Chelsea to win Mangala race

Posted by ESPN staff

Eliaquim Mangala made 23 appearances for France's Under-21 sideGettyImagesChelsea are reportedly leading the race for Eliaquim Mangala

Chelsea are set to win the race for highly coveted Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala with the Mirror reporting that the Blues will make a January bid for the 22-year-old. Chelsea bolstered their attack during the last transfer window, capturing the likes of Willian, Samuel Eto'o, Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle, but failed to shore up their defence. However, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is intent on rectifying that error and, after failing to land Mangala at the start of the season, will be back with his full force to finally secure the France international. And Mourinho will need every bit of his persuasion skills (plus Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's fortune) with news that cashed-up French club Monaco want the player to return to his homeland. Porto insist Mangala has a £40 million buy-out clause but Chelsea are rumoured to only want to pay £20 million. Your move Monaco.

Newcastle United have joined the chase for Leeds United defender Sam Byram according to The Sun. The £8 million-rated defender has gained the interest of a number of Premier League clubs despite being kept on the sidelines for five months with a hip problem. However, with the 20-year-old expected to return for Leeds' trip to St James' Park for the Capital One Cup clash, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has the perfect vantage point to assess the youngster's comeback. But even if Pardew is impressed with what he sees in Byram's return, the Toon boss will still face Manchester City, Everton and West Brom in the race to sign the player.

Finally, a word from the coaching world, with the Mirror reporting that former Brighton boss Gus Poyet will be announced as the new Sunderland manager in the coming days. Former Black Cats boss Paolo Di Canio was sacked after only six games with the club languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table. And now Poyet, who had a bitter divorce from Brighton, is set to become Sunderland's fourth manager in just 22 months. Club officials were switching between Poyet, Watford manager Gianfranco Zola, former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo and Steve McClaren, but it seems the former Uruguay international has the front-running for the position.

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