Chelsea are reportedly ready to open preliminary talks with an outstanding Premier League winger over a summer transfer in 2023.
The Blues have made Brighton forward Leandro Trossard their top target, with the Belgium international set to arrive on a free transfer when his Amex contract runs out at the end of the season.
A report from Football Insider claims Chelsea will hold early talks with Trossard’s camp to get a deal in place. However, a pre-contract cannot be signed, as that can only be done with an overseas club.
There is also no chance of the 27-year-old making the move to London in January, given Brighton’s stance.
The Seagulls do have an ace up their sleeve, however, in that they can extend Trossard’s contract by a further year. That would allow them to recoup a fee, although for Trossard it would mean him missing out on a signing-on fee, if he joined Chelsea for nothing.
The £25million-rated attacker was in impressive form before heading to Qatar for the World Cup.
In his 14 Premier League games before the break, Trossard notched seven goals and added three assists.
Trossard also scored a memorable hat-trick against Liverpool at Anfield in Roberto De Zerbi’s first game in charge of Brighton.
Trossard in shop window in Qatar
He also won his 22nd cap for Belgium after coming on as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Canada on Wednesday.
Trossard, who has previously been linked with Arsenal, joined Brighton from Genk in 2019 for £18million.
Overall he has scored 25 goals and added 14 assists in 118 games for the club.
To that end, Football Insider adds that the Seagulls are determined not to lose the player mid-season, especially given their fine start to the campaign.
De Zerbi’s side currently sit seventh in the Premier League, despite losing manager Graham Potter to Chelsea in September.
And Potter is now looking to be reunited with Trossard in west London.
Chelsea already have a former Brighton favourite on board in the shape of Marc Cucurella. Potter, meanwhile, also poached the south coast club’s head of recruitment Paul Winstanley after arriving at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are back in action on December 27 when they host Bournemouth in the Premier League.