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Ben Chilwell: Chelsea close to agreeing deal for Leicester defender

Deal expected to be completed early next week

Ben Chilwell has been a long-term target of Frank Lampard
Image: Ben Chilwell has been a long-term target of Frank Lampard

Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal with Leicester for left-back Ben Chilwell.

Progress has been made in talks for Frank Lampard's No 1 left-back target and although nothing has been signed yet, a deal is expected to be completed early next week.

Leicester showed last summer they will not let their players leave for anything less than big money when Manchester United had to pay £80m for Harry Maguire.

The Foxes are under no pressure to sell because Chilwell is under contract until 2024 but the situation could change if he asks to leave.

Chilwell is understood to be keen on the move and the opportunity for Champions League football with Chelsea.

Image: Chilwell also scored three goals and notched three assists during the campaign

Chelsea and Manchester United leapfrogged Leicester in the final games of the season to secure their places in Europe's premier club competition in the new season.

It again shows the pulling power of Lampard, who has already recruited Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.

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Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz - one of Europe's most sought-after prospects - is also expected to make the move to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's rebuilding is also likely to see a number of first-team players depart in this transfer window.

Left-back Emerson Palmieri could make room for Chilwell with Inter Milan reportedly interested in the Italian.

Analysis: Chelsea backing expensive Chilwell to step up

Sky Sports' Peter Smith:

Ben Chilwell won't come cheap. Under contract until 2024 and with Leicester under no pressure to sell, the Foxes are almost certain to hold out for a huge fee from Chelsea, just as they did when Manchester United had to pay them £80m for Harry Maguire last summer.

So is he worth the reported £50m required to convince Leicester to sell? Chelsea have made left-back a priority area this summer and while Chilwell would eclipse the quality of back-up Emerson Palmieri, who seems likely to head back to Italy, does he offer more going forward than long-term Blue Marcos Alonso?

Frank Lampard fears more injuries to his Chelsea squad if they are rushed back
Image: Frank Lampard has shown he is willing to back young players to improve

Defensively Chilwell is arguably more reliable than the Spanish full-back but with players in this position now measured as much - if not more - by their contributions in the attacking third it is clear the Foxes' youngster still has room to improve. He recorded six goal involvements last season (three goals, three assists), which is the same number Alonso managed (four goals, two assists) in nine fewer games.

Chelsea and Frank Lampard will expect a significant increase on that return if they're going to fork out big money. But Chilwell is 23 and there is an element of Chelsea backing England's first-choice left-back to kick on at Stamford Bridge. It will cost Chelsea a lot of money to see if that faith will be repaid - but Lampard has already shown he is willing to give emerging stars the chance to shine.

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