Chelsea have switched their focus from a mooted PSG deal to the signing of a Dutch ace that would break the British transfer record, according to a report.
By coincidence, the strongest area of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side is also the department that is facing great uncertainty. The German’s options at centre-half have all stood up tall since taking the managerial reins in January.
However, that did not stop Chelsea striving to sign a new defender throughout the summer window. Sevilla’s Jules Kounde was the name most frequently linked, but per the Daily Mail, their £43m bid fell short.
Given their strong bargaining position, Sevilla held out and would not budge unless a team triggered the Frenchman’s release clause. That was said to have stood at £68m before rising to £77m in the final fortnight of the window.
Part of the reason Chelsea tried to land Kounde may have stemmed from several of their stars being in the final years of their contract.
But while Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen are expected to re-sign, Antonio Rudiger’s future remains less certain.
As such, speculation has continued to swirl a new centre-half will be targeted. A recent report indicated PSG’s Marquinhos was on the Blues radar after allegedly seeing an £85m offer rejected.
Chelsea's £86 million centre-half rejection
Chelsea backed away from a potential deal with PSG for Marquinhos, as the Blues reportedly ready new contracts for Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, while Thomas Tuchel backs Timo Werner for this season.
The Mail state that Chelsea have now ‘concluded’ a move for the Brazilian is laced with too much difficulty.
Instead, citing Italian outlet Calciomercato, it’s claimed a whopping £103m deal for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is now being ‘targeted’.
The Dutchman, 22, will reportedly be available for £103m next summer. At that time, his pre-negotiated release clause will come into effect.
Juventus are understood to be seeking to tie De Ligt down to fresh terms. However, should Chelsea lodged a requisite offer, Juventus will be powerless to resist.
A £103m move would set the new benchmark for the British transfer record. That figure currently stands at £100m after Man City forked out the nine-figure sum to sign Jack Grealish in August.
Naturally, it would also break Chelsea’s club-record fee, currently held by Romelu Lukaku at £97.5m.
Chelsea receive bittersweet Rudiger update
Meanwhile, Chelsea have received bittersweet news regarding the future of Antonio Rudiger who is attracting major European interest in the final year of his contract.
Rudiger, 28, has been a rock in the three-man backlines of Thomas Tuchel. But in the final year of his contract, concerns have begun to grow this season could be his last at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel relayed his strong desire the club and player will reach an agreement over a new contract. However, he could be left disappointed after a report detailed Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia’s plan to remove all doubt. In order to avoid losing the centre-back for free, a January sale could be on the cards.
Now, Bild journalist Christian Falk has delivered a double-edged update for the Blues.
Falk confirmed Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern have ‘contacted’ Rudiger’s half-brother and agent, Sahr Senesie. Additionally, he confirmed Bayern are ‘interested’ in acquiring the defender. Rudiger is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs in January.
However, in more positive news for Chelsea, Falk stated Rudiger’s ‘tendency’ is to sign a new Blues contract.