Premier League • England

Chelsea to trigger unstoppable forward’s £52.8m release clause after secret medical kickstarts huge triple raid

France forward Christopher Nkunku

Chelsea look destined to activate the release clause of RB Leipzig and France ace Christopher Nkunku after a medical has already taken place, though the spending won’t stop there, per reports.

Nkunku, 24, was heavily linked with the Blues over the summer. Chelsea sought to revamp several areas of their squad and the forward line was no exception.

Ultimately, Chelsea signed Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, the Blues’ woes in front of goal have not subsided.

There’s already been talk of Graham Potter discarding Aubameyang in favour of Armando Broja for the Crystal Palace clash this weekend.

What’s more, the likes of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount haven’t fired at club level so far.

Nkunku became a target over the summer on the back on a truly outstanding campaign at Leipzig. The French international bagged an incredible 35 goals and 20 assists in 52 appearances.

Leipzig stood firm and even convinced Nkunku to sign a contract extension on June 23. However, the deal contains a release clause that is catching Chelsea’s eye.

Nkunku underwent secret medical

Nkunku can be signed for the relatively modest fee of €60m (£52.8m). According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea part-owner, Todd Boehly, is set to trigger it ahead of a move next summer.

In fact, reports have emerged claiming Nkunku has already undertaken a Chelsea medical.

The procedure was reportedly carried out in Frankfurt a month ago and was in preparation of a move in 2023.

Bayern Munich specialist, Christian Falk, took to Twitter to confirm talk of a secret medical was true. He reaffirmed it was undertaken to get the ducks in a row ahead of a 2023 summer switch to Stamford Bridge.

Nkunku can operate literally anywhere across the front line. Indeed, he counted striker, second striker, left wing, right wing and attacking midfield among the positions he played last year.

Chelsea want new midfielder and goalkeeper

Nkunku was confirmed as a concrete Chelsea target by the Telegraph on Wednesday. Fabrizio Romano was another to insist fans should keep an eye out for Nkunku to Chelsea news next year.

However, the Telegraph claimed an Nkunku deal is far from the only subject on the agenda.

Aside from the forward line, Chelsea also want new additions in central midfield and at goalkeeper.

Edouard Mendy has reportedly refused at least one contract extension offer.

That ordinarily wouldn’t be cause for concern given his contract doesn’t expire until 2025. However, the 30-year-old’s performances have dipped this season and the club harbour doubts as to his suitability to new boss Graham Potter’s demands.

Potter wants a goalkeeper with good footwork and distribution. Mendy struggles with his feet, and back-up Kepa Arrizabalaga isn’t the answer either.

Chelsea explored selling the Spaniard over the summer but serious offers didn’t emerge.

The final piece of their puzzle revolves around central midfield.

Their efforts to push themselves up the queue to sign Jude Bellingham were detailed on Wednesday. However, Chelsea are fully aware they’re trailing Liverpool and Real Madrid in the race at present.

If Bellingham can’t be signed, West Ham’s Declan Rice will come back into focus.

Rice was on Chelsea’s books between 2006-14 and returning to Stamford Bridge looks the logical next step.

Both Bellingham and Rice are likely to command fees north of £100m if they move. As such, Chelsea’s colossal £254m spend last summer doesn’t look like it’ll be a one-off.