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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Turkish sensation Hakan Calhanoglu could soon become the unheralded star of the next transfer window, following reports in the Daily Express that Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are lining up bids to bring home the playmaker, dubbed the ‘next Mesut Ozil.’

Calhanoglu currently represents Hamburger SV in the German Bundesliga and has impressed this season with 10 goals in 28 league games. His top drawer displays has caught the eye of national selectors earning him the coveted international debut this campaign.

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Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid punched their tickets to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League with contrasting victories on Wednesday night against Manchester United and Barcelona respectively. Both ties were tantalizingly poised at 1-1 heading into the home legs for the two teams which eventually emerged victorious.

Bayern dominated the first half of their game against United, keeping 70% of the ball and having 13 shots on goal to Man United's 1, but shockingly failed to hit the target even once. United took the lead against the run of play in the 59th minute through Patrice Evra, but the joy on the faces of the travelling Manchester United supporters lasted barely 60 seconds as Mario Mandzukic levelled the tie, stooping to meet Franck Ribery's cross.

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Chelsea’s 21-year old goalkeeping starlet Thibaut Courtois, currently on loan at Spanish club Atletico Madrid, has agreed to extend his contract with the Blues until 2019, reports the Daily Mail. The former Genk man, who joined Chelsea for 9 million Euros in 2011, has not yet represented the Blues, and has been on loan at Atletico Madrid for nearly 3 years now. Although previous reports suggested that the Belgian No.1 was growing increasingly frustrated at being on kept out on loan, fresh rumours suggest that he has agreed to stay on for another season in La Liga as Chelsea line him up as a successor to Petr Cech.

Cech, 31, is still doing a top job for Jose Mourinho’s team in the Premier League, and the Portuguese manager wants him between the sticks for at least another season. Courtois has only 2 years left on his current deal with the Blues though and a proposed extension would see him remain on Chelsea’s roster for longer.

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The UEFA Champions League quarter-final first legs kicked off on Tuesday night at Old Trafford and the Camp Nou and both ties have been left tantalizingly poised, if anything marginally in favour of the away teams with Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid both walking away with an away goal to their credit against Manchester United and Barcelona, respectively. Both ties were tense affairs and had their casualties at the end of it, but the scoreboard at both venues in the end read a very competitive 1-1.

Manchester United were completely outplayed by Bayern Munich in the first half, but it was the home side who had the better chances with Danny Welbeck perhaps a tad unlucky for his goal to be ruled out, before the big right hand of Manuel Neuer came to Bayern's rescue later in the half. United took the lead against the run of play in the second half with the Red Devils' skipper Nemanja Vidic, playing a European tie at Old Trafford perhaps for the last time, shockingly finding himself unmarked in the box and making the most of the opportunity by planting a difficult header into the bottom corner.

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The draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League took place in Nyon today with Lisbon 2014 ambassador Luis Figo the master of ceremonies once again. The 8 teams left in the competition are all former European champions and that meant there were no easy draws on offer.

FC Barcelona was the first name drawn out of the hat (cup actually) and the Spanish super heavyweights will not have to travel far for their quarter-final as they drew another La Liga side in Atletico Madrid. Incidentally, Atletico are ahead of Barca in the La Liga standings at present. The first leg will be played at the Camp Nou.

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Chelsea’s army of young players out on loan is well documented, with an astonishing 27 players on the club’s books spending time away from Stamford Bridge. Thibaut Courtois is probably the most high-profile of the lot along with Romelu Lukaku, with both Belgians seemingly resigned to never breaking into Jose Mourinho’s first team squad despite consistently performing for Atletico Madrid and Everton respectively. The prodigious keeper that Courtois is, it is understandable that Chelsea have no intention to sell him whilst Atletico are trying every trick in the book to keep him for longer.

The 21 year old stopper has been with the slick Spanish side ever since he signed for Chelsea in 2011, making just over 100 appearances in the three years he has spent in the capital city. He has started in all but one of Atletico’s La Liga games this season, making as much of a contribution to Atletico’s title charge as Arda Turan and Diego Costa.

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Chelsea are readying a 27 million pound bid for one of their top transfer targets, Diego Costa. The Atletico Madrid hitman has taken La Liga by storm this season, having netted 21 goals in 26 games for the Los Rojiblancos and is also spearheading their impressive run in the Champions League this season.

Mourinho is very impressed by the Brazilian born striker and the Metro reports that the former Real Madrid manager has made Costa his prime target for the summer, ahead of other high profile targets, including Costa’s former strike partner at Atletico, Radamel Falcao.

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