Blues also close to signing ex-Nice defender Malang Sarr on free transfer; Thiago Silva set for medical on Thursday
Tuesday 25 August 2020 17:56, UK
Chelsea are close to agreeing deals to sign Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell and former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva.
Havertz has received interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe but is set to move to Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea close to concluding a deal with Leverkusen that could be worth up to £90m.
The Blues are also likely to add Chilwell to their ranks, with talks between them and Leicester continuing on Monday. The England international is understood to be keen on the move and a source has told Sky Sports News the deal is "almost there".
While 21-year-old Havertz and 23-year-old Chilwell would add youth to Frank Lampard's squad, Thiago Silva would provide some much needed experience in defence. He is set for a Chelsea medical on Thursday.
Chelsea conceded 54 Premier League goals last season - more than any other side in the top half of the table - and 35-year-old Silva would be expected to help rectify the problem.
Silva is available on a free transfer after leaving PSG. His eight-year stay in the French capital came to an end on Sunday night with defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
Chelsea are also close to completing the signing of Malang Sarr, again on a free transfer. The 21-year-old centre-back left Nice after running down his contract this summer and is set to sign a four-year deal.
If Sarr does arrive at Stamford Bridge, he is likely to be sent out on loan.
Lampard is in the process of overhauling his Chelsea side following his first season in charge, in which he led the club to fourth place in the Premier League and the FA Cup final.
He has already added Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig for a combined £83m and Havertz, Chilwell and Silva now look set to follow.
German football expert Raphael Honigstein:
"He has work to do and has things to prove because he's only just turned 21, but he's an outstanding talent, there's absolutely no doubt about that. He's in a position where he could dominate the German national team over the next decade, depending on his position," he told the Transfer Talk podcast.
"Will he play in the No 10 role and become the new Mesut Ozil or will he settle a bit deeper and become the new Toni Kroos? He's got the ability to play almost anywhere in front of the defence.
"If you look at the unique combination he has of technical ability and eye for a pass, but also having the ability to score and create goals himself, and his runs to be good in the air, I think the best way to sum it up is that he's a cross between Mesut Ozil and Michael Ballack."
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Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
It is, in many ways, a measure of the paucity of centre-back options out there that Chelsea are turning to a 35-year-old who turns 36 next month. But on a free transfer having reached the end of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian could still prove an invaluable addition.
Silva showed he can still cut it at the highest level in Sunday's Champions League final. The result was ultimately disappointing for him and for PSG, but SIlva was instrumental in keeping Robert Lewandowski quiet for long periods and coped well with Bayern Munich's pacey wingers too.
Those defensive qualities, coupled with his ball-playing ability, make him a good fit for Frank Lampard's side but what should be even more useful is his experience - especially in a Chelsea backline which lacks it.
Silva is, after all, a serial winner. He lifted the Serie A title with AC Milan in only his second season in Europe and, since his move to PSG in 2012, he has been a part of 23 domestic trophy triumphs. Chelsea are crying out for some leadership and knowhow at the back and Silva will also be able to mentor the many young hopefuls aiming to break into Lampard's squad. His age means he is not a long-term solution, but he has plenty to offer in the short-term.
Sky Sports' Peter Smith:
Ben Chilwell will not 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?
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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