Chelsea could be closing in on a deal for Ben Chilwell after a breakthrough in negotiations with Leicester, according to reports. The England international is top of the Blues’ summer wishlist as Frank Lampard looks to overhaul his squad at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea have already signed Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner while they are locked in talks with Bayer Leverkusen over a transfer fee for Kai Havertz.
The west London club are also looking to bolster their options defensively ahead of next season and Chilwell has been identified as their primary target in that department.
Leicester are reportedly demanding £80million for the 23-year-old, which would equal the world-record fee for a defender that Manchester United paid to sign Harry Maguire last summer.
Ben Chilwell to Chelsea is in the very final stages. Medical set to go ahead on Monday/Tuesday, with the deal expected to be finalised by this time next week. Fee in the region of £64million after additional fees and bonuses. #CFC #LCFC
— Transfer News (@TransferChecker) August 15, 2020
This steep asking price was thought to have slowed down negotiations but the proposed move is now gathering pace, according to two Leicester insiders.
Chilwell is said to have cleared out his belongings at the Foxes’ training ground and is expected to undergo a medical at Chelsea in the next couple of days, according to Foxes Fancast presenter Sam Martin.
And LCFC HQ also report that the Blues have made a breakthrough in talks and are ready to shell out a world record deal, suggesting they will top Maguire’s £80m fee.
With the transfer saga appearing to take a big step forward in recent days, Chelsea fans were quick to read into a cryptic tweet sent out by Chilwell last night.
The left-back posted a ‘flushed face’ emoji, most likely in response to Bayern Munich’s 8-2 thumping of Barcelona in the Champions League.
However, some supporters believed this was a reaction to the latest reports about his future while Martin stirred speculation by quote-tweeting the post, accompanied by the message “What have I started here…”
Chelsea were understood to be reluctant to pay £80m for Chilwell, with the fee significantly higher than previous sums paid for a left-back.
Benjamin Mendy moved to Manchester City from Monaco for £52m in 2017 while Lucas Hernandez joined Bayern Munich from Atletico Madrid for £68m two years later.
But neither player has justified such an outlay so Chelsea are wary of being stung in a similar situation.
With this in mind, cheaper alternatives have been considered with Nicolas Tagliafcio and Sergio Reguilon the most likely targets.
Alex Telles, Marc Cucurella and Robin Gosens have also been linked this summer, with none of the five options set to cost more than £35m.
Chilwell has made 33 appearances for Leicester so far this season, scoring three goals and assisting four.
The England ace is eyed as a step up from Chelsea’s current options at left-back, with one of Emerson Palmieri or Marcos Alonso almost certain to leave the club this summer.