Premier League • England

Chelsea in approach for ‘unstoppable’ €25m midfielder who has been drafted into five-part plan

Victor Osimhen and Stanislav Lobotka

Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka has been on the radar of Chelsea in recent months to the extent of them making a bid, according to reports in Italy.

Chelsea currently have some concerns about what their midfield might look like beyond next summer. Two of their most experienced players in the department, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, are due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

Both have become of interest to other clubs, so Chelsea might have to think about renewing their deals. Even then, with both players in their 30s, they might have to look for longer-term successors.

With that in mind, they signed Denis Zakaria on loan from Juventus on deadline day. However, the Switzerland international is yet to make his debut for his new club.

There have already been rumours that Chelsea could terminate Zakaria’s loan in January. Hence, they will be having to think about who else could compete for a place in their midfield.

One player they have been casting glances at, it has been revealed, is Stanislav Lobotka. The Slovakia international has been playing for Napoli since January 2020, when he joined them from Celta Vigo.

In the time since, he has amassed 78 appearances for the club. He has only scored twice, but is offering enough to have become a more prominent member of Luciano Spalletti’s squad this season.

Indeed, he has started all four of their Champions League group games so far. What’s more, Lobotka has featured in all nine of their Serie A games, including seven appearances as a starter.

According to Tuttomercatoweb, he has become “unstoppable” for the in-form Italian side. However, he could have been representing Chelsea instead.

Following on from claims by Ciro Venerato, the Italian source has confirmed that Chelsea “came close to taking him” during the summer transfer window.

The Blues apparently made a bid worth €25million, or around £21.8million. It could have been an amount that may have tempted Napoli into a sale.

Napoli contract extension may end Chelsea’s Lobotka idea

However, Lobotka has responded well to missing out on the move. Now, he is in line to sign a contract renewal with Napoli. It will warn Chelsea away from any kind of attempt to renew their pursuit in January.

Napoli have already tied down Alex Meret and Alessio Zerbin this month. They also have extensions for Kim Min-jae (to remove a release clause that has caught the attention of a few Premier League suitors) and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa on their agenda.

Hence, Lobotka could be one of five to commit his future to Napoli. His existing deal with them is due to run until 2025.

Turning 28 next month, he is already giving Napoli the best years of his career. If Chelsea are to revisit their interest later down the line, they must be wary of whether it would be worthwhile any more.

Not only will Napoli be protecting Lobotka’s market value, the player himself could be approaching the same age as the kind of option that Chelsea are trying to evolve away from.

Thus, it appears that the former Ajax academy player might end up as one that got away for Chelsea. They might have to enter the market for a different midfielder in January if they decide that Zakaria is not up to standard.

READ MORE – Jude Bellingham: Serious Chelsea transfer groundwork revealed as Boehly looks to beat Liverpool, Man Utd