Chelsea are readying an improved bid to sign Wesley Fofana and werej confirmed to be interested in acquiring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has spoken out about two potential major exits.
The Blues recently confirmed the capture of ex-Brighton defender, Marc Cucurella. The Spaniard arrived for an initial £55m with a further £7m potentially making its way to the AMEX pending add-ons.
Some may have believed it was one or the other from Cucurella and Fofana, though Chelsea seemingly have other ideas.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have already seen a £62m bid for Fofana flatly refused by the Foxes. Leicester’s stance thus far has been their star centre-half along with key playmaker James Maddison are both not for sale.
Maddison is on Newcastle’s radar and the 25-year-old will require a huge new Magpies transfer record. The current figure in that regard stands at the £40m paid to sign Joelinton.
Now, speaking in his Friday press conference, Brendan Rodgers broke his silence on the potential departures of his star men.
When asked if any more big names are due to depart following Kasper Schmeichel’s move to Nice, Rodgers said (via Leicestershire Live): “I hope not.
“These players are not for sale. We need to move players out but it’s not getting rid of everyone and certainly not our best assets.
“It’s something the club are very strong on. James and Wesley are training very well and working hard for our game on Sunday.”
Leicester may be refusing to budge, though that won’t stop the suitors from chancing their arm.
Fofana could move if records fall
Indeed, the Times report Chelsea are preparing an improved, £70m bid to sign Fofana.
Contrary to Rodgers’ stance, their article claims Leicester could sell if they receive a world record fee for a defender. Harry Maguire currently holds that distinction through his £80m sale to Man Utd in 2019.
Furthermore, the article adds Leicester’s understanding when Fofana signed a new long-term contract in March was that the Frenchman would not depart until next summer at the earliest.
That suggests the Foxes are well aware they won’t keep Fofana for the long-term, though whether he’s retained beyond this summer will likely depend on how high Chelsea bid.
Aubameyang interest confirmed
On the subject of Aubameyang, the Times report Chelsea are indeed interested in forging a reunion with Thomas Tuchel.
Aubameyang played the best football of his career under the German during their time at Dortmund. The Gabon superstar plundered 79 goals in 95 matches during a two-year stint.
Speaking in his press conference on Friday, Tuchel refused to be drawn into the speculation.
He joked: “I would be interested in the 79 goals! We will not comment further.
“There are a lot of names out there, sometimes due to the fact we discuss a lot of names but also sometimes pure speculation. We will not get involved.”
However, the arrival of Robert Lewandowski at the Camp Nou has cast a doubt on Aubameyang’s future.
It is common knowledge Barca must shift players out before several of their new faces can be registered. Aubameyang looks a prime candidate in that regard and Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth recently detailed why a reunion at Stamford Bridge isn’t as fanciful as you may think.