Barcelona pose threat to Chelsea’s de Ligt deal as agent sets price for Juventus target
Chelsea's 2022-23 Premier League fixtures
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Chelsea’s hopes of signing Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt could rest on the future of Napoli captain Kalidou Koulibaly. Thomas Tuchel is eyeing De Ligt as his statement defensive signing of the summer transfer window as Chelsea look to respond to Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen’s exits.
Tuchel is understood to want two new centre-backs ahead of the 2022/23 season, with the 22-year-old Netherlands international at the top of his list. However, other movements across Europe could prevent the Blues from sealing a deal and lead to frustration at Stamford Bridge.
According to Italian journalist Giacomo Iacobellis, Juventus will only consider selling De Ligt this summer if they can sign Koulibaly as his replacement. However, they are joined in their interest by Barcelona because he appears as a much more affordable target than Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.
If Barcelona snatch Koulibaly from Juventus, the Serie A giants will be more reluctant to lose De Ligt and could deny his sale altogether. And depending on the timing, it could leave Chelsea scampering for alternative targets amid new owner Toddy Boehly’s commitment to back Tuchel.
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Boehly is ready to provide the German head coach with as many as six new signings in his first transfer window since buying Chelsea from Roman Abramovich. But the Blues join Manchester United as the only ‘Big Six’ Premier League clubs yet to make a single addition with a month of the window gone.
If Barcelona secure Koulibaly, thwarting Chelsea’s De Ligt hopes in the process, the La Liga giants would cause even more frustration in west London. Tuchel was seemingly closing in on his first signing of the summer in the form of Leeds United winger Raphinha. However, despite agreeing a deal worth around £55m with Leeds, Chelsea could miss out due to the player’s desire to switch to Camp Nou.
Tensions are escalating among the fanbase, with recruitment needed to improve on a disappointing 21/22 campaign. As Chelsea have taken a reserved approach to their business, Tottenham could complete their sixth and seventh signings next week, while Liverpool and Manchester City have made marquee striker additions.
With clubs starting to return for pre-season training, there is a widespread eagerness to get deals over the line so new signings can join the squad well in advance of the new season. Chelsea putting all their chips on the table for De Ligt could either spark a mighty start of their summer business, but their pursuit comes with a serious risk.
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