Chelsea look set to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City this summer as they seek to fix their attacking issues. The Blues have had a £21million opening offer rejected and will need to pay double that to land the England international. Sky Sports say a deal could be agreed at £45m. Certainly it appears increasingly likely Sterling, one of Thomas Tuchel’s top targets, will join the Blues to replace Inter Milan-bound Romelu Lukaku. Express Sport looks at four more signings Chelsea could make once they sign Sterling.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is a long-term target for Chelsea and was their No 1 choice at centre-back last summer. The need for a new central defender this year is even more urgent with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen having left and Cesar Azpilicueta potentially following the pair out of the exit door.
A report from 90min states that Kounde’s representatives are growing frustrated with Chelsea’s insistence to haggle the fee down to £50m, with Sevilla insisting they want the Frenchman’s £69m release clause met. The 23-year-old is also a target for Barcelona but Chelsea should ramp up negotiations to get a deal done and they’ve already all but agreed personal terms.
Kounde would be a brilliant addition to the Chelsea back-line if they can broker an agreement with Sevilla. However, that the two clubs couldn’t agree a fee last summer, and are still stuck in talks this year, will be a concern.
Though Chelsea want to bring in Sterling, football.london say they will not abandon their interest in free agent Ousmane Dembele and want to sign him as well. The winger will quit Barcelona after an injury-hit five-year spell in Catalonia.
The French winger worked with Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund before moving to the Nou Camp and has shown throughout his career he has an abundance of raw talent. On a free, the 25-year-old is worth a gamble despite his chequered injury record given that Tuchel knows the player already.
Dembele wants regular minutes at his next club and Chelsea will be able to offer that with the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all up for sale. His wages may not be cheap, but that would be offset by not needing to pay a transfer fee.
Chelsea asked about taking Alessandro Bastoni or Milan Skriniar in return in the swap deal that will take Lukaku back to Inter Milan. And Pau Torres, Inter-bound Gleison Bremer, Jose Gimenez, Nathan Ake and Wesley Fofana are other defenders said to be admired by the Blues.
Yet Josko Gvardiol is the dream option as the new left-sided centre-half to replace Rudiger. However while Tuchel is expected to have a £200m summer budget, Gvardiol would take up a huge chunk of it. RB Leipzig may demand as much as £80m for the Croatian, per The Athletic, which would equal the record for the most money ever spent on a defender.
Tottenham also like the 20-year-old, who has already amassed over 100 career appearances with Dinamo Zagreb and Leipzig, as well as 10 caps for Croatia. He’s only spent one season in Germany though and seems to fancy more time in the Bundesliga to aid his development. He said recently: “I don’t think about anything else. And if you ask me if I’ll play here next year: Yes, of course.” Chelsea have work to do if they’re to land the left footer.
Chelsea may also recruit in midfield with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho both out of contract in 2023 and the likes of Ross Barkley and Tiemoue Bakayoko only spare parts. West Ham’s talisman Declan Rice is the No 1 pick in the middle of the park.
The England international, 23, will likely set any club back in excess of £100m. But he’s made it clear he wants a step-up having rejected multiple contract offers from the Hammers including a club-record £200,000-a-week package. His current deal is up in 2024 and so the fee West Ham can demand will only drop with each window.
With Todd Boehly ready to back Tuchel, Rice could be the statement of intent that proves Chelsea’s new owner is serious about rivalling Manchester City and Liverpool for the league title. But any deal would take a lot of negotiating given West Ham would hate to lose the powerful box-to-box midfielder, especially to a London rival.