Chelsea have signed Saúl Níguez on loan from Atlético Madrid to address our midfield depth for this season, but a more long-term solution will be needed next summer.
Of course, we could sign Saúl himself for another £30m or so by taking up his buy-option, but we are seemingly keeping our options open, as the recent links to Declan Rice, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Jude Bellingham would attest — not to mention keeping our own highly promising loanees like Billy Gilmour or Conor Gallagher in mind.
One more midfielder whom we’re keeping an eye on is Franck Kessié of AC Milan, as per Gazzetta dello Sport (via The Chelsea Chronicle), whose contract expires in 2022. Kessié, who was heavily linked with Chelsea four years ago when he was still at Atalanta, has apparently not yet accepted Milan’s 5-year extension offer with a €6.5m annual salary. This has alerted a number of clubs, notably Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and PSG, with the latter offering him wages of at least €8m per year.
Milan are now apparently resigned to losing Kessié, either at a discount in January, or on a free transfer next summer. Any interested foreign club will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the Ivory Coast international in January.
Kessié may not be a primary target at the moment, but we would probably face less competition for his signature than for the previously mentioned trio. Manchester United are apparently now the frontrunners for Declan Rice, Juventus are leading the race for Tchouaméni, and, moreover, Borussia Dortmund have no intention to sell Jude Bellingham after tying down the talented youngster to a long-term contract through 2025.
FC Liverpool chasing Jude Bellingham. Reports from UK are correct, as Klopp is monitoring the midfielder for a potential transfer next summer. But #BVB position is quite clear: The Bundesliga side don’t want to sell Jude . Contract until 2025 - no release clause. ⚫️ @SPORT1— Patrick Berger (@berger_pj) September 8, 2021