Graham Potter has been reassured that a deal for a long-term target is already in the bag for Chelsea amid fears the transfer could be hijacked by another side, TEAMtalk has been told.
The 47-year-old took up the reigns at Stamford Bridge in September and was launched straight into a busy schedule. Indeed, since his appointment, the Blues have played 14 games in a 60-day period. But after making a bright start, Chelsea have suffered a downturn of late with the Blues losing four of their last five matches.
That includes a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle last time out that leaves Chelsea eight points adrift of fourth place. As a result, the heat has been turned up on Potter amid claims he may be facing the sack. To that end, Todd Boehly already has made a firm decision on the future of the Chelsea coach.
Now with the season reaching a break for the World Cup, Potter now has the time to sit down and assess his squad. That will include decisions on incomings and outgoings ahead of the January window.
One deal the Blues have already done the groundwork on is Christopher Nkunku. The RB Leipzig midfielder has already undergone a medical with Chelsea, having agreed terms on a 2023 move.
The Blues were hoping to keep the agreement under wraps, though that ship has long since sailed. As a result, a number of other suitors have been alerted to Nkunku’s availability.
And reports of late are indicating that the likes of Liverpool or Real Madrid could nip in and beat the Blues to his signature.
However, TEAMtalk transfer expert Graeme Bailey has revealed Nkunku’s agreement with Chelsea is absolute. And he believes the transfer could even go through as soon as January.
Chelsea deal for Christopher Nkunku done; Rafael Leao next up
“Chelsea are working hard on number of deals for 2023, and improving their attack is very high on the agenda,” Bailey told TEAMtalk.
“Christopher Nkunku’s move is not far away from being done and the belief within the club is that they will soon have that finalised. The only question mark is whether they can get the deal done in January. Chelsea would like that, but as it stands Leipzig look unlikely to sanction that.”
Strengthening their attacking options are very much high on Potter’s agenda and a second deal for Rafael Leao is also in the works.
That will likely cost Chelsea a new club-record fee of over £100m, with Potter a confirmed admirer of the AC Milan star.
“Rafael Leao is another who Chelsea are pushing hard for,” Bailey added. “AC Milan are desperate for Leao to sign a new long-term deal and are willing to make him the highest paid player in Serie A.
“But as it stands, he has not signed and they thought that would be done before the World Cup finals. We need to keep an eye on the Leao situation.”
Leao’s contract with Milan is due to expire in summer 2024. As such, Milan know with 18 months left, the maximum they can claim on his sale will be in January.
To that end, they have reportedly struck a £130m fee on his head. However, Chelsea feel a deal could be done for nearer the £105m (€120m) mark.
Fabrizio Romano offers thoughts on Chelsea transfer business
The Chelsea move for Nkunku has also drawn comment from transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
He acknowledges our story that the Leipzig star could yet move in January. However, Romano insists no decision has yet been reached.
“Honestly, it’s not yet clear when we could get an official announcement on the Nkunku to Chelsea deal,” Romano told Caught Offside.
“It’s up to the clubs and at the moment it’s not signed yet so we will see; the deal is ready but not signed yet and this is an important stage.
“Chelsea and RB Leipzig will discuss about timing of the transfer too. But initially, it has always been planned for next summer.”
The Blues will certainly hope the deal gets done sooner rather than later. Potter’s attacking options have looked depleted in recent weeks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggling to have the expected impact.
And they will also hope that their latest arrival from the Bundesliga has more success than recent additions Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
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