Premier League • England

Chelsea chasing Southampton summer signing, with key figure driving surprise swoop

Gavin Bazunu, Southampton, September 2022

Chelsea are reportedly keen on Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, with the reasons for a potential move pointing to one key factor.

The Blues are regulars for flexing their muscles in the transfer market. While Roman Abramovich was funding the side, they spent millions each season.

The same looks to be the case now that Todd Boehly is calling the shots. Indeed, Chelsea spent around £250million in the summer, in Boehly’s first window as chairman.

The main signings in January were the likes of Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.

Still, Chelsea are keen to improve, after such a hefty spend in the summer. That much explains the sacking of Thomas Tuchel just a few weeks into the season.

Clearly, Boehly wants his new business venture to be a success. And since Graham Potter has taken the manager’s job, things seem to be looking up for Chelsea.

They are yet to lose a game under the former Brighton boss. Indeed, since he took charge, Chelsea have registered five wins and have also drawn two games.

Even so, Chelsea are being linked with more fresh faces. Blues journalist Simon Phillips reports that the Stamford Bridge outfit are interested in Saints stopper Bazunu.

The Irishman has only been at Mary’s since July. Indeed, he joined in a £12.6million move from last season’s title winners Manchester City.

While he is just 20 years of age, Bazunu has become Southampton’s No.1, having missed just one league game so far this term.

Bazunu interest points to key factor

Chelsea’s interest in Bazunu points to a key factor in their recruitment – Joe Shields. The scout recently swapped St Mary’s for Stamford Bridge.

Phillips hints that the Blues may have been pointed in the goalkeeper’s direction by Shields.

Given Shields was the chief scout at Southampton when Bazunu signed, he will have heaps of information on him.

As such, there is likely to be nobody who knows the ins and outs of his game as well as he does.

Chelsea stocks already strong between the sticks

Whether or not Bazunu would be afforded much game time at Chelsea remains to be seen. Indeed, the Blues have two of the Premier League’s finest talents to choose from.

Kepa Arrizabalaga spent a fair chunk of last season on the sidelines. Under Potter, though, he has been thrown back into the mix, and is showing why he is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, with many top performances of late.

Edouard Mendy was one of the standout keepers in the league last season. The Senegal international kept 14 clean sheets – the fourth-highest total across the league.

As such, it is likely he is not too enamoured with sitting on the bench at present. He may look for a move elsewhere if he spends much more time on the sidelines, and that could open up place for Bazunu – as well as a more realistic shot at some game time.

Given he is only 20, he has time on his side, and could well bide that time and become Chelsea’s No.1 in a few years. However, playing week in, week out at Southampton may be better for his development.