Chelsea have stepped up plans to compete with Manchester United and Liverpool to sign defender Dayot Upamecano, according to a report.
The RB Leipzig man emerged as one of Europe’s most promising centre-backs last season. However, he has continued his upward trajectory and, as such, the interest in his services has risen.
Indeed, the duo are looking to refresh their options at the back in the coming months.
According to the Daily Mail, though, Chelsea are now ready to join the race to sign the Frenchman in next summer’s market.
The Blues are looking for a long-term replacement to Thiago Silva. While the 36-year-old has added much-needed leadership to the back line, Chelsea realise that longevity does not remain another of his key attributes.
Behind the Brazilian, meanwhile, the west London club reportedly have concerns over Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori.
Rudiger and Tomori, in particular, have recently entertained thoughts about leaving Stamford Bridge. Tomori came close to joining West Ham in October while German Rudiger also had offers on the table.
But despite the trio staying, Blues bosses doubt their capability to serve long-term at Chelsea.
As such, Upamecano has become a leading candidate for a new signing. The centre-back is available for £40million next summer, when such a release clause in his new contract – signed last year – becomes active.
Leipzig reluctant to transfer Upamecano now
While Leipzig are aware that they could earn significantly more by selling him in January, they are keen to keep him until the end of the season.
Upamecano has featured in 14 of Leipzig’s 15 Bundesliga games, keeping six clean sheets. What’s more, such performances have helped his employers to remain second in the table behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Last season, meanwhile, he made 28 league appearances after returning from a knee injury.
Leipzig are still in the Champions League, too, and face Liverpool in the last 16 next month.