Chelsea are monitoring developments around Frenkie de Jong and could target the Barcelona midfielder if his move to Manchester United fails.
United have agreed a fee of €65m (£56.2m) plus add-ons for De Jong and negotiations are now centered on the player’s personal terms. It is understood the Netherlands international is open to a move to Old Trafford despite previously saying he was in no rush to leave Barcelona, who need to raise money for the signings through sales.
However, De Jong is keen to play in the Champions League which is currently not on offer at United. Chelsea, who remain in talks with Manchester City over Raheem Sterling and are waiting to see if Leeds United’s Raphinha will snub them for Barcelona, are monitoring the situation and could move in if the deal fails.
Chelsea watched De Jong closely before he left Ajax for Barcelona in 2019 and Thomas Tuchel, the head coach, admires the 25-year-old. It remains to be seen whether Chelsea plan to follow through on their interest, although a deal for De Jong could prove simpler than trying to buy Declan Rice from West Ham.
Chelsea’s main priority is to strengthen defense and attack, but there is also uncertainty over their central midfield options. Tuchel chose widely from Jorginho, N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saúl Ñíguez last season. Saúl is back at Atlético Madrid after his unsuccessful loan spell, and Jorginho and Kanté are out of contract next summer.
With Tuchel intent on using Conor Gallagher after the England international’s impressive loan spell at Crystal Palace, another midfield addition could see Chelsea try to cash in on Jorginho or Kanté. Jorginho could return to Serie A, with Juventus a possible destination for the Italian midfielder. United have expressed interest in Kanté and were waiting on Friday for left-back Tyrell Malacia to sign his contract to join Feyenoord after agreeing personal terms.
Chelsea are in talks with Juve over a big deal for Dutch centre-back Matthijs de Ligt. There is no agreed fee for De Ligt, who is unlikely to extend his contract, but Chelsea are ready to include Timo Werner or Christian Pulisic in any deal.
Tuchel must strengthen in defense after the departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen. Chelsea are making progress in talks with City over the signing of Nathan Aké, who could cost around £45million, and are back in talks with Sevilla over Jules Koundé.
Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly is leading negotiations over potential signings and is determined to back Tuchel. Chelsea plan to bolster their attack by signing Sterling, who could cost £50m, and have agreed a fee of £55m plus add-ons with Leeds for Raphinha.
However, there is no agreement yet for Sterling with City and there are fears Raphinha could wait until Barcelona reach Leeds’ asking price. Barcelona’s financial problems have prevented them from making a bid for the Brazilian but now they might have the funds to bid.
Chelsea have offered Raphinha a five-year deal worth £115,000 a week. If they miss out on the 25-year-old, they could focus on Ousmane Dembélé, who is out of contract at Barcelona.