Chelsea make interest known in promising Ligue 1 right-back as they aim to beat Man City, Tottenham to talent

Malo Gusto and Karl Toko Ekambi of Lyon celebrate a goal in Europa League game v Brondby - Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France

Chelsea have identified Lyon right-back Malo Gusto as an ideal target to compete with Reece James, according to a report in France.

Gusto graduated the Lyon academy to become a first-team player in 2021. Since then, he has made 54 appearances for the club, supplying six assists. This season, he has made one assist in 15 appearances.

The 19-year-old has been catching the attention of some Premier League clubs thanks to his performances. His contract with Lyon is only due to run until the end of next season, so he could be a gettable target.

The latest club to be alerted by Gusto’s situation are Chelsea. According to L’Equipe, the Blues have made their interest known in the teenager.

Chelsea are currently looking for another right-back to provide competition and cover for Reece James, who has encountered some injury issues in recent years but is one of the best in his role in the Premier League when available.

Now, Gusto is on their radar as a potential option. However, Lyon want to keep the France under-21 international until the end of the season.

That said, the report claims a high bid in January could change their minds. Chelsea have certainly shown in recent transfer windows that they have the financial power to tempt clubs into such deals.

Furthermore, under the Todd Boehly regime, they have been stockpiling young talents. Just in January alone, the likes of Benoit Badiashile, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Noni Madueke have arrived at Stamford Bridge.

Perhaps Gusto could be the next signing to fit in with Chelsea’s current strategy. They will have to spend big – and beat competition – to prise him away from Lyon, though.

It has also been claimed that Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have been monitoring Gusto. Therefore, his destiny could be to join a big Premier League club.

Chelsea seem to be firmly in contention given their own stature and financial power. Only time will tell whether they can bring Gusto in, either in January or the summer.

Malo Gusto could continue progress at Chelsea

There have been some questions about Gusto’s form this season. But Lyon haven’t been doing particularly well as a unit anyway. They are ninth in Ligue 1 and are some way off the European places.

Hence, it might not be fair to judge Gusto on current form. On paper, Chelsea have better players in their squad – even if they are underperforming in terms of results too. Thus, Gusto might be able to do better in a more competitive team.

He seems to be the right kind of profile that Chelsea should be investing in at right-back. They don’t need someone to overtake James in the pecking order, yet some of the names they have been linked with would almost be an equal to the academy graduate.

Gusto, on the other hand, could develop over time, offering support to James but without having too much pressure on his shoulders to start with.

For now, Chelsea must keep trying to climb up the Premier League table to become an even more attractive destination for players. But Gusto hasn’t been involved in European competition for Lyon this season anyway, so it might not be a categorical requirement for him.

Still, he will be keen to maximise his potential and take into account all the potential offers he will have. Chelsea will be hoping, if they decide he is their best option, that they can be convincing enough.

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