Premier League • England

Chelsea January transfers: Graham Potter identifies two Jorginho successors, with one to arrive alongside Enzo Fernandez

Kouadio Kone and Jan Thielmann

Enzo Fernandez might not be the only midfielder Chelsea sign in the January transfer window as Graham Potter also wants one of two France stars to replace Jorginho, according to reports.

Chelsea look set to undergo a midfield transformation this year. Jorginho is in the final six months of his Blues contract and could well leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

According to a recent report from the Daily Mail, Chelsea are ‘reluctant to negotiate’ on fresh terms with the Italian. This has apparently ‘alerted’ Newcastle to his situation, setting up an intriguing Premier League move for Jorginho.

There is also uncertainty regarding the future of Jorginho’s midfield team-mate N’Golo Kante. He has picked up interest from Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s new side, Al Nassr, due to his contract predicament. Like Jorginho, Kante will become a free agent at the end of June unless Chelsea act.

Fernandez is Potter’s top target to bolster his midfield. And Chelsea have moved way ahead of Liverpool in the race to sign the World Cup winner.

They are currently in negotiations with Benfica for him. Blues chiefs hope to reach a ‘breakthrough’ in the coming days, with Fernandez ‘pushing’ for the transfer to reach completion.

He is a top operator, as shown by his performances for Argentina at the World Cup. However, Fernandez cannot do it all on his own, so Potter will need another impressive midfielder to join Chelsea if both Jorginho and Kante leave.

Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips has revealed which two midfielders Potter is looking at to succeed from Jorginho in west London.

Chelsea plot move for Bundesliga ace

The first is Kouadio Kone, who plays for Borussia Monchengladbach and France U21s. Despite being only 21 years old, Kone is already an important player for Gladbach. He has played in 14 of their 15 Bundesliga games so far this season, and only missed that one because of a yellow card suspension.

Kone scored for Gladbach in their final league game before the World Cup, which was an impressive 4-2 victory over Borussia Dortmund. He received the ball near the edge of the box and took a good touch before firing into the far bottom corner, giving Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel no chance.

Clearly, Potter has been impressed by Kone’s performances in Germany and believes he could be a great replacement for Jorginho at Chelsea.

But Kone is not alone in being on Chelsea’s radar. Phillips claims they are also interested in his France U21s team-mate Khephren Thuram.

He is enjoying a good season with Nice in Ligue 1, having featured in all of their matches so far this term. Thuram has put in some dominant midfield displays, helping Nice qualify from their Europa Conference League group in first place.

Both Kone and Thuram are relatively inexperienced, so Chelsea fans may have some reservations about them replacing Jorginho.

While they are not at Jorginho’s level just yet, they certainly have the potential to become influential players in the Premier League.

Understandably, though, those involved with Chelsea will be more excited about Fernandez’s potential arrival. He is already a World Cup winner who has the world at his feet. And he could stroll straight into the Chelsea starting eleven if he joins.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are threatening to sign a highly rated attacker ahead of Arsenal and have pencilled in transfer talks.