Chelsea aiming to repeat Leicester transfer trick despite Rodgers denial

Date published: Sunday 24th October 2021 7:30 - Samuel Bannister

James Justin Leicester

There are now three Premier League clubs battling for the signature of Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, according to a report in Italy – where he is also in demand.

Tielemans has been a standout player for Leicester since joining them from Monaco in 2019. The Belgium international has proven himself in the Premier League, helping Leicester consolidate their position as challengers for the European places.

But after they slipped out of the top four in the late stages of each of the two previous campaigns, Tielemans could be eyeing the next step to return to Champions League level.

With a contract expiring in 2023, a transfer could be likely for him next year. There will be plenty of interest in his services, especially from within the Premier League.

Liverpool and Manchester United have both long been known as admirers. The former failed to replace Georginio Wijnaldum in the summer, but could be ready to rectify that.

United, meanwhile, have outlined the central midfield role as a priority one to strengthen. There is a feeling that they can upgrade upon Fred and Scott McTominay and that Tielemans would fit the bill.

But there is a third English contender for his signature, according to Calciomercato. It is also believed that Chelsea are in the running for Tielemans’ signature.

Midfield has also been an area that the Blues have been looking to address in recent months. They signed Saul Niguez on loan in the summer, but it already seems unlikely they will buy him permanently from Atletico Madrid.

Indeed, the focus has already been turning to who they could sign instead of him. The likes of Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni and West Ham’s Declan Rice continue to be linked.

But according to Calciomercato, Chelsea are one of the seven suitors in the running for Tielemans.

In addition to Saul, Chelsea currently have ex-Leicester man N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic at their disposal. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has also worked his way back into first-team contention recently, while Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher will be eyeing roles when their loan spells elsewhere end.

There is also the more attack-minded Mason Mount, who scored a hat-trick in their 7-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday.

But there is always the need to evolve a key area of the team. Furthermore, Kante and Jorginho are out of contract in 2023 and the latter will have joined the former in his thirties at that point.

Therefore, the signing of someone like Tielemans, 24, could help them regenerate an already successful department.

Tielemans attracts European admirers

The report from Calciomercato focused on interest from Italian side Juventus. They too are aiming to improve in midfield as a matter of urgency.

Talk of a return for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is never too far away. Truth be told, they have struggled to replace him ever since that 2016 transfer.

Their acquisition of Euro 2020 winner Manuel Locatelli in the summer was a step in the right direction. But with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Weston McKennie both facing uncertain futures – leading to links with Premier League transfers – they feel they need another.

Tielemans is high on their list of targets, therefore, but they are not the only side from the continent looking to sign him.

Calciomercato confirm that Spanish capital rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are also keen on Tielemans. In addition, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich would be interested.

Therefore, Leicester face a battle to keep hold of one of their prize assets. However, Brendan Rodgers has denied reports that Tielemans has turned down a new contract.

“There’s reports, but there’s (been) no turning down,” said Rodgers. “I think there’s just dialogue between the club and Youri’s people. I think the club are waiting to hear back.

“But that’s something that’s out of my control. What I can control is his mentality, his commitment to the team, and you cannot question that.”

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