Premier League • England

Chelsea transfer news: World Cup star gives verdict on Blues link as familiar plan for Serie A defender mooted

Frenkie de Jong, Denzel Dumfries and Steven Bergwijn

Denzel Dumfries admits he is flattered by links to Chelsea but Tottenham and other clubs remain in the race for the versatile Netherlands star.

The 26-year-old has been one of the standout players during the current World Cup. He was roundly praised for his display as Oranje beat USA 3-1 on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals in Qatar. The Inter Milan star assisted the first two Dutch goals before scoring the third himself in a superb all-round performance.

Pundits eulogised over his showing. Micah Richards felt his display was ‘breathless’ while stating his ‘whole game was brilliant’.

And fellow BBC observer Martin Keown labelled his finish as ‘absolute quality’.

Unsurprisingly, many clubs have been linked with the former PSV ace. Chelsea were mentioned in connection with the Rotterdam-born star last summer.

But it is Tottenham who have recently emerged as serious contenders to bring him to north London.

TuttoMercatoWeb have reported that Chelsea’s interest in the stopper is as strong as ever.

And he was asked by The Athletic what he felt about being linked to Stamford Bridge. Dumfries played his cards close to his chest but refused to rule out a switch to west London.

“Of course it’s a compliment,” he said. “But when you put the Nerazzurri shirt on, that is also a big compliment.

“I’m focused on the national team and I play for a very, very beautiful club in Italy.

“I’m very proud that I can play for Inter so I am focused on nothing else but the national team and Inter.”

World Cup exploits put Dumfries in shop window

Dumfries has been on the radar of a number of clubs for some time. Manchester United were thought to hold an interest last summer.

And the link was obvious, with Dutch tactician Erik ten Hag at the helm. He remained at San Siro but rumours persist that Inter need to sell a big-name player to help balance the books.

TEAMtalk’s transfer insider, Graeme Bailey revealed on Saturday that the Italians had planned to sell Milan Skriniar.

But he will reportedly either stay in Milan or leave for nothing next summer.

That means Dumfries could be the man to move on. Inter may well look to sell in January but loan him back for the remainder of 2022-2023.

Chelsea might be prepared to play ball on that deal in order to secure a player at the top of his game.

They have done it before when signing Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund.

Dumfries has shone in Qatar and has another chance to prove his credentials when Holland face Argentina.

That mouth-watering last-eight clash takes place on Friday and gives Dumfries an opportunity to go up against Lionel Messi.

Arguably the world’s best player despite advancing years, he will provide a stiff test for any opposition defender.

But it is Dumfries’ attacking qualities and versatility that have also turned the heads of Premier League clubs.

Dumfries a versatile goal threat

Dumfries played his football in his homeland before joining the Nerazzurri in August 2021. Spells at Sparta Rotterdam and Heerenveen preceded a three-year stint with PSV.

The man with 41 Netherlands caps is a manager’s dream, with an ability to play in central defence or at right-back.

With pace to burn, he has notched 29 goals from 298 club appearances during his career to date.

He picked up the Coppa Italia with Inter last season. But a run at the Scudetto seems beyond Simone Inzaghi’s men this term.

They are already 11 points behind table-topping Napoli and sit fifth in the top-flight table. And it may be that Inter are prepared to let their star man go if it benefits the club in the long run.

Chelsea and Tottenham have made their interests known. But it may not be a straight shoot out between the capital duo when bidding starts.

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