EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea to hand young defender first-team chance after outstanding loan stint

Levi Colwill Chelsea defender on loan at Huddersfield

Chelsea are looking to bring Levi Colwill into the first-team squad next season after a brilliant campaign with Huddersfield Town, TEAMtalk understands.

The 18-year-old defender signed a four-year deal before making the move to the John Smith’s Stadium last summer, and he has been a stand-out performer for Carlos Corberan’s men.

Huddersfield, who have been one of the surprise packages in the Championship this season, have already enquired about Colwill’s availability for next season.

But Chelsea – who have been keeping a close check on him throughout the season – fully intend to give him the chance to impress in pre-season.

Chelsea are struggling to hold onto most of their defence with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all out of contract at the end of the season and at the moment no agreements are in place.

The Blues are looking at a host of names to bring in. However, Colwill is set to get his chance to press his claims for a first-team spot.

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Juve star flattered by Chelsea interest

Meanwhile, Matthijs De Ligt is reportedly flattered by interest from Chelsea – and Juventus could sell the defender to be able to afford a signing in return.

Chelsea need to evolve their defence as Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta approach the ends of their contracts. Ideally, the Blues would keep all three, but that looks unlikely. In fact, it seems they are destined to start the 2022-23 season with a new backline.

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It is the main area they will have to focus on in the transfer market. In that regard, they have been linked with Netherlands international De Ligt.

The former Ajax academy product has been playing for Juventus since 2019. The plan was for him to help their own evolution for a future beyond Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. But the veterans simply are not shifting still.

De Ligt has still managed 18 starts in Serie A this season. However, there is a feeling he could be ready for an exit from the Allianz Stadium.

Chelsea have therefore been tipped to take advantage and it may be music to his ears. According to Sport Mediaset, De Ligt has taken news of Chelsea’s interest positively.

He feels the same way about rival suitors Barcelona. However, Chelsea are likely in a stronger financial position at present.

It seems he would be open to Stamford Bridge being his next destination. That would also be beneficial for Juventus so they can reinvest.

Juventus eye Chelsea man to replace De Ligt

Indeed, La Repubblica write that the Italians want to find a more economical successor to Chiellini and Bonucci. They feel they can sell De Ligt and sign a more financially efficient replacement.

Daniele Rugani and Matthijs De Ligt celebrating

Coincidentally, one man on their shortlist to do so is Rudiger. Given his contract situation, they could take him for free when his Chelsea deal expires in the summer.

But they still need to sell De Ligt in order to be able to afford the wage demands of the former Roma man. He left Serie A for the Premier League in 2017.

Also in contention to replenish the Juve backline are Torino’s Gleison Bremer and Lille’s Sven Botman. But Sport Mediaset themselves also affirmed Rudiger could be the ideal solution.

La Repubblica clarify that the Old Lady are looking for €90m to part with De Ligt in the summer. If Chelsea are to invest such a sum, he would become their second most expensive arrival of all time, after they spent a nine-figure sum on Romelu Lukaku in 2021.

Although it would not technically be a swap deal, signing De Ligt would soften the blow for Chelsea if they were to lose Rudiger.

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