Premier League • England

Chelsea handed public slap in face by rival chief, as new bid for Ligue 1 star rejected despite player push

Kylian Mbappe and Malo Gusto

Chelsea are highly unlikely to sign Malo Gusto from French side Lyon after their president publicly responded to claims about Todd Boehly’s latest offer.

Gusto is just 19 years old but is already an integral player for Lyon. Last season, he made 38 appearances in all competitions, helping his team to finish eighth in Ligue 1 and reach the quarter-final of the Europa League, where they lost to West Ham.

Gusto, who can play as a right-back or centre-half, has played in 15 league matches so far this campaign. His impressive performances in France have resulted in interest from some big teams.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham have all been linked with moves for him.

Man Utd could probably still do with a replacement for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, even though he is enjoying a run in the side under Erik ten Hag.

Chelsea need someone to provide competition and backup for Reece James once Cesar Azpilicueta retires.

Tottenham, meanwhile, desperately need to solve their problems on the right flank. Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty and Djed Spence have all failed to impress Antonio Conte at right wing-back.

In recent days it has been Chelsea pushing hardest to bring Gusto to the Premier League. They saw their opening offer for the teenager turned down by Lyon recently.

Chelsea in ‘direct contact’ with Lyon

Earlier on Thursday, Fabrizio Romano reported that Chelsea were ready to submit a new offer. He did not reveal how much it would be worth, although Chelsea were said to be in ‘direct contact’ with Lyon as they tried to get the move over the line.

Blues chairman Boehly was confident about raiding Lyon for Gusto. After all, they agreed personal terms with him early on, and Gusto himself was pushing for the transfer from inside the Lyon headquarters.

But Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has handed Chelsea major transfer embarrassment by saying no move will be happening before the upcoming deadline.

He said (via French source RMC Sport): “I would like to make it clear that Malo Gusto, a great hope of the OL, will continue to play for the OL until at least 30 June 2023.”

Lyon hope to keep Blues target for the long run

By referring to Gusto as ‘a great hope’ for the side, Aulas has attempted to state that he will be building a team around the full-back and some other players.

However, the reality is that Lyon will find it tough to keep Gusto over the next few transfer windows. He will continue putting in top performances, as long as he stays fit, and soon he will become too big for the club.

Lyon must qualify for the Champions League if they want to have any hope of keeping him from the clutches of Chelsea, Man Utd or Spurs. After all, those teams can offer him much higher wages.

But Lyon are currently ninth in Ligue 1 and struggling to keep up with the top four. As such, it would not be a surprise if Gusto handed in a transfer request in the summer.

Aulas may have fended off Chelsea this month, but Boehly will likely return with another offer for Gusto later this year.

Meanwhile, Graham Potter will not be able to land an Everton ace as he has rejected Chelsea’s advances.