Premier League • England

Exclusive: Chelsea identify Lois Openda as top Maresca target as price for Euro 2024 star’s signing is revealed

Chelsea have set their sights on signing Lois Openda

Chelsea have set their sights on signing Lois Openda

RB Leipzig striker Lois Openda has been identified as a player with an ideal profile for the needs of Chelsea and their new boss Enzo Maresca, TEAMtalk has learned.

Chelsea are keen to bring in a top forward that can help propel them back into the top four in the English Premier League.

They have had talks with multiple talents and have even had the opportunity to do a deal for Jhon Duran, however, they have eyes on another player who has impressed recruiters at the club.

Sources have confirmed that the club are tracking Openda and he ticks a lot of the boxes for Chelsea.

He could move this summer and the 24-year-old is keen to play at the highest level possible. He is contracted until 2028 and there is no pressure on Leipzig to sell but their model is to develop and move players on for a profit.

His ability to play across the front three and drop into spaces is a huge bonus and a key part of what Chelsea are looking for under new manager Maresca.

He wants a forward who can fit his system and be part of an attacking group rather than a dependence on a lone number nine. The Belgian certainly caught the eye when stepping off the bench on Monday, setting up Romelu Lukaku for what looked a well-worked equaliser, only to see the goal chalked off for a somewhat-harsh handball in the build-up.

With the Chelsea emphasis being on the system rather than around individuals, we understand that is one of the major stumbling blocks that has halted their interest in long-term target Victor Osimhen who is not seen as well suited to the new style of play and identity.

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Release clause sum makes Chelsea pause

Maresca’s hope of a deal for Openda may or may not be impacted by the fact that his release clause is not actually active this summer.

TEAMtalk understands that a bid of £70m will trigger a move in summer 2025 from RB Leipzig. However, a sizeable sum this summer could yet convince the Bundesliga side to cash in – especially if the player goes on to enjoy a more promiment role – and his cameo on Monday suggests that may well be the case – over the rest of the Euro 2024 tournament.

There is interest from two other top EPL sides and La Liga so that means that if the Blues are to move they may be pressured by other clubs who are also watching him with interest.

They have already been turned down by his teammate Benjamin Sesko and they will want to make sure that they have a top striker in place for the first game of the Premier League season.

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