Premier League • England

Marc Cucurella: Chelsea to hijack Man City move with readymade replacement to sweeten Brighton deal

Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella

Chelsea are plotting to hijack Man City’s stalling move for Marc Cucurella and could include a readymade makeweight to sweeten the deal, per reports.

The Brighton defender, 24, enjoyed a fantastic maiden campaign in the Premier League last term. Cucurella played at left wing-back, left-back and on the left side of a back three for Graham Potter. However, that versatility and his faultless displays have attracted the attention of the league’s big hitters.

Indeed, Man City pushed to sign the Spaniard following their sale of Oleksnadr Zinchenko to Arsenal.

City opened the bidding at £30m, though that figure was far below Brighton’s £50m valuation.

Pep Guardiola’s side are understood to be reluctant to meet such a lofty valuation, something that has opened the door for Chelsea to strike.

That’s according to the Daily Mail who put Cucurella firmly in Chelsea’s sights. The main reason behind their sudden interest is Marcos Alonso’s seemingly impending move to Barcelona.

The report states Chelsea have enquired about Cucurella who recently handed in a transfer request at the AMEX. A subsequent update from the Athletic confirmed talks with Chelsea are underway.

City’s reluctance to match the £50m price tag is reaffirmed. Negotiations between City and Brighton are reportedly frosty after the Seagulls were left with a sense of ‘annoyance’ at the nature of negotiations with City.

The door is therefore ajar for Chelsea to walk through, though they’ll need to match Brighton’s demands.

Chelsea could include Levi Colwill as bait

To that end, Fabrizio Romano tweeted left-sided centre-half, Levi Colwill, could be included as part of the negotiations.

The 19-year-old shone on loan at Huddersfield Town last season and would represent a direct replacement for Cucurella. Cucurella was initially signed as a left-back, though was mainly used as a left centre-back in a back three by Potter in the latter stages last year.

Romano added Chelsea are in ‘direct contact’ with Brighton today and discussions over personal terms will take place imminently.

The trusted journalist also added City will continue to refuse to go above £40m – more positive news for Chelsea.

However, should Chelsea lodge an offer Brighton deem acceptable, the player may need some convincing.

The Mail noted Cucurella was ‘extremely keen’ on the thought of working with Guardiola at the Etihad.

Cucurella could complete Chelsea revamp

The list of centre-halves Chelsea have chased and failed to sign this summer is a lengthy one.

Kalidou Koulibaly has arrived, though another addition is required following the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. What’s more, Cesar Azpilicueta could yet join Barcelona too, along with Alonso.

Cucurella was deployed on the left side of a back three for the bulk of Brighton’s late-season fixtures last term.

As such, Thomas Tuchel may view Cucurella as a centre-half going forward in a similar manner to how he’s used natural full-back Azpilicueta in a back three.

What’s more, Cucurella is left-footed and would allow Koulibaly – who is a right-footer – to shift over to the right side of the three.

Additionally, he would compete with Ben Chilwell for minutes at wing-back and is also capable of playing as an orthodoz left-back if Tuchel deploys a standard back four.