Chelsea Transfer News: Latest on Nemanja Matic and Baba Rahman Rumours

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2016

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20: Nemanja Matic of Chelsea reacts during the friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Real Madrid are lining up Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic after they failed in their pursuit of Juventus superstar Paul Pogba.

Francesc J. Gimeno of Spanish publication Sport (h/t James Cambridge of the Express) reported that Real manager Zinedine Zidane has switched his attentions to the Serbia international as he searches for increased steel in the Real midfield. A £34 million bid is being prepared for the player, who suffered a dramatic loss of form last term at Stamford Bridge.

According to Cambridge, with Pogba set to join Manchester United in a world-record deal, Zidane desires an alternative to Casemiro and has been "pressing" Real president Florentino Perez for a new signing.

ANN ARBOR, MI - JULY 30:  Jose Fernandez #6 of Real Madridtries to pull Nemanja Matic #21 of Chelsea off the ball during the first half at Michigan Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Matic's first-team opportunities in west London are under threat due to the arrival of N'Golo Kante from Leicester City, and the temptation to start afresh in the Spanish capital could be appealing if a deal can be brokered.

However, Matic recently pledged his immediate future to his club and said he welcomed the competition from Kante for a starting berth, as quoted by Tom Doyle of the London Evening Standard:

I am sure that 100,000 players want to come to play for Chelsea so there is always competition, all life is a fight so every player is ready for that.

Yes, [it is great to have Kante] - he is a good player and I am sure that he will bring a lot of qualities to our team and all good players are welcome to our team.

He is a great player and it was difficult play against him [last season] and I am very happy because he is coming to Chelsea.

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20:  Head coach Antonio Conte (L) of Chelsea gives an autograph to fans prior the international friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Steva
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

John Percy of the Telegraph also quoted Antonio Conte during Chelsea's pre-season endeavours, and the new boss said he is keen to see the player remain at Stamford Bridge:

He [Matic] is not for sale and I know with work he can become a fantastic midfielder, one of the best in the world.

He is a very important player for me, he is very important in my idea of football. He knows this and I’m delighted by his attitude and behaviour and I see in him commitment.

Matic featured in 38 matches in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League last term, according to WhoScored.com, but the midfielder was far from his best of the previous season, when his quality helped Chelsea to the league title under former manager Jose Mourinho.

In other news, Baba Rahman has joined up with Schalke 04 on loan. The German side confirmed the defender had joined their ranks via social media on Monday:

Rahman was a peculiar Chelsea signing, and it was questionable whether he would have the quality to be a top-class player in the Premier League.

A stint in Germany will give the 22-year-old the minutes he needs under his belt, but there is a question mark hanging over Rahman's career. The defender may never play for Chelsea again and be forced to find a permanent home in the near future if he fails to make the mark in Gelsenkirchen.

Nizaar Kinsella of Goal reported the Blues expect to welcome the Ghana international back at the end of his loan after making 15 appearances for Chelsea last term. Kinsella added the player remains in the Conte's "long-term plans."

Meanwhile, Matic's playing time will be seriously compromised by Kante's arrival, and a move to Madrid is a dream scenario for the bruising midfielder.

However, the Serbian would be a risk for Real at the quoted price, as it is yet to be seen if he can recapture the form that brought him to prominence under Mourinho.