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Cuadrado at a crossroads

Chelsea
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Karim Benzema flying to Arsenal? Erik Lamela to move to Porto?

Sid Lowe confirms that the Spanish centreback will stay at Madrid, despite rumours of a move to Manchester United; however ESPN FC's Craig Burley wonders how much value a reluctant player will have for the Spanish giants.

Karim Benzema's cryptic Instagram caption has prompted speculation.
 

As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all the latest rumours and gossip. See all the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Karim Benzema on his way to Arsenal?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is travelling somewhere. The Frenchman posted a cryptic message on his Instagram account as the rest of his teammates flew out to China.

Instead of going with them, the 27-year-old was flying solo on a private plane and wrote: "Let the past remain the past," with a...

 By Mark Worrall

Jose Mourinho could be the difference in a tighter Premier League title race

In an exclusive interview with ESPN FC Jose Mourinho tells Shaka Hislop he was "scared" when Radamel Falcao signed for Manchester United.
The ESPN FC crew respond to your tweets in regards to whether or not Arturo Vidal makes it into Bayern Munich's starting XI and how Shaka Hislop enjoyed interviewing Jose Mourinho.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says letting Petr Cech go to Arsenal was tough but Thibaut Courtois is one of the top three goalkeepers in the world.

With less than two weeks until the big Premier League kick-off on Aug. 8, the excitement and tension that surrounds world football's elite club competition is building as every aspect of the chances of the teams involved is dissected and discussed.

Will Chelsea retain the title they won at a canter last season? Can Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United close the gap, or even unseat the champions from their perch? What about Liverpool? And will there be a surprise team or two challenging...

Mourinho's monumental task: Helping Chelsea retain the Premier League title

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his Premier League rivals are now the ones attempting to buy their way to glory, a charge that used to levelled at the Blues.
The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets, including whether or not Chelsea are still favourites to defend their Premier League Title.

It might have been an underhand trick to undermine a rival, it might have been an attempt to hide his genuine concerns about the move or it might just have been honest analysis. Either way, Jose Mourinho refused to evade questions about former Chelsea attacker Kevin De Bruyne's anticipated move to Manchester City in the way the Portuguese might have.

The 24-year-old Belgian left Stamford Bridge for Wolfsburg just a few months after Mourinho's return in 2013, and did so after making just nine first-team...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

How does Arsenal's spending compare to the top six? Get your calculators out

ESPN FC's Ross Dyer analyses how both Arsenal and Chelsea conduct their transfer business after Jose Mourinho commented on the Gunners squad and spending.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his Premier League rivals are now the ones attempting to buy their way to glory, a charge that used to levelled at the Blues.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is already ramping up the mind games and we're still a little under two weeks from the start of the Premier League season.

Indeed, with Chelsea set to take on Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday in the Community Shield, rival manager Arsene Wenger has already become the focus of his attention.

"If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise," Mourinho said, in an obvious attempt to add pressure on the Gunners...

 By Chris Wright

Jose Mourinho pranks Chelsea staff with fake team-building exercise

With an upcoming friendly against Barcelona to prepare for, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho decided to warm-up (or should that be cool down?) beforehand by pranking members of his playing and backroom staff with a phoney team-building exercise.

The prank involved Mourinho lining up his victims on chairs and asking them to pretend they were sat on a bus, having them lean back and forth in unison while the evil Portuguese mastermind chose his moment to strike.

Sure enough, the signal came and the unsuspecting...

 By Phil Lythell

Unsung Willian still with room to improve

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner feels Jose Mourinho's comments are to fire up his players following the continued influx of money being spent by Premier League clubs, but Craig Burley is not surprised that clubs are now "buying titles."

Within Chelsea's squad over the last few years, by far the most competitive area has concerned the attacking midfield. The high turnover of players in that department and the myriad options for successive managers has formed the basis for the new approach in Chelsea's play -- one based upon craft and finesse in place of power and force of will.

Despite the constant churn of options behind the main striker, some constants remain. Eden Hazard has risen to become the most dazzling individual at the...