Chelsea’s £33m defensive prisoner exchange and Fulham’s answer to Madonna

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All the latest Premier League transfer rumours - kind of. Featuring Kaidou Koulibaly’s escape plan as Marc Guéhi surveys his options.

Welcome to today’s round-up of all the sauciest transfer rumours currently doing the rounds – and let’s start with a reminder that it’s always good to check in on the mental health of the people you care about, especially if they’re going through a difficult period professionally. For instance, if they’ve recently signed for Chelsea.

The chaotic 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last night, during which Chelsea demonstrated much the same cohesion and positional discipline as a mosh pit, probably saw quite a few caring friends and relatives reaching out to those unfortunate enough to find themselves on long-term contracts at Stamford Bridge, so let’s kick off by going over the details of one such call, word of which has reached the public sphere…

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Kalidou Koulibably with the face of a man who completely supports his manager’s strategic vision.Kalidou Koulibably with the face of a man who completely supports his manager’s strategic vision.
Kalidou Koulibably with the face of a man who completely supports his manager’s strategic vision. | Getty Images

Kalidou you really want to hurt me?

Italian outlet Tutto Mercato have had a nice little chat with Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly’s former agent Bruno Satin, who apparently made sure to keep tabs on how his one-time charge was getting along following rumours that Todd Boehly was ready to let the former Napoli man leave already.

“He told me that he’s fine in London,” Satin said, before presumably going on to explain that he blinked quickly three times, slowly three times, then three times quickly again, while holding up a newspaper with today’s date on it. It has been suggested that Juventus may seek to offer Koulibaly an escape route, and some of Juve’s more out-of-favour players will be hoping this doesn’t take the form of a prisoner exchange. Reports that Paul Pogba has been looking especially nervous lately remain unfounded.

The 3AM Verdict: If you’re one of the players brought in by Todd Boehly at great expense who already find themselves struggling for game time, this is probably a fabulous time to contact your current agent and make the secret signal. You know, before things get any worse – which is, presumably, still possible. Koulibaly is 31 and could probably do with not wasting his remaining prime years rotting on a bench somewhere, while Chelsea need to get rid of a few players to get back in line with FFP and squad limits. So let’s be honest – a return to Italy would probably be wise for all parties.

Guéhi’s electric

Another centre-back who could well be on the move this summer is Crystal Palace’s mightily impressive youngster Marc Guéhi. The newly-minted England international has apparently attracted the attention of both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, according to The Evening Standard, and could command a pretty hefty fee given how good he already is at just 22 years of age.

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An interesting choice ahead, then, for the Abidjan-born defender – does he fancy himself good enough to force his way past Gabriel and William Saliba at Arsenal? Does he gamble on Spurs finding their feet again? The good news is that he’ll be in line for a nice little pay bump. The bad news is that his former club have an option to match any incoming offer for him… and his former club is yes, you guessed it, Chelsea.

The 3AM Verdict: At least one member of the 3AM team is a massive fan of Guéhi and has been known to forecast that he will be better than Virgil van Dijk one day. Well, probably very soon indeed if we’re honest about the Dutchman’s recent form. Anyway, he’d be a hell of a signing for any team, and he really should have some more suitors than the London clubs we’ve mentioned so far – Palace will do incredibly well if they can hang onto him for a bit longer.

Tosin and turning

Let’s wrap up with yet more news on the central defensive merry-go-round and word of another defender who could trade London in for Italy. The rumours concern Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo, who boasts such an impressive ‘commentator unable to pronounce his name properly’ conversion rate that he largely goes by first name alone these days. A bit like Madonna, but better in the air. Anyway, he’s worried that he may get frozen out at Fulham, but Inter Milan are offering a ray of light.

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They’ve identified the towering defender as a potential replacement for Milan Škriniar after his impressive handling of Erling Haaland the other day, at least according to The Mail. The Manchester City academy product could be the latest Englishman to go and ply their defensive trade in the land of catenaccio, although no fee is mentioned.

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The 3AM Verdict: We featured an article just yesterday about catching feelings for loan players, and one of our Blackburn-supporting columnists had many of the same emotional connections to Adarabioyo after a fine loan spell in Lancashire a couple of years ago. He’s more than just an immense physical presence and is very handy with the ball at his feet, so he has the skillset to thrive in the modern game. Inter would still be a hefty step up for him, but if the price is right you can certainly understand the appeal. Fulham would probably be smart to try and tie him down with a new contract.

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