CHELSEA will be pleased to have secured a hard fought victory at Reading in pre season.
But they will also be keenly following matters off the pitch as they look to secure Wilfried Zaha's signature despite having a transfer ban.
Follow ALL of the latest Blues news, updates and gossip below…
N'GOLO KANTE could have incredibly signed for Middlesbrough six years ago – had the Teesside outfit listened to the advice of their eagle-eyed fan.
Boro supporter Dennis Abbot called on the club to make a move for the Frenchman while he was on holiday in Normandy.
Abbot watched Kante, 28, play for Caen in 2013 – two years before Leicester poached him from Ligue 1 in a £5.6million deal.
And, having recognised his enormous talent, he immediately brought the midfielder to Boro's attention.
The fan labelled the Frenchman “an outstanding creative player” in a tweet sent to the Teeside club.
Abbot wrote: “Boro scouts, tell Tony Mowbray to check out Caen midfielder N'Golo Kante before Wenger gets him. Top Top player.”
The club acknowledged Abbot's comment, saying it had been “passed onto scouts”.
To which he replied: “That's great. He's an outstanding creative player, winning plaudits from media & players like.”
ROSS BARKLEY insists Chelsea can cope without Eden Hazard.
The Belgian midfielder’s £150 million sale to Real Madrid has left a gaping hole in many ways but Barkley is adamant Chelsea have the players to help them move on.
To underline the point, all four goals in Sunday’s 4-3 friendly win at Reading came from the midfield players with Barkley on the scoresheet alongside rookie Mason Mount and Brazilian Kenedy.
Barkley said: “You have to fill in. Everyone in the squad understands that he was a great player, but he is gone. He has new challenges now and we have to replace his goals and create the chances. We have that much quality in the squad we will all step up to the plate.
“Last season when Eden wasn’t playing we still won games, we still created chances. We know he is an exceptional player, but we have exceptional players in the squad. We have young ones that will step up and produce the goods as well.
“We have Callum Hudson-Odoi coming back from injury and we have signed Christian Pulisic, he is an exceptional talent.
“We have wingers who can create from tight positions, players who can shoot from distance and strikers – young and experienced – who are hungry for goals.”
The Premier League countdown is underway which means it's time to seriously consider your Dream Team line-up.
We're just 12 days away from the opening day of the season and transfers are really beginning to hot up.
Chelsea's Christian Pulisic is the most-popular Premier League new-boy on the game, with over 12% of managers selecting the USA international.
Dream Team favourite Cesar Azpilicueta is priced at just £3.5m on the game.
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