Aurelien Tchouameni has made up his mind that he will be leaving Monaco this summer, which may put Chelsea at an advantage over Real Madrid, reports suggest.
Tchouameni has become one of the most in-demand young players ahead of the upcoming transfer window. His form for Monaco over the past couple of seasons has put him in the shop window.
Now a fully-fledged France international, the 22-year-old could be ready for the next challenge in his club career. He has been regularly linked with clubs outside Ligue 1, including most of the Premier League’s so-called big six.
With a takeover of the club looming, Chelsea are back at the forefront of the race to sign Tchouameni. In fact, AS are now claiming that the Blues are “doing the most” in the battle for the midfielder’s services.
The Spanish outlet says so in the wake of interest from La Liga champions Real Madrid. However, Los Blancos would rather make Tchouameni wait a year.
Given his contract is due to expire in 2024, that may help reduce the asking price. Madrid are not keen on meeting the valuation of between €70million (£59.9m) and €80m (£68.4m).
Ideally, they would rather pay somewhere closer to €50m (£42.8m) for the former Bordeaux man.
However, despite being Tchouameni’s number one choice, he may not want to wait a year for Real. Indeed, it is claimed that he has “absolutely” decided to leave Monaco this summer.
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Should Chelsea complete their takeover in time to make transfers – as is now looking likely – they will be back in the hunt for Tchouameni.
They are up against Thomas Tuchel’s former club Paris Saint-Germain for his signature. However, Tchouameni would rather leave France behind for a new experience in the Premier League or La Liga.
Down the former route, it is not just Chelsea who are competing for his services. The report reminds that Liverpool are among the main competitors too.
Tchouameni has recently been named as a priority target for Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing side next season. Therefore, he could end up with a decision to make between two Premier League heavyweights.
Alternatively, he could get his dream move to Madrid, but only if he can convince Monaco to lower their demands for him. Alternatively, the Spaniards would have to make sales to clear some space for him.
Where would Tchouameni best fit?
As a talented all-round midfielder, there are various roles that Tchouameni could function in. His natural position is at the base of the centre of the pitch.
There, Chelsea have the likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante. Both are out of contract in 2023, though, leaving Mateo Kovacic as one of their only certainties in the centre. What’s more, a space in the squad is likely to open up when Saul Niguez’s underwhelming loan spell ends.
As for Liverpool, Fabinho generally sits in front of the defence, while Jordan Henderson, James Milner or Thiago Alcantara could too. But having added depth in other departments, it could be a place to make one more signing to remain competitive.
Over in Madrid, there has still been a reliance on Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro into their 30s – and understandably so. But they need to plan for the future, as seen with last year’s purchase of Eduardo Camavinga.
Joining Real remains a dream for many players. But if they cannot afford Tchouameni right now, perhaps he could find a home in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s need may be the greatest, and their interest has been long-lasting. Therefore, he could help move the middle of their team into a new era.