Chelsea have taken “pole position” in the race to sign one of Europe’s most promising defenders, according to reports in Germany.
The player in question is Nnamdi Collins, a 16-year-old centre-back who is progressing through the youth ranks at Borussia Dortmund.
Collins has been tracked by Chelsea over the past three years as they look to add strong foreign talent to their academy ranks, but recent reports suggested Manchester City could rival them for his signature.
It is understood by Bild, however, that Chelsea are still leading the race for Collins, who, with his 1.89-metre frame and ability to run 30 metres in 3.8 seconds – nearly as quick as Arsenal star and former Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – stands out for his athletic prowess.
Dortmund are working hard to convince Collins to sign a new contract, with his present deal running out in 2021, and are prepared to promise a promotion straight to the Under-19 ranks, as well as some opportunities to train with the first team, in an effort to convince him.
However, Chelsea have now prepared their own offer, and could pay Dortmund €2m to take the Germany Under-16 captain to London – where they believe he can become a future leader at the back.
Meanwhile, the Blues have also been linked with a more familiar name – that of Philippe Coutinho.
The former Liverpool attacking midfielder is set to leave Barcelona once his loan spell at Bayern Munich concludes, and he would be willing to return to the Premier League with Chelsea, according to reports in Catalonia.