Chelsea have seen a move Thomas Tuchel wants rejected again, leaving them with an agonising decision to make in the final days of the transfer window.
The Blues are known to be on the lookout for added cover at wing-back this month. Ben Chilwell is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his injured ACL. Reece James could return next month after stepping up his recovery from a torn hamstring. However, in a Covid-affected season, adequate depth is proving more vital than ever.
Chelsea have seen a bid accepted for Derby County’s Dylan Williams. The left-sided player could provide the answer in the future, though will slot into the Under-23s for the time being once signed.
Lucas Digne had appeared a perfect candidate on paper. However, Chelsea overlooked the Frenchman in favour of aiming to recall Emerson Palmieri – much to Steven Gerrard’s delight.
The 27-year-old is currently on loan at Lyon and the French side are determined to keep their man for the full duration of his season-long deal.
Chelsea reportedly failed to negotiate an official recall clause into the contract. That means Lyon are under no obligation to return Emerson to Stamford Bridge.
Lyon snub latest Chelsea offer
As such, Chelsea have been offering Lyon gradually higher compensation fees to sweeten the deal. However, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Lyon are not budging.
Romano tweeted Lyon have now ‘turned down three approaches’ for the Italy international. The latest saw the Blues offer a €4m compensation fee, though it wasn’t enough to twist Lyon’s arm.
Chelsea to pay Lyon compensation for Emerson
Chelsea will have to pay Lyon €5m in compensation to bring back Emerson to Stamford Bridge this January
Tuchel is once again described as ‘wanting’ the deal. Emerson has appeared to be Chelsea’s No 1 target to remedy their wing-back woes all month. But Romano reckons recalling Emerson now looks ‘difficult’.
That puts Chelsea at a crossroads with under 10 days remaining in the January window. They could keep upping their offer in the hopes Lyon will finally crumble. But if that gamble backfires, they could be left short in a critical position when the window slams shut.
If they now deem an Emerson return unworkable, their focus could quickly shift to signing a wing-back before time runs out, and two names have entered the frame.
Stuttgart, Ajax left-backs targeted
Meanwhile, Chelsea are in the hunt alongside Inter for Stuttgart defender Borna Sosa as they look to add to their left-back ranks, according to a report.
According to Sky Germany (via Sport Witness), Chelsea are now going after Stuttgart star Sosa.
He notched 10 assists in 26 Bundesliga games last season. As a result, he was reportedly a target for Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United before they signed Junior Firpo.
Sosa has had his most consistent campaign this term so far, missing only four league games to date.
But if Chelsea are to sign him, Sky Germany adds that they will have to fight off competition from Inter.
The Serie A club are also looking for a new versatile left-back. They believe Sosa, who has played at left-back and on the left and right of midfield this season, could be a top signing.
Another option is Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico, who could be available for as little as £6m.