Soccer

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has five defenders on his summer transfer shortlist

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Chelsea reportedly have five defenders on their shortlist as Thomas Tuchel seeks reinforcements in the summer transfer window. The Blues have been emboldened by the completion of Todd Boehly’s takeover from Roman Abramovich and are now busy exploring their options in the market.

Defence is a clear priority for Tuchel, who will lose Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers upon the expiry of their contracts at the end of the month. Rudiger was a key player for the Blues last season and has now joined Real, while Christensen is poised to sign for Barca, although they are yet to register him due to financial struggles.

Meanwhile, there are doubts about Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta, who have both been linked with moves to cash-strapped Barca. Even if both Spaniards do stay put, Chelsea will need strengthening at the back – and it is clear the club are ready to address those needs.

GOAL reports that Chelsea have identified five key targets. Brighton’s Marc Cucurella has been earmarked as an option at left-back, as a potential replacement for Alonso if he does leave for Barcelona.

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Cucurella impressed for Brighton last season, starting 35 Premier League games after joining the club in a £15.4million (€18m) transfer from Getafe. The 23-year-old is under contract with Brighton until June 2026 and is also being eyed by Manchester City. The Athletic says Brighton are ready to ward off interest by putting a £50m price tag on the Spaniard.

In central defence, Chelsea have four main targets: Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez and Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe. Of those, Kounde is the most likely to join this summer, due to his long-running links to Chelsea.

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The Blues tried hard to sign the Frenchman last summer, only for Sevilla to pull the plug. Kounde is keen on the move and has agreed personal terms with Tuchel’s side, but Sevilla’s asking price of £59m has slowed down any progress on the transfer for now.

Chelsea have been scouting Gvardiol ever since he broke through with the Croatian giants Dinamo and have previously explored the options of signing both Gimenez and Kimpembe. Both are top-quality centre-backs who have a wealth of experience, both internationally and in the Champions League, and would command significant transfer fees.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s efforts to offload record-signing Romelu Lukaku to his former club Inter Milan has led to them considering Inter’s defenders. Right-back Denzel Dumfries and centre-backs Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni have all been mentioned in negotiations, but have been dismissed by the Italian side, who are seeking a straight loan deal for Lukaku.

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