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Silly Season Never Sleeps: Chelsea rumor round-up feat. Kilman, Koundé, Jorginho, Raphinha, Gnabry, Hazard and more!

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Regardless of what’s going on the world, one thing we can always count on is the constant stream of transfer rumors, especially of the speculative kind. Here’s a round-up of some of the more pertinent ones from the last few weeks.


Goalkeeper

Kepa Arrizabalaga’s future at Chelsea continues to be uncertain, and there is a decent possibility that he will in fact look to depart in search of a first-choice role. As per Gazzetta dello Sport, Newcastle United are the latest club to express an interest.

Lazio also maintain their perennial interest in the 27-year-old, and while he is said to be their (or rather, Maurizio Sarri’s) “dream” target, the financials involved have led them to look at alternative options like Pierluigi Gollini, Marco Carnesecchi and Sergio Rico.

On the Loan Army side of things, Hull City have started talks to sign Nathan Baxter on a permanent deal, as per the Hull Daily Mail. Whether the 23-year-old is willing to do that before getting a shot at achieving his dream of playing for Chelsea remains to be seen.


Defense

Chelsea continue to be linked with a plethora of defenders, with the future of our backline uncertain. The current situation with the ownership of the club has reportedly further increased this uncertainty, with negotiations possibly left in limbo.

Andreas Christensen will almost certainly be moving to Barcelona, while the Catalan giants also waiting on César Azpilicueta to make a decision. On the other hand, Antonio Rüdiger’s agent remains in talks with Real Madrid and PSG, and he has also been linked with Juventus, AC Milan, as well as Manchester United although the most likely outcome is still of him continuing at Chelsea (certainly when compared with the other two).

Keeping that in mind, Chelsea are keeping tabs on multiple centre backs to replace the potentially departing players. The latest to emerge on that list is Max Kilman of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

According to talkSport, we have scouted the 24-year-old boyhood Chelsea fan extensively in recent weeks with a view to a summer move. Any move for the left-footer won’t be cheap however. His contract runs through 2026 and Chelsea can expect an asking price of £30-40m.

FBL-ENG-PR-WOLVES-CHELSEA Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

Another centre back linked with us in recent weeks has been Éder Militão, and according to Marca and Gianluca Di Marzio, we have requested a meeting with his entourage sometime this month. However, Militão is prioritizing a contract extension with Real Madrid and a move to England seems rather unlikely at the moment.

Chelsea’s priority CB target is supposedly still Jules Koundé, but we’re not alone with Real Madrid and Barcelona interested as well, as per Sky Deutschland. However, Diario AS note that Sevilla would prefer selling to a foreign team, which should give us a slight advantage.

Other names potentially on our shortlist include the likes of Ronald Araújo, Wesley Fofana and Matthijs De Ligt.

Chelsea are also set to lose a centre back from the Loan Army, with Jake Clarke-Salter set to depart the club on a free transfer in the summer once his contract expires. The 24-year-old, who is currently on loan at Coventry City, may have been offered a three-year deal by the Sky Blues, but supposedly also has interest from other clubs in England as well as Germany, Belgium and Netherlands, and has not yet finalized his next move.

Another member of the Loan Army contingent set to depart is Emerson Palmieri. According to L’Equipe (via Sport Witness), Olympique Lyon are actively working towards incorporating Emerson into the squad next season, and they plan to use their right to first-refusal clause to sign the Italy international on a permanent deal in the summer. Lazio also remain interested.


Midfield

Jorginho has been continually linked with a return to Italy — due to the dozens of interviews that his agent has given on the topic — and with the Italy international’s contract running out in 2023, the possibility of a Chelsea exit this summer is at an all-time high.

As per Gazzetta dello Sport, Calciomercato and Tutto Juve, Juventus maintain interest in the 30-year-old, and feel that they can get him on the cheap due to his contract situation and have already prepared a four-year contract. They are apparently willing to offer us €20m in exchange, and are also open to offering up Alex Sandro (heyo!) or Adrien Rabiot in part-exchange, but it’s unlikely that the we would be interested in either.

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Jorginho may not be the only change in that department, with on-loan midfielder Saúl Ñíguez set to return to Atlético Madrid — and then possibly moving to Barcelona. N’Golo Kanté’s long-term future is also seemingly uncertain, due to his age (over 30) and high wages. His current contract is up in 2023.

On the incoming side, the likes of Declan Rice and Aurélien Tchouaméni continue to be linked, while Conor Gallager looks almost certain to be a part of the first-team setup next season.

Amongst the Loan Army, Tiémoué Bakayoko’s future is certainly away from the club, though where it exactly lies is anyone’s guess. According to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) and Calciomercato, while Bakayoko does want to continue at AC Milan, the Rossoneri are thinking about cutting his two-year loan short due to his form that has led to him not seeing the pitch for a month. The buy-obligation in the deal apparently activates only next year and only if he makes 15 appearances of more than 45 minutes before the summer of 2023.


Attack

Chelsea’s misfiring attack is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed this summer, with the futures of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi potentially all up in the air.

Ousmane Dembélé still looks to be the favorite to arrive, after being linked incessantly throughout January. The Guardian and Diario Sport (via Sport Witness) once again note our interest in the France international, and we are said to be the favorites for his signature ahead of the likes of PSG.

While a contract extension for Dembélé at Barcelona is still unlikely, the La Liga club have not fully given up hope of retaining the 24-year-old, especially due to the good relationship he apparently shares with Xavi. Barca are even willing to offer a short two-year extension, although the financial demands would first have to come down substantially from the player’s side.

Another man apparently on Chelsea’s radar is Raphinha. According to Gianluigi Longari (writing for Football Transfers), we’re leading Barcelona and Arsenal in the race for the Leeds United man’s signature and have already held talks with the player’s entourage (though no formal offer has been made).

Raphinha’s current deal runs through 2024, and he’s said to have no intention of signing a new contract. His current contract includes a €75m release clause, which would drop down to €25m should Leeds get relegated.

We have also expressed an interest in Serge Gnabry, as per Sport BILD (via Sport Witness). Gnabry’s current contract with Bayern Munich runs through 2023, and there is apparently some distance between his demands and what’s on offer from the club.

Several clubs are keeping an eye on the situation. Alongside Chelsea, the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid have shown an interest, with Gnabry said to be favoring a return to London. Bayern have been seemingly keeping an eye on Ajax’s Antony as a potential replacement.

Christopher Nkunku continues to turn heads with his performances this season, with the Frenchman scoring 25 goals and providing 13 assists. Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and PSG are all said to be interested, as per Foot Mercato. RB Leipzig have supposedly raised their asking price to €75m from the previously-quoted €60m.

Eden Hazard also continues to feature in the Chelsea rumor mill, despite being the least realistic of any recent transfer rumor — that hasn’t stopped some sources from claiming that we’re negotiating a season-long loan deal or that Hazard is pushing for a move. Maybe he would have better luck joining PSG?

Chelsea are also keeping an eye out for centre forwards, with Jonathan David on our radar (this summer) or maybe Tammy Abraham (next summer)? Hugo Ekitike of Reims is another name mentioned, but it’s rather unlikely that we’ll spend big money on another No. 9 anytime soon, especially with Armando Broja’s emergence as well.

On the departure side of things, Michy Batshuayi’s time with the Blues looks set to be ending at long last. According to CNN Turkey, if Batshuayi can continue his goal-scoring exploits, Besiktas will look to sign him permanently in the summer.