The start of the new Premier League season is now just a month away, meaning clubs up and down the league are busy putting plans in place ahead of the big kick-off.
For Chelsea, who face Championship outfit Peterborough United in a behind-closed-doors friendly at their Cobham training ground tomorrow, their Premier League campaign gets under way with an all-London clash against Crystal Palace.
That means that central-defender Marc Guehi could make his competitive debut for his new club against his former employers, no doubt meaning he will have a point to prove.
As first reported by The Athletic, football.london understands that the Blues have accepted a significant offer from Palace to allow Guehi to seal a surprise transfer across London. The 21-year-old centre-back, who was nothing short of outstanding whilst on loan at Swansea City last season, is understood to have undergone a medical yesterday, meaning the deal should be announced in the very near future.
Should the deal get done without any late snags or hitches, Guehi would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Fikayo Tomori and Victor Moses in sealing permanent exits from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Tomori joined AC Milan and Moses sealed a move to Spartak Moscow, both after impressing on loan for the Italian and Russian clubs, respectively, last term.
Guehi’s impending departure could be the first of a series of deals the Blues hope to complete before the season starts, although getting new arrivals over the line is expected to be a far greater challenge than successfully offloading those who are set to depart.
Whilst Guehi is very close to sealing an exit from Stamford Bridge, the same, too, can be said for Frenchman Olivier Giroud. He is on the cusp of finalising a move to Italian giants AC Milan and is set to undergo a medical today after arriving in Italy yesterday evening. He will join Milan on a permanent basis.
Another player who could soon be heading for a departure from Stamford Bridge is talented young midfielder Conor Gallagher. The former Charlton Athletic and Swansea City loanee made a big impression during his first season in the Premier League last term whilst on loan at West Bromwich Albion and could be sent out on loan again.
Despite training with the first-team squad this week at Cobham, it has been reported by The Telegraph that the club is poised to allow him to leave on loan once again. It is claimed that Newcastle United are amongst those to have expressed an interest in the highly-rated 21-year-old.
Whilst several other departures are expected in addition to the likes of Guehi, Gallagher and Giroud, the club do have grand ambitions to use the training ground’s entrance to welcome new signings this summer, opposed to just using the exit to wave goodbye to those leaving the club.
It is understood that head coach Thomas Tuchel, who will take his squad to Dublin next week for a pre-season training camp, is on the hunt for a right-sided defender, centre-back, central-midfielder and a striker.
The German’s search for a new right wing-back initially drove him to Moroccan international Achraf Hakimi, but he has since joined Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan. Instead, Tuchel is believed to be keeping a close eye on Wolverhampton Wanderers ace Adama Traore, with links connecting him with a move to Stamford Bridge going back several weeks.
The centre-back berth, which is almost certain to be in need of bolstering following the departure of Tomori and impending exit of Guehi, has seen a number of names linked with Stamford Bridge, including Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, although he looks set to join Manchester United if talks progress well.
In the centre of midfield, it is no secret that the Blues are big admirers of West Ham United and England ace Declan Rice, with Tuchel having rekindled the club’s interest in his services this summer. However, with the Hammers’ value of Rice expected to have soared dramatically following his outstanding performances at Euro 2020, Chelsea may not be able to launch a move for him, with the east London outfit expected to demand well over £100million, meaning that could blow their hopes of landing their dream target, who, of course, happens to be Erling Haaland.
The Borussia Dortmund sensation is Tuchel’s number one target this summer, but Chelsea could face an almighty challenge to make a deal possible, with the German club prepared to cling onto the striker until they receive the highest, most unimaginable offer possible. It is certainly possible that they could demand over £150million.
With four signings being targeted by Tuchel, the club are going to have to cut their cloth a lot further than just letting go of Guehi, Gallagher and Giroud, especially when deals to sign Rice and Haaland could exceed over £250million.
Whether the Blues do manage to strengthen all four positions in question, whether it be with their preferred targets or alternatives, remains to be seen. But one thing that can be guaranteed is that finances will dictate Chelsea’s thinking and recruitment.
Nevertheless, director Marina Granovskaia will be hoping to complete a minimum of six more deals once Guehi’s departure is confirmed.
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