Chelsea legend Cole tells Maresca to block £40m transfer as Romano reveals Maatsen, Broja latest

Joe Williams
Chelsea legend Joe Cole
Joe Cole during his role as a TNT Sports pundit.

Joe Cole has urged new Chelsea boss Enzo Maresca to block the departure of Conor Gallagher this summer as he “understands the club”.

Widespread reports have indicated that Leicester City’s Maresca has agreed a long-term deal to become the new Blues boss with the club set to announce his arrival in the coming days.

Maresca, who guided Leicester to promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking, is the former assistant manager to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Chelsea midfielder Gallagher – who is valued at around £40m – is one player who might not be around next season with speculation that the Blues hierarchy will look to sell him as a fee would go down as pure profit as part of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

The west London side could have to sell before they can buy in the summer transfer window but Cole is hoping Maresca can block Gallagher’s potential departure.

Cole told talkSPORT: “If I was sitting in front of the Chelsea owners, I would be telling them that Conor is arguably the most important player in the dressing room.

“Before you even talk about what he does on the pitch, he understands the club. During the difficult times you see what a player is worth and Conor was always there and available and driving the team on.

“I think it’s vital for the club to keep him. I’ll admit I don’t understand the financial side of it but purely from a football point of view, he’s in the top-three most important players in the dressing room.”

And Andy Townsend agrees with Cole that Chelsea should do everything to keep Gallagher, he added: “I thought Conor Gallagher had a really good season. I thought he played some really good stuff.

“He was good on loan at Crystal Palace and I think he added more to his game last season. His partnership with Moises Caicedo is much better than the Enzo [Fernandez] one.

“I would love to think that Maresca could say to the hierarchy, “please don’t sell him, I need him and desperately want him to stay”. I think he played really well and deserves to stay.”

On Maresca’s imminent arrival, Cole said: “I think he ticks every box. Everything I’ve heard about him has been positive and that’s always a good sign.”

Armando Broja and Ian Maatsen are quite likely to leave Chelsea permanently this summer after loan spells last season and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has brought an update.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “There’s a lot of movement around Armando Broja at Chelsea, and a lot going on with Enzo Maresca too. The manager is set sign his contract until 2029, with an option for a further season, so now it’s time to prepare the contracts, check them, review them more fully and then pay the compensation fee.

“His arrival is not expected to change the future of Armando Broja who is returning to Chelsea from Fulham but who is still expected to leave Chelsea in the summer transfer window.

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“He’s already considering opportunities at home and abroad, with Monaco taking a keen interest in signing him.

“Chelsea need to make a profit, and given that he’s an academy product, any monies received would go straight towards Financial Fair Play.”

Romano added: “Sticking with Chelsea, Ian Maatsen is not part of the Dutch national team because after the incredible, fantastic second part of the season he had on loan with Borussia Dortmund, he is playing at Wembley in the Champions League final.

“It’s important to say that Chelsea are prepared to listen to the first proposal from Dortmund after the final has been played.

“He has a release clause of £35m but Dortmund will try to negotiate to lower the price. Let’s see if they can find common ground with Chelsea.”