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Chelsea response over approach for star signing suggests faith has crumbled

Chelsea have seemingly admitted defeat over an expensive signing they made last summer if the latest report regarding an approach from Serie A is anything to go by.

The Blues forked out around £250m last summer on a plethora of Europe’s top talent. The likes of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner did not enjoy their finest seasons, though the German pair did at least feature regularly.

The same cannot be said for Moroccan winger, Hakim Ziyech. The 28-year-old arrived from Ajax in a deal worth £36.7m.

Hopes were high of Ziyech transforming the Blues going forward given his reputation as an assist king.

However, the step up from Dutch football proved more troublesome than both he and the club had hoped.

Indeed, Ziyech’s outings became increasingly less frequent as the season rolled on, with Thomas Tuchel often preferring to deploy Werner out wide instead of Ziyech.

Rumours of a premature exit have swirled all summer. Frequent trading partner AC Milan are understood to be keen to land the playmaker.

The pair have already reached agreements over Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud. As such, a report outlined how these ‘warm’ relations were expected to yield another transfer this summer.

However, per the Sun (citing Italian outlet Calciomercato), Milan’s initial approach has been ‘rejected’.

They report that Chelsea have turned down the opportunity to send Ziyech to Milan on loan. Instead, they are ‘only interested in doing business if it is a permanent transfer.’

That stance would suggest the Blues are prepared to admit defeat over Ziyech and do not believe he can contribute at the highest level.

Still in his 20s and boasting an impressive attacking output from his time at Ajax, one would suspect Ziyech’s transfer value has not diminished much. Finding a permanent buyer for Ziyech could therefore aid their chances of satisfying their need for an elite level striker.

Whether Milan will come back in with an offer of a permanent move remains to be seen.

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Deadline set for Chelsea, Liverpool-linked attacker

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Chelsea have reportedly been set a deadline if they want to beat Leicester to the signing of a Euro 2020-winning attacker this summer.

Serie A outfit Sassuolo have made it clear they will not sell any of their top players, including Domenico Berardi, once the new season has started. The 2021-22 Italian campaign gets underway on August 21.

A report in the Daily Express claims that Leicester have shown the greatest interest among English clubs in signing Berardi. The attacker hit 17 goals in Serie A last season.

However, Corriere della Sera states that Liverpool remain keen on a move. Meanwhile, further reports in Italy claim that Chelsea are also in the running. But if the Reds and Blues want to get one over on Leicester then they will have to act quickly.

That is because Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali insists they will not sell any of their key players late in August, once the season has begun. “We want to keep Berardi, he’s our top player,” Carnevali said.

“If we receive an important bid, we will discuss about it and take a decision together with the player. We’re not selling our stars later in August.”

READ MORE: Chelsea to initiate Plan B to land target Tuchel is ‘hellbent’ on signing

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