Manchester City have set the bar for transfer spending this summer, but if Chelsea’s plans are anything to go by then the Blues could match them pound-for-pound.
While Pep Guardiola’s side have spent over £200m this summer to bring in the likes of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Danilo, Ederson Moraes and Bernardo Silva, Chelsea’s outlay so far has been a “meagre” £130m on Tiemoue Bakayoko, Atonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata (as well as the free transfer signing of Man City goalkeeper Willy Caballero).
However, according to the Telegraph, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to back manager Antonio Conte heavily in the transfer market (which, presumably, was a major factor in the ex-Juventus boss signing a new deal recently) and the Italian has drawn up a list of four targets that he wants to bring to Stamford Bridge before the transfer window closes – namely, Alex Sandro, Fernando Llorente, Antonio Candreva and Virgil van Dijk.
That said, the clubs they want to buy from aren’t particularly willing to do business.
Chelsea looked to be making some inroads with Juventus regarding Sandro earlier in the summer, especially when they tabled club-record £61m for the Brazilian international. The Bianconeri, though, are reluctant to sell having already lost Leonardo Bonucci to rivals AC Milan but the amount of money on offer may be enough to tempt Juve if they can find a suitable replacement (who will probably cost a fraction of the price).
Fernando Llorente of Swansea is another name that has been rattled around for most of the summer. With Diego Costa almost certain to be leaving the club in the next few weeks, Conte is looking for backup for Morata (and competition for Michy Batshuayi assuming he’s not loaned out) and the former Spain international fits the bill. He could potentially end up costing over £20m
Antonio Candreva is probably a more fanciful target, though the logic can be seen in Conte looking to strengthen the wide forward areas particularly with Pedro now nursing a facial injury. Eden Hazard and Willian remain the only other viable options and Chelsea would be looking to increase the depth given the return of Champions League football. As Man United are finding out with the Ivan Perisic negotiations, however, Inter are quite capable of digging their heels in.
Finally to Van Dijk, whom the report concedes is not a major priority with the signing of Rudiger. The Southampton centre-back is very much unsettled at St. Mary’s and although a move to Liverpool is still the most likely option if he does end up leaving, the reigning Premier League champions have retained an interest.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football podcast, we caught up with Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor ahead of their move to Preston, and review the League of Ireland clubs’ European campaigns.