Chelsea’s true crime podcast as Real Madrid want the London look

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Hello and welcome to the 3 Added Minutes true crime podcast – unravelling the greatest mysteries of the transfer window and finding the truth where the… er… police failed? The press? Transfermarkt? Where someone failed, anyway.

Manuel Ugarte - now unlikely to be spotted at Stamford Bridge next season. Manuel Ugarte - now unlikely to be spotted at Stamford Bridge next season.
Manuel Ugarte - now unlikely to be spotted at Stamford Bridge next season.

Today we focus on one of the most baffling heists of our age, an unsolved theft riddled with twists and turns… yep, we’re going to try and explain what happened with Manuel Ugarte’s proposed transfer to Chelsea last night. It’s actually dead simple, but thanks to some dodgily-sourced stories, there was a bit of back-and-forth that’s left everyone justifiably confused and turned the whole thing into a sudden saga. Anyway, we’ve got our deerstalker on and our magnifying glass out and we’ve decoded it all for you.

Here’s how it went down – Chelsea made an acceptable bid for a player that we described as being potentially transformative for the club. Then Paris Saint-Germain made one, and as it stands the player wants to sign for PSG because they’re going to pay him a boatload more cash. What doesn’t appear to be true is the reports, from The Mirror among others, that Chelsea offered to buy a stake in Sporting Lisbon as part of the deal, and that the Portuguese club tried to use that compel their player to sign on at Stamford Bridge, a deal that would have raised red flags absolutely everywhere.

The 3AM Verdict: Sporting is owned by its members, meaning that any sale of shares would have to be ratified at a general assembly. That process was never started, meaning the story was never plausible. The other confusing issue is that loads of outlets reported that Chelsea had locked a deal up for Ugarte, when in fact PSG were ahead the whole way. Anyway, turns out that what appeared to be a convoluted back-and-forth set of sudden twists was basically just a standard gazumping convoluted by a few journalists getting the wrong end of the stick. Sorry. Especially to Chelsea fans, because Ugarte would have been a great signing.

Kane transfer becoming a Real-ity?

A transfer which requires fewer sleuthing skills to suss out is that of Harry Kane to Real Madrid, which is looking more and more likely by the day, especially after club legend Karim Benzema confirmed his departure from the club.

Madridista paper Marca are the latest to pipe up, and with reports elsewhere suggesting that Real are willing to spend £100m on the England captain, we’re forced to conclude that this really might happen. Daniel Levy may now be the only person on earth stood between us and the end of the latest Harry Kane transfer saga, which is already dragging on longer than War and Peace. Do it, Daniel. Sell him. Set us all free.

The 3AM Verdict: We really think this is actually, genuinely happening. But Harry Kane transfer sagas traditionally get strung out for a good two months of the summer, so presumably it will somehow not actually go through until the end of August without sensible explanation. Reports that the process maybe sped up by Alan Shearer offering to fly Kane to Madrid this very evening in a little black-and-white Cessna are yet to be confirmed.

Kai me to the moon

Let’s finish up today with another baffling transfer rumour, the understanding of which is beyond the skills of any armchair detective. You see, our friends over at the Bernabeu aren’t content with just one big-money purchase from London – they want to spend big on Kai Havertz. One can’t imagine that Chelsea would deliberate over it too long.

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German tabloid Bild describe Havertz as the “dream player” of manager Carlo Ancelotti and club president Florentino Pérez, which indicates some very strange dreams indeed and makes us wonder what they’ve been putting in the tapas. Other outlets report a fee of around £60m, enough to not only get Chelsea to sell but presumably to stick him in a cannon and fire him towards Castille to speed things up.

The 3AM Verdict: It should be remembered that Kai Havertz was once one of the brightest young midfielders in Germany, at least before he wound up plowing a lone furrow up front under Frank Lampard. This is a classic case of a fresh start being best for all concerned, especially when Chelsea are trying to juggle attempts to spend enormous amounts of money with the need to stay in line with FFP somehow. Quite why Real are so keen is less clear.