Chelsea have a £200m “war chest” and are not afraid to use it this summer, but if Antonio Conte does in fact want six (6!) major signings, £200m might not get it done. Further funds will have to be raised, either by selling a big name or two, or by selling several spare parts, or by liquidating a good portion of the loan army, or, what’s most likely, through a combination of those methods.
For example, at the top of Chelsea’s wishlist for defensive reinforcements is Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, whose current going rate is apparently at least £60m. That’s a fair chunk of change, perhaps even fairly unreasonable — though it’s quite tough to tell these days what’s reasonable and what’s not — but if we could finance half of it by selling a couple players, it would suddenly be a lot less eye-watering.
And so, enter AFC Bournemouth, who have been linked with Asmir Begović and Nathan Aké fairly steadily since the winter transfer windwo. According to the Guardian, their combined bid for the two players would be upwards of £30m, with £10m earmarked for the Chelsea backup goalkeeper (who arrived for £8m) and the rest for the 22-year-old backup center-back who already spent half of this season with the Cherries on loan and has played just sparingly since being recalled in January.
While Begović has already been assured of a summer transfer, Chelsea might be more reluctant to let Aké go, who’s been with the club since age 16 and has proven himself a versatile and useful player already at the Premier League level. He would no doubt like to be a starter somewhere, but he also has a contract with Chelsea through 2020 ... so that’s not an easy decision one way or the other for either party.
That said, if Van Dijk is indeed a top priority and Aké wants to go back to Bournemouth where he had successfully worked his way onto the team sheet as one of the first names, then it’s an upgrade for us and a win for him.