Premier League • England

Todd Boehly identifies Bayer star as Wesley Fofana Plan B with Man Utd man also eyed and unwanted Chelsea man offered in swap

dmond Tapsoba (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) gestures during Atalanta BC vs Bayer Leverkusen, football Europa League match in Bergamo, Italy

Chelsea are reportedly exploring the possibility of signing Edmond Tapsoba from Bayer Leverkusen and may also launch a late bid for a Manchester United star as problems continue to persist in their pursuit of Wesley Fofana.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel remains desperate to bolster his defensive line following a number of summer departures. Indeed, their weaknesses at the back were brutally exposed by Leeds on Sunday as Chelsea slipped to an unacceptable 3-0 defeat. But bringing in new recruits has proved harder than it seems.

To that end, a number of transfer avenues have been closed in their face. Efforts to sign Jules Kounde ultimately counted for nothing. And another target in Matthijs De Ligt quickly agreed a move to Bayern Munich instead.

As a result, the Blues are going all out in an effort to prise Fofana from Leicester. And while the Frenchman is keen to make the move, the Foxes are digging in their heels and are determined to resist his sale. To that end, Chelsea have seen three bids –  the latest for a record sum – falling on deaf ears.

As a result, the Blues are reportedly threatening to pull the plug on a possible deal. It’s claimed a bid of £85m would be enough to persuade Leicester to sell. That would shatter the world-record fee for a defender. However, it seems that’s a price Chelsea are unwilling to reach, leading them to search elsewhere.

To that end, the Blues were mentioned as potential suitors for Harry Maguire last week. His future at Manchester United appears to be under the spotlight after seemingly falling out of favour under Erik ten Hag. That said, the United boss remains adamant he is not for sale.

Chelsea keen on deal for Edmond Tapsoba

Chelsea, though, aware that the window is closing in a matter of days, are preparing a move instead for Tapsoba.

As per multiple reports, Blues owner Todd Boehly is already making firm efforts to prise the 23-year-old to Stamford Bridge.

And Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg tweeted: ‘He‘s definitely on the list of CFC and a possible transfer target in the future. He was discussed internally in the case that the transfer with Fofana would fail.’

Bayer Leverkusen are reluctant to sell the defender though would be tempted to cash in were a huge fee to arise.

To that end, reports claim they could cash in on Tapsoba were an offer of around £60m arrive.

That is within Chelsea’s budget and it seems discussions over a would-be deal are already underway.

That’s with the Bundesliga club already in advanced talks over a loan deal for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The winger is desperate to depart Chelsea this summer after seeing his career stall under Tuchel. To that end, Chelsea are willing to let him depart and a move to Bayer looks to be on the cards.

Those talks have centred around an initial loan deal. However, Boehly may reportedly ask about using Hudson-Odoi as a makeweight in a swap deal for Tapsoba, per reports.

Late approach for Harry Maguire mooted

The Evening Standard also suggests Chelsea could make a late play to bring Maguire to Stamford Bridge.

The England man is fighting for his future after being dropped by Erik ten Hag. The Dutch coach opted for a Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez central defence against Liverpool and they are likely to remain first choice.

And while publicly Ten Hag insists Maguire is not for sale, he is no longer seen as an indispensable figure.

As such, he could be offered an escape route by Chelsea before the transfer window closes.

Quite what price United could expect to achieve for Maguire remains up for debate. United will almost certainly take a significant hit on their £80m investment.

But having their club captain sat on the bench presents a problem in itself. As such, an offer from Chelsea could offer Manchester United an instant fix.

To that end, the Evening Standard claims Chelsea could yet launch an official approach before the window closes.

At 29, Maguire is much older than the 23-year-old Edmond Tapsoba and 21-year-old Fofana. However, he would likely cost less than both, amid claims an offer of around £55m could convince Ten Hag to sell.

Chelsea could help generate funds for Maguire by cashing in on Trevoh Chalobah. Three European big guns are chasing a deal for Chalobah, with his future very much dependent on Chelsea landing a big-name replacement.