Premier League • England

Price drop prompts Chelsea midfielder bid but rivals circling for LaLiga star

Barcelona manager Xavi ready to sub on Frenkie De Jong and Ousmane Dembele

Reports claim Chelsea have made an opening bid for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong but will need to fend off a European heavyweight for his signature.

The 24-year-old is currently in his third season for the Catalans. He has made 15 starts among 16 LaLiga appearances this term, with Barca struggling down in sixth spot in the table. The Netherlands international has enjoyed 112 outings in all competitions for the Nou Camp giants since joining from Ajax in the summer of 2019.

However, despite being a regular starter, he has never really hit the expected heights in Spain. Rumours of an exit have been doing the rounds for some time.

Both Manchester United and Manchester City have been linked. It was claimed back in November that Barcelona would allow De Jong to leave if they acquired City’s Ferran Torres.

That deal has now gone through but there has been no sign of the Premier League pacesetters pushing for the Dutchman. And it is the European champions that have made an initial move, according to El Nacional, via The Mail.

The Catalan outlet suggest the Blues have tabled an offer of £33m for the versatile schemer. Barca value their player at around the £50m mark.

But the reports adds that they are prepared to accept £42m to get the deal done. It remains to be seen if the west London outfit are prepared to increase their bid.

However, they are not the only club on the hunt.

Chelsea youngster Mbuyamba ready for first team football

Chelsea youngster Mbuyamba ready for first team football

Hellas Verona are wanting to bring Xavier Mbuyamba from Chelsea in on loan

German interest in De Jong

Other Premier League clubs might enter the equation if they feel De Jong is now obtainable. But Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich are also keen on the man with 38 Netherlands caps.

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann is a known admirer of the former Willem II midfielder. And he has asked the club’s hierarchy to make enquiries into a possible January transfer.

De Jong not the only Chelsea target

Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to City means their title challenge is virtually over. Pep Guardiola’s side are now 13 points clear at the top of the standings.

But there is still much to play for at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s Champions League title defence is very much up and running while they are in the final of the EFL Cup.

Thomas Tuchel has lost both Reece James and Ben Chilwell to injury and is said to be targeting a replacement left-back this month. According to The Mirror, Inter Milan and Croatia star Ivan Perisic is now on the radar.

Ivan Perisic celebrates his goal against Salernitana for Inter Milan, December 2021

The 32-year-old has been operating at left wing-back in Serie A this term and could do a short-term job for Tuchel.

READ MORE: Chelsea transfer news: Blues sell long-serving star, as Championship boss raves at ‘talented’ signing