Chelsea Transfer News: Latest Federico Bernardeschi, Riechedly Bazoer Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2016

Fiorentina's forward from Italy Federico Bernardeschi celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Bologna vs Fiorentina at 'Renato Dall'Ara' Stadium in Bologna on Febrauary 6, 2016.  / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United have reportedly had an offer for Fiorentina winger Federico Bernardeschi rejected, amid rumours Chelsea are also interested in the rising Italian star.

According to Calciomercato (h/t Independent's Mark Critchley), United offered La Viola £22.9 million for the young forward, but Fiorentina are holding out for a bid closer to £31.6 million.

Per the report, Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are all interested in the speedster, who has emerged as one of Serie A's top prospects in the last 18 months. Here's a look at some of his highlights:

The 22-year-old was one of the few Fiorentina players who actually boosted his value during the UEFA Europa League tie with Tottenham Hotspur, creating most of the danger for the Italians and scoring in the first leg.

Blessed with remarkable pace, vision and an uncanny ability to keep his balance, he's a natural fit out on either wing, although he has the versatility to slide inside if needed. His passing is top notch for a forward, and combined with his smart movement, he's a nightmare to defend against.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Sport Witness), United's interest in the player isn't new―former United manger Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly tried to sign him as a youngster:

One of Fiorentina's current bright stars is Federico Bernardeschi and Gazzetta have a section on the 22 year old attacker. It's explained that Sir Alex Ferguson was interested in the player when he was a youngster coming through the ranks, but Bernardeschi and his family decided he'd be better off staying in Italy.

Bernardeschi is part of a new generation of Italian talent, and he's expected to combine with Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi to hand the Azzurri an incredible front line in the near future.

Goal's Mark Doyle believes Italy coach Antonio Conte should hand the youngster the chance to shine on the biggest stage as early as this summer:

Bernardeschi was pressed on his prospects of playing at Euro 2016 immediately after the full-time whistle in Florence and predictably tried to play down talk of an Italy call-up. "It's always been an objective but we'll see in June if I'm called." 

One imagines, though, that we will see another Fiorentina No. 10 in an Italy shirt well before June if Bernardeschi continues to play with the same decisiveness and determination.

Per Sky Sports News HQ, Conte is expected to be the Blues' next manager, and if the former Juventus boss does move to Stamford Bridge, the links with Bernardeschi will only increase. Expect the Italian press to unleash a mountain of transfer stories linking Serie A stars with Chelsea and the youngster to sit at the front of the queue.

Riechedly Bazoer Battle Heating Up

Riechedly Bazoer of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and Excelsior Rotterdam at the Amsterdam Arena on February 21, 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Chelsea and Manchester City continue to be linked with Ajax starlet Riechedly Bazoer, with the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis claiming incoming City manager Pep Guardiola is keen to “hijack” the Blues' bid to bring the youngster to Stamford Bridge.

Lewis claims Bazoer's brother has already held talks with Chelsea, who have been talking to Ajax about a £24 million move.

Barcelona are also linked with the teenager, who previously told Helden Online (h/t ESPN FC) his dream is to play for the Catalans in the near future:

I hope to be able to join my dream club Barcelona in two or three years. Their style of play suits me. I know that I need to score more goals, but I am working hard to improve. I have to become even more important to the team.

My ultimate dream is to be a key figure at Barcelona in five years' time or so. I want to win trophies. Hopefully, everybody knows me by then.

But despite those comments, the British press continues to push Chelsea as one of the favourites to land his signature.

The midfield general moved to Ajax from PSV Eindhoven in 2013 and emerged as one of the Netherlands' top prospects in 2015. Dutch football expert Elko Born thinks Bazoer's potential is higher than that of any of his compatriots:

But despite all of the claims in the media, the Netherlands international is expected to stay with Ajax for now. He told De Telegraaf (h/t's Michael Bell) he wants to continue his development with the Dutch side, highlighting the fact his contract doesn't run out until 2020.

He's still a raw player in need of more minutes, and in all likelihood, he'll stay with Ajax for the foreseeable future and try and earn his dream transfer to Barcelona.


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