Premier League • England

Chelsea news: Tuchel high on Man City defender, as hurdles emerge in De Ligt, Kounde transfers

Man City quartet Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake

Chelsea fans should keep an eye out for a Man City raid Thomas Tuchel is keen on, while barriers to Matthijs De Ligt and Jules Kounde transfers have emerged via a trusted source.

The Blues look primed to splash the cash in both defence and attack this summer. The Telegraph claimed Tuchel will be handed a £200m war chest to kick the Todd Boehly era off in style.

While their pursuit of Raheem Sterling may be generating the most headlines, Chelsea’s need to strengthen at the back is no less important.

Indeed, Antonio Rudiger has left for Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen is expected to join Barcelona. That pair, Rudiger especially, were key cogs in Chelsea’s backline since Tuchel took charge.

Moves for Juventus ace De Ligt and Sevilla star Jules Kounde have been touted. Chelsea’s interest in Kounde dates all the way back to last summer.

De Ligt hols a release clause in his current deal worth £103m. Sky Sports claimed Chelsea are highly unlikely to trigger it, though may test the waters at a lower price.

Now, writing in his column for Caught Offside, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano suggested it’s become a waiting game for both targets.

De Ligt, Kounde, hold-ups explained

Firstly, De Ligt is labelled a ‘priority’ for Tuchel who new owner Boehly will listen to when sanctioning purchases.

However, the 22-year-old Dutchman has a contract running until 2024 and Chelsea are waiting to see if he’ll pen fresh terms before making their move. The Telegraph recently claimed De Ligt is unlikely to commit his future in Turin.

Juventus player Matthijs De Ligt (right) with girlfriend AnneKee Molenaar (left) are guests of the presentation of "All or Nothing: Juventus”. Juventus Football Club

Regarding Kounde, Romano added Chelsea are yet to make fresh contact with Sevilla since Marina Granovskaia’s departure was confirmed five days ago.

Granovskaia will remain in situ to help guide Chelsea through her last transfer window, though her influence has diminished with Boehly personally taking the lead on new transfers.

Regarding the fee Kounde will cost, Romano claimed Sevilla want €65m (£56m).

The Mirror put Barcelona in the frame, though reported they’re only willing to summon up a package worth £51.5m at present. The ball, therefore, is in Chelsea’s court.

Tuchel high on Man City raid

Aside from De Ligt and Kounde, Romano also insisted Chelsea fans should keep an eye out for a Nathan Ake raid.

The former Blues centre-half has been on Man City’s books since arriving from Bournemouth for £41m in 2020. Chelsea reportedly had the option to bring him back on board for £40m, though snubbed the chance at the time.

Ake is now deemed ‘highly rated’ by Tuchel. As a left-footer, he’d solve the issue of how to replace Rudiger.

Ake still has three years left on his City deal. However, he has never been more than a squad player under Pep Guardiola. The promise of more regular game-time could appeal.

At 27, Ake is in the prime of his career. Furthermore, he obviously knows Chelsea well from his past time in west London.

Ake might not be the calibre of player De Ligt is on paper. However, he would represent a cheaper and Premier League-proven alternative.