Chelsea and Newcastle have the opportunity to sign Germany international Niklas Sule for free after Bayern Munich confirmed he will move on this summer.
Sule, 26, became the subject of intense transfer rumours after entering the final 12 months of his contract last year. He seemingly wants a new challenge, having won pretty much everything during his four-and-a-half-year spell in Bavaria.
Chelsea have been in the mix for Sule ever since October, following the news of his contract impasse with Bayern. Newcastle soon joined the race thanks to their £305million takeover.
On Tuesday, news broke that the centre-back would not pen an extension with the German champions. This has led them to target Andreas Christensen, which could lead to a transfer swap as the Dane is also out of contract in the summer.
Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn has now revealed the player’s decision is final. “We made him an offer, which he told us he didn’t accept. He wants to leave the club at the end of the season,” the former keeper said (via the Daily Mail).
This gives both Chelsea and Newcastle a great chance to sign a top-quality defender for no outright fee. Sule is valued at £31.5million by transfermarkt, making it a shrewd move for either side.
Niklas Sule could replace departing Chelsea star
Thomas Tuchel already has strong options in central defence, including the likes of Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva. Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta can also operate there.
But all of those players, barring Silva, have yet to pen an extension at Stamford Bridge. One of them deciding to leave would surely force Chelsea to act on their interest in Sule.
Azpilicueta to leave Chelsea for Barcelona this summer
Barcelona have ramped up their efforts to sign Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta on a free transfer
Newcastle, meanwhile, have made a new centre-half a priority this window. But having seen bids for Sven Botman, Diego Carlos and Dan Burn knocked back, they could be left disappointed.
Niklas Sule would be an ideal solution, having played at the highest level for several years. However, he will not be eligible to join until July 1, when the Magpies could be preparing for life in the Championship.
Ambitious Barcelona plan for Chelsea target
Meanwhile, a report has detailed Barcelona’s ambitious plan as they attempt to beat Chelsea and Manchester City to the capture of Erling Haaland.
The striker could leave Borussia Dortmund in 2022, although he will not be moving in January. According to various reports, Haaland has a €75million (£63m) release clause which becomes active this summer.
Dortmund, of course, want to prevent an exit by tying him down to a new contract. But Haaland recently gave a frustrated interview where he spoke about the ‘pressure’ being put on him by the club.
Barcelona are hoping to win the race for Haaland, although they face competition from Chelsea, City and Real Madrid.
Goal claim Xavi’s side want to raise €100m (£83m) to cover not just the release clause, but also the associated contract and agent fees.
They have to be intelligent to do that given their substantial debt. According to the report, Barcelona could sell a 49 per cent stake in their production company Barca Studios. This would give them a huge financial boost and may even cover most of Haaland’s cost.
The Spanish giants could also agree new chest and sleeve sponsors for their shirts. An advanced payment for this commodity would see their spending power bolstered even further.