Chelsea resume talks to sign Man Utd centre-back target as Rudiger replacement

Date published: Thursday 18th November 2021 9:01 - Rob McCarthy

Ndidi, Fofana, Evans, Iheanacho, Leicester, 2021

Chelsea have reportedly resumed talks with Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana in the race to beat Manchester United to his signature next summer.

The Champions League winners have four centre-backs out of contract at the end of this season, meaning that Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and club skipper Cesar Azpilicueta can all leave for nothing in 2022.

And according to Footmercato, the Blues want Fofana as a potential replacement – with Rudiger the most likely to move on next summer.

London rivals Tottenham are said to be closing in on a deal for the Germany star. That would come as a huge blow to Thomas Tuchel, with Rudiger arguably emerging as the best defender since he took over from Frank Lampard in the role.

A host of clubs outside of England can move for any of the quartet from January. However, it’s likely that at least two of Christensen, Azpilicueta and Thiago will remain at the club.

As for Fofana, the Foxes star is also attracting significant interest from United and Real Madrid.

The 20-year-old is currently on the sidelines after suffering a leg fracture in pre-season. He is not expected to be in action until the New Year.

A lot will not depend on how he recovers from the injury. However, he was outstanding before the injury, which led to all the rumours of an exit.

The report on Footmercato adds that if Leicester do decide to sell they will look to recoup a fee similar to the one that saw Harry Maguire move to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils had to pay £80million to land the England star. To that end, the Foxes feel that Fofana, at the age, is worth just as much.

They actually paid £36.5m to land the centre-back from Saint-Etienne in October 2020.

Defender and starlet out, impressive Serie A duo in – how Liverpool could fare in January

Chelsea targets warned off move

Meanwhile, Dinamo Moscow boss Sandro Schwarz wants Arsen Zakharyan and Konstantin Tyukavin to ignore the reported interest from the Premier League’s big guns.

Zakharyan, 18, is regarded as one of Russia’s most exciting prospects. Scouts from all over Europe have been flocking to see the attacking midfielder. More than a dozen Bundesliga clubs have watched him – including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Atalanta, Roma and Inter Milan have also made checks.

TEAMtalk revealed recently though, sources within Russia believe the Premier League interest could be the most significant with both Manchester City and Chelsea looking at him closely.

Arsen Zakharyan during Zenit Saint Petersburg vs Dynamo Moscow, October 2021

Zakharyan’s Dinamo team-mate Tyukavin is also interesting the two English clubs. The 19-year-old forward has, like Zakharyan, come through the Dimano system.

Liverpool have also been credited with a interest in the former, who made his debut for Dinamo in 2020. Just a year later he was playing for the Russian senior team.

Zakharyan has scored twice and grabbed six assists in 13 league games this season. He has now been capped four times by Russia.

Coach wants duo to stay put

He is though under contract until 2024 and Schwarz is hoping Zakharyan and Tyukavin stay put.

“It would be stupid of me as their coach to talk them down. I think they can have a great career,” he told Sport BILD, (via Sport Witness) when asked about City and Chelsea’s interest.

“The crucial thing is that they find the right time to take the next step in their development.

“First of all, I want them to play for Dinamo for a while. We don’t want to just develop players and fall by the wayside ourselves.”

READ MORE: Prime suitors Chelsea on alert as Raiola seeks to drive down exit clause of top target

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