The Hard Tackle takes a look at the latest Chelsea transfer news doing the rounds, as we approach the summer transfer window.
Following their triumph in the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea have begun their preparations for the new campaign. The Premier League giants went on a spending spree last summer and we can expect a similar scenario this time around, with Roman Abramovich desperate to enable the club to emerge as the main rivals for Manchester City.
The Russian oligarch has put his faith in Thomas Tuchel, whose extraordinary leadership helped Chelsea not only win the Champions League but also secure a top four finish. So naturally, the German tactician will be given the license to splash the bucks in the upcoming summer transfer window, in an attempt to further strengthen his troops.
With that in mind, the Hard Tackle brings you a complete roundup of some of the latest transfer news surrounding Chelsea, as they continue their search for reinforcements on the right flank while many players are closing in on a departure from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea in contact with Achraf Hakimi
One of Thomas Tuchel’s main priorities this summer appears to be the right wing-back slot. The former Borussia Dortmund coach may have an excellent existing option in Reece James, but he is far from happy with the strength in depth he has, especially with Callum Hudson-Odoi being linked with a potential switch to the Bundesliga.
As a result, Tuchel is exploring the market for a new right wing-back, with Achraf Hakimi reportedly topping the list. As per Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea have begun talks with Inter Milan over a potential switch for their prized wing-back, although the newly crowned Italian champions are persistent on their €80 million valuation.
Chelsea need to move swiftly as well, with Paris Saint-Germain also interested in the services of the former Borussia Dortmund starlet. The Blues may still have an upper hand in the pursuit, though, as Inter Milan’s new coach Simone Inzaghi is reportedly interested in Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen, with Chelsea also open to trading players in exchange for Hakimi.
AC Milan prepare £3 million bid for Olivier Giroud
Along with the right flank, one of Chelsea’s other glaring weaknesses lies in the goalscoring department. Last summer’s marquee signing Timo Werner simply has not lived up to the billing, causing the Blues to set their sights on Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland this summer. It also forced the west London club to renew Olivier Giroud’s contract for another year.
AC Milan, however, are prepared to prise Giroud away from Stamford Bridge nonetheless by weighing up an offer worth around £3 million, reports The Telegraph. With Mario Mandzukic set to leave the club next month, it appears the Rossoneri are intent on replacing him with another experienced forward – this time in the shape of Giroud.
The Frenchman did not exactly play a crucial role for Chelsea this past season, but his experience, coupled with his goalscoring pedigree make him a useful option to have, especially with Tammy Abraham being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Maurizio Sarri eyeing Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kepa Arrizabalaga reunions at Lazio
In addition to Giroud, several other first-team stars are now being linked with a Chelsea exit in the summer. According to Alfredo Pedulla, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kepa Arrizabalaga have become the latest ones to emerge in that list, with the duo being courted by former manager Maurizio Sarri, who was recently appointed at Lazio.
It appears the Italian tactician is determined to find a long-term replacement for Pepe Reina, which is why he is targeting a move for Kepa. The Spaniard is not really favoured in the Chelsea camp, due to his poor performances over the past few years. The former Athletic Bilbao custodian has also fallen behind Edouard Mendy in the pecking order, so a summer sale will hardly be surprising.
Loftus-Cheek, though, had a decent campaign at Fulham on loan this past season, though he was not able to save the Cotaggers from being relegated. It appears logical that Tuchel would want to get a glimpse of the midfielder’s abilities before deciding his fate.
Given the current financial climate, the presence of someone like Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be useful, especially if the club fails in its pursuit of Jonas Hofmann in the summer.
Valentino Livramento on Aston Villa radar
If first-team stars were not enough, Chelsea may also face a battle to keep hold of one of their most exciting academy players in Valentino Livramento. The youngster, who was linked with a move to AC Milan earlier in the summer, is wanted by Aston Villa, as reported by The Guardian.
A wide midfielder by trade, Livramento enjoyed a stellar campaign in the Elite Development League this past season, even being voted as the club’s Academy Player of the Year. However, his route to the first-team could be blocked by the potential arrival of Hakimi or any other right-sided attacker, thus putting Aston Villa on red alert.
Dean Smith’s men have already shown a lot of ambition to sign certain young players from top clubs this summer, including Axel Tuanzebe of Manchester United. They are also one of the candidates to sign Tammy Abraham, although Chelsea’s reported €40 million is likely to knock them out of the race.
However, the departure of Livramento might be a massive blow for Chelsea. The west London club has lost a number of talented players from the academy over the years and simply cannot afford to lose another.
Fortunately for the player, Tuchel is a coach who is always keen on giving youngsters the opportunity to perform at the highest level, so it won’t be surprising to him having a future at Stamford Bridge, especially if Hudson-Odoi leaves the club in the summer.