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Top story: Chelsea scout Werner, Dembele

By now, it’s no secret: Chelsea have a bucket of cash at their disposal, and they’re ready to spend it in January, now that their transfer ban has been rescinded.

The Blues have been linked with a number of defenders and attackers, but the Mail reports that the West London club sent scouts to monitor RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele on Tuesday in the Champions League.

With Olivier Giroud seemingly on his way out and Michy Batshuayi’s form erratic, the Chelsea hierarchy is said to desire another forward who can push Tammy Abraham and provide Frank Lampard a reliable option up front when his XI needs rotating.

Werner is reportedly valued at £52 million — something of a pittance in this market for a 23-year-old Germany international with 20 goals in 22 appearances this season — but the Premier League side will find prying him out of the Bundesliga a challenge as Leipzig sit second in the table and are on course for a serious title fight.

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08.28 GMT: Chelsea midfielder Willian says he is in talks with the club with a view to signing a new contract.

The 31-year-old, who has been linked with interest from Barcelona and Juventus, is due to become a free agent next summer when his contract expires and is keen to remain with the club he joined in 2013.

Asked about a possible move to Barcelona, the Brazil international told Esporte Interativo. “Everyone knows I like Chelsea a lot. I identified myself with the club, with the fans, with London.

“My contract is coming to an end and we are talking. We will see what happens and what is best for both parties. But everyone knows how I desire to remain.”

The Brazil international has been a key part of the Chelsea team under Frank Lampard’s management this season, starting 11 matches in the Premier League and all six of their Champions League group-stage fixtures.

08.00 GMT: Former Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti is not on Arsenal’s list of potential managerial candidates, sources have told ESPN.

The Italian was sacked by Napoli despite guiding them to the Champions League knockout stage, following a dreadful run of form domestically, which had seen them plummet to seventh in Serie A.

Arsenal recently parted company with manager Unai Emery and are looking for a replacements, with reports having suggested Ancelotti could become their next permanent boss.

However, sources have told ESPN Ancelotti, 60, does not fit the profile of manager Arsenal are looking for, while they are not convinced by his most recent experiences.

He was sacked by Bayern Munich in 2017 and then Napoli midway through his second season with both clubs languishing outside the Champions League places.

Furthermore, according to ESPN sources, Arsenal have received several applications for the vacant role and in the process of conducting interviews in order to narrow down the list.

PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle): Manchester United to pay big for Saul

Manchester United will need to pay the big bucks — up to £128 million of them, to be exact — to land Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez during the January transfer window, Mundo Deportivo reports.

The popular midfielder is believed to be an integral part of Atletico’s first-team squad, to the point that many fans are worried about the prospect of him leaving. Alas, though the money required would likely put a lot of pressure on United, the report says it will come to that only if the club loses Paul Pogba to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane is still invested in the idea of signing the World Cup winner and might go after him as soon as the winter window opens.

Juventus to try to keep Higuain?

Italian giants Juventus are attempting to figure out a deal that would allow them to keep star striker Gonzalo Higuain on the books, Calciomercato reports.

The Argentine has been heavily linked with a move away from the champions once again, despite being viewed by many as one of the most underrated goal scorers in all of Europe. Juve are believed to have begun negotiations with Higuain’s representatives, but there are still quite a few obstacles to overcome.

They want to extend his contract, but alongside that, the Turin club is aiming to reduce his salary, which is currently at €7.5 million per season — with rumours of a return to River Plate still rife.

Tap-ins

— Veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan has signed with the LA Galaxy as a free agent, the club announced Wednesday. After a successful five-year stint with Belgium’s Anderlecht, Kljestan spent the past five seasons with New York Red Bulls and Orlando City. He is expected to provide veteran leadership for a Galaxy roster in transition after the departures of its top two goal scorers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Uriel Antuna.

— Roma are expected to go ahead with the sale of Alessandro Florenzi in the January transfer window, Calciomercato reports. The club isn’t willing to look at offers of anything less than €25 million, with the likes of Fiorentina, Inter Milan and Napoli all interested in the man who hasn’t been able to find a consistent place in Roma’s starting XI this season.

— Napoli are preparing for an overhaul of their squad, which will begin during the January transfer window, Corriere dello Sport reports. In addition to bringing in a new manager in the form of Gennaro Gattuso, the aim is for them to sign a left-back, a midfielder and a forward once the window opens, with Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon being linked with moves away from the club.