of Stamford Bridge by starting to put together an elite team of specialists.

The Blues had intended to upgrade Stamford Bridge before now, with designs overseen by former owner Roman Abramovich receiving planning permission back in 2018.

The original timeline for that project, which would have seen the stadium grow to a 60,000 capacity with the architecture said to be inspired by London’s iconic Westminster Abbey, expected completion in April 2021. But it never actually got underway and the planning permission has since expired.

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Chelsea are in desperate need of a bigger home. Stamford Bridge’s current 40,000-capacity pales into insignificance compared to the rest of the Premier League’s big clubs, all of whom have stadiums ranging from 53,000 to 74,000. It means Chelsea are missing out on substantial additional revenue.

A Stamford Bridge redevelopment was actually an integral part of the recent takeover led by chairman Todd Boehly. The overall figure attached to the takeover was £4.25bn, but inclusive of a pledge to invest £1.75bn in the stadium and other future infrastructure.

The Times has reported that Janet Marie Smith, a leading specialist who has previously worked on Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium – two of baseball’s most iconic venues, has already been recruited to work alongside London-based architects.

Smith has a reputation for modernising stadiums but still incorporating historical features. That could be a big plus when it comes to retaining the original character of a stadium that has stood since 1876 and has been part of Chelsea’s identity since 1905.

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Chelsea co-owner Jonathan Goldstein, part of the Boehly-led consortium, is also lending his expertise as a property tycoon and has presented possible options to the board already.

The full range of options are to be considered for the project, which includes rebuilding Stamford Bridge a stand at a time, demolishing the existing stadium and starting again from the ground up, or moving to a brand new site entirely.

Liverpool are well into the process of redeveloping Anfield a stand at a time, while Tottenham rebuilt a new home on the same site as their old White Hart Lane, whereas Arsenal built the Emirates Stadium on a new site.

To completely leave Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would need permission from Chelsea Pitch Owners, the company that holds the freehold Stamford Bridge is leased on. The alternative is potentially having to surrender the name Chelsea FC. Abramovich tried and failed to do that in 2011.

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Al-Nassr offer Cristiano Ronaldo record-breaking contract

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Al-Nassr have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a contract that could make him the highest paid footballer in history, according to report.

The 37-year-old sensationally left Manchester United by mutual agreement earlier this month after he criticised the club’s players, manager and hierarchy in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo, who is currently away at the World Cup with Portugal, has been targeted by clubs in Saudi Arabia before, and turned down the opportunity to join Al-Hilal in the summer despite being offered over £300m to do so.

90min previously revealed that Al-Hilal were preparing a fresh offer for Ronaldo, but it’s believed they have turned their attention to Lionel Messi and other priorities – paving the way for Al-Nassr to try and engineer a move of their own.

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Ronaldo’s current intention is to remain in Europe, where he can continue to compete in the Champions League, but sources have confirmed to 90min that Al-Nassr have put forward a blockbuster contract offer to take him to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Nassr’s offer is believed to be a three-year deal worth close to £250m a year once add-ons, incentives and bonuses are factored in – eclipsing the huge contract Kylian Mbappe penned earlier this summer to remain at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was made clear in the interview he conducted with Morgan.

Newcastle United, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Chelsea are two Premier League teams to have previously been linked with Ronaldo.

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Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration

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Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.

The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.

Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:

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“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”

Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.

“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player

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Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.

Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.

On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.

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It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.

Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.

Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.





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