Chelsea want to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano and could use their solid relationship with the Bundesliga side to beat Arsenal to his signature, according to reports.
Upamecano, 21, is one of Europe’s most highly-rated young defenders and has made 27 league appearances this term.
Reports in the past few months have linked Arsenal with the France Under-21 international, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta keen to revamp his defence.
However, The Athletic claims Chelsea believe their plan will persuade Leipzig into doing further business with the club.
The Blues agreed a deal to sign Timo Werner from Leipzig earlier this month, triggering the striker’s release clause.
Chelsea hope the move can act as a springboard to see the club beat Arsenal to Upamecano.
The central defender has one year left on his contract with Leipzig, which also features a £50million exit clause.
And due to his contractual situation, Red Bull’s head of football has insisted that a decision will be reached soon.
Oliver Mintzlaff told Bild earlier this month: “‘Upa’ is an extremely important player for us and one of the most sought-after talents in Europe.
“And we can assure that we have a clear understanding with him and his agent he won’t leave us on a free. We can’t afford that as a club.
“There are only two options: prolong or leave. I am sure we’ll soon find out in which direction it’s going.”
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard reportedly recognises that Antonio Rudiger is the only definite starter in his defence.
However, the report adds that Andreas Christien, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori are battling to be his partner.
As such, Lampard wants Upamecano in to provide serious competition and find a solid defensive pairing.
RUDIGER REVEALS WERNER, CHELSEA CHATS
Rudiger has revealed his telling influence in getting fellow German and good friend Werner to sign for Chelsea.
The defender said: “I did speak to him before because we have known each other for a long time.
“We spoke a lot during the lockdown and he told me he was interested in coming to England.
“Of course then I did my bit, what I had to do.”