Will Chelsea sign a striker this summer?
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Chelsea are reportedly ‘confident’ of beating Paris Saint-Germain to the signing of Achraf Hakimi, despite his hefty £68.8million price tag. The Blues are said to have signalled a willingness to match PSG’s opening bid for the wing-back, who currently plays for Inter Milan.
Hakimi starred for Inter in his first season at the San Siro, following a £40m move from Real Madrid last September.
The 22-year-old missed just one game as Inter won Serie A for the first time in a decade, scoring seven goals and notching 10 assists.
Though he mainly featured as a right wing-back in Antonio Conte’s system, Hakimi does have the ability to also play on the left-hand side.
That makes him a highly attractive target for Chelsea, who are looking to upgrade their full back options.
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Thomas Tuchel is expected to conduct a major overhaul of his squad, with the wing-back position one of the areas he is prioritising.
While Ben Chilwell and Reece James have become the first-choice options in that area after impressive seasons, the options behind them are less convincing.
Marcos Alonso has failed to provide the defensive cover that Tuchel demands, while Emerson Palmieri has struggled to break into the German’s plans.
The Daily Star report that the Blues have now found the man they want to provide Chilwell and James competition, stating they want to make him their first signing this summer.
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While it is said that the Premier League side are prepared to wait if they miss out on their other targets, the Blues are stepping up their pursuit of Hakimi.
The Star states that Chelsea are “confident” they can win the race to sign the 22-year-old, who is also a regular for the Moroccan national team.
If they did manage to sign Hakimi, it is expected that Emerson and Alonso will both leave Stamford Bridge.
Hakimi moving to London would also allow Cesar Azpilicueta to concentrate on playing as the third centre-back in Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system.
Intriguingly, Inter are believed to have a long-running interest in Emerson and the Italian could used in a player exchange for Hakimi.
The Serie A champions are conducting a major rebuild this summer, with a number of stars set to leave as they battle intense financial pressure.
But they are facing competition from Ligue 1 giants PSG for Hakimi, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side already submitting an opening bid of £56.1m.
But with Inter valuing their wing-back at closer to £70m, there is still a big chance that Chelsea can hijack the deal and bring the Moroccan to England instead.
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