Chelsea have made their move to sign Mike Maignan from AC Milan to be their new first-choice goalkeeper, according to reports in Italy – but the backup plan is taking shape too.
Neither Edouard Mendy nor Kepa Arrizabalaga have convinced in goal for Chelsea this season. Therefore, Mauricio Pochettino will want to know who he can rely on as his first-choice option between the sticks next season. It is likely he will have to bring in somebody new.
In that regard, Maignan has become a possible target at Stamford Bridge. According to La Repubblica, Chelsea have offered Milan a fee of €60m (£52m) for the Frenchman.
It is not yet clear whether their offer will be accepted or rejected by Milan, who signed Maignan from Lille back in 2021.
He was immediately named the best goalkeeper in Serie A after winning the Scudetto at the first time of asking with the Rossoneri. This season, his side finished fourth, securing Champions League qualification again.
Of course, Chelsea cannot offer European involvement of any kind next season after their lowly 12th-place ranking in the Premier League.
But they might be ready to try their luck for Maignan regardless after the 27-year-old kept 10 clean sheets from 29 appearances this season. A calf injury kept him out between October and February, otherwise he would have played more.
Milan still have Maignan under contract until 2026, which is why he still has a high market value. But they are ready to accelerate plans to extend his contract in response to Chelsea’s interest.
Chelsea have another alternative based at San Siro
If Chelsea cannot succeed with their pursuit of Maignan, they might not have to turn their focus too far away. Indeed, their plan B would be to target Andre Onana from Inter.
Per the report, Chelsea now think they could do business with Inter for Onana via a part-exchange deal, whereby they would send Kalidou Koulibaly on loan to the Nerazzurri.
Previous claims have suggested Chelsea could actually offer up Mendy himself for Onana. But the latest suggests that Inter want to target Empoli’s Guglielmo Vicario as a replacement in net instead.
Therefore, Koulibaly could now be the counterpart in a Chelsea package for Onana.
Koulibaly has failed to live up to the reputation he solidified with Napoli since joining Chelsea last summer. Thus, a return to Serie A might be on his mind.
Going back to Napoli might be his preference, especially with the man who replaced him there, Kim Min-jae, appearing to be on the verge of a move to Man Utd. But if they don’t reciprocate that interest, he will have to keep his options open.
Chelsea need to trim their squad size and could sacrifice Koulibaly after just one year. The fact they would be willing to loan him out perhaps indicates his market value has fallen since they signed him.
But it would still be a way they could get his wages off the books. If it helps them sign Onana as an upgrade in goal in the process, then it is something worth considering.
For now, Maignan might be the priority for Chelsea, though.