Chelsea have secured agreements for the transfer fee and personal terms surrounding their surprise signing of Lesley Ugochukwu from Rennes, according to reports.
The Athletic has revealed that Chelsea have agreed to pay Rennes around €27.5m or £23.5m for the midfielder, who will subsequently undergo a medical within the next 24 hours to wrap up the move.
It was reported earlier on Saturday by L’Equipe that Chelsea have been in talks with Rennes about Ugochukwu for around 10 days. Before that, there was little sign of their interest, but things have accelerated quickly.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea have agreed to sign the 19-year-old on a permanent basis. However, they have not yet decided whether to add him to their squad straight away or loan him out instead.
Chelsea have been working on strengthening their midfield following the departures of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek this summer.
Whether or not Ugochukwu has the required experience to help fill the void immediately could be up for question, especially in comparison to more expensive targets like Brighton’s Moises Caicedo or Southampton’s Romeo Lavia.
After all, the Rennes man only started 14 games in Ligue 1 last season. But Chelsea have seen enough in the teenager to deem him worthy of investing a significant amount of money in.
In turn, he has agreed personal terms with them for a long-term contract in west London.
Strasbourg step could be next for Ugochukwu
Fabrizio Romano has claimed that if Chelsea loan him out, his destination would most likely be Strasbourg, who are owned by Todd Boehly’s consortium. That is a decision for another day, though.
In view of his upcoming move, Ugochuwku has been left out of Rennes’ squad for their pre-season friendly against West Ham on Saturday.
He will be departing the club after 60 appearances for their first team, having come through the youth ranks there.
Mainly a defensive midfielder, he only has one goal to his name in his club career so far, although he has scored twice in six caps for France’s under-19s.