Premier League • England

Real Madrid plotting unthinkable double Chelsea raid, with most damaging exit ‘within reach’ as Todd Boehly squirms

Reece James and Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea

Reece James and Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea

Real Madrid are targeting two Chelsea starters and hope to capitalise on their need to balance the books, and the most damaging exit is ‘much more within reach than might be expected’, per a report.

Todd Boehly and his Clearlake partners were not shy upon taking the reins at Stamford Bridge. North of £500m was splashed out during their first two transfer windows at the helm, with Chelsea’s squad now bursting at the seams.

As a result, a series of first-team exits are required this summer to not only trim the squad down to size, but also balance the books.

Reporter Ben Jacobs told TEAMtalk exits will be just as important as arrivals this summer. With that in mind, speculation has begun to swirl over a ‘fire sale’, with up to 10 players reportedly on the chopping block.

Two players who were not named in that report were, unsurprisingly, Reece James and Kai Havertz.

James is a homegrown talent and arguably one of the best right-backs in the world. Havertz, meanwhile, continues to excite and frustrate in equal measure in a Blues shirt, though does appear to have earned the trust of manager Graham Potter in 2023.

However, according to Spanish outlet AS, James and Havertz are on Real Madrid’s radar and the former’s potential exit is deemed ‘much more within reach than might be expected’.

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Chelsea spending leaves them vulnerable

The 23-year-old signed a new and improved contract in September that’s committed his future at Stamford Bridge until 2028.

However, AS report Real are fully aware of Chelsea’s need to raise significant funds, especially in the first month of the summer window before June 30.

If the Blues are unable to shift the lesser lights in their squad, Real plan to give Chelsea a difficult decision to make by moving for James.

Real hope to strengthen at right-back and have drawn up a four-man shortlist of viable targets. Joao Cancelo (Man City), Juan Foyth (Villarreal) and Davide Calabria (AC Milan) are on the list, but it’s stressed Reece James is their priority target.

James has admirers high up in Real’s organisation and would represent a dream signing for the club.

However, the fact James is under contract until 2028 makes their task more difficult than when they raided Chelsea in the past for Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, for example. Both those players switched sides when only having one year remaining on their deals, and as such, Chelsea’s hand was forced.

Real will therefore be reliant on pressure to conform with FFP forcing Chelsea to cash in on a player they’d dearly love to keep.

The two clubs have drawn each other in the Champions League quarter finals and the report adds that twist of fate will give Real’s hierarchy a chance to sound out a potential move with their Chelsea counterparts. The contests will take place on April 12 and April 18.

Havertz is also on Real’s radar and it’s noted the German was in their sights back in 2020 when still at Bayer Leverkusen. Ultimately, Chelsea beat them to the punch when securing a £71m (including future add-ons) move.

However, it’s acknowledged Reece James is their ‘main’ interest of the two.

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