Thomas Tuchel previews Chelsea's trip to Southampton
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Chelsea’s relentless pursuit of Anthony Gordon could be set to end in failure with Everton battling to the bitter end to keep their academy graduate out of the Blues’ clutches. Thomas Tuchel has been keen on the highly-rated winger for some time but the Toffees have stood firm on their £60million valuation.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea are now at risk of missing out on the 21-year-old’s signature due to the ‘substantial gulf’ in the valuation of the player by the two negotiating clubs. Gordon is regarded as indispensable by his manager Frank Lampard and Chelsea are not prepared to break the bank for the England Under-21 international.
Tuchel will have other targets on his mind as he looks for one more signing to follow Wesley Fofana into Stamford Bridge, while talks are ongoing for Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
As Chelsea face the possibility of replacing Gordon on their shortlist, Express Sport looks at four potential candidates who may be open to moving to west London either now or at a later date.
The race is on as far as Chelsea are concerned to snap up Crystal Palace star Zaha before the transfer deadline tonight. Tuchel is a fan of Zaha and the club are considering an offer before the deadline, according to the Daily Mail.
The Ivory Coast international has already scored three goals this season but is keen to secure a move to a bigger club after spending eight years in his second spell at Selhurst Park. The 29-year-old’s contract expires next summer meaning Chelsea can tempt Palace into selling for a cut-price fee, but it could still set them back a sizeable amount.
If the club were to revisit a move for Gordon next summer, Zaha could prove to be the perfect stop-gap ahead of a long-term solution, with bags of Premier League experience and a knack for scoring goals. He would surely relish the chance to link up with a star-studded attack including Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling.
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Chelsea were one of the clubs thought to be tracking RB Leipzig attacker Nkunku before he penned a new contract with the Bundesliga outfit. But that may only temporarily delay his move to one of Europe’s heavyweights.
The Frenchman bagged 30 goals in all competitions in 2021-22 and has carried his form into the current campaign too, with four goals in his opening four league appearances. The 24-year-old is also on Real Madrid’s radar as they look for their next big-name arrival.
According to the Telegraph, Nkunku was shortlisted alongside Rafael Leao as a high-profile, long-term objective for the Blues, but neither will be allowed to leave their respective club this summer. But with relations on an amicable level between Chelsea and Leipzig and Todd Boehly’s deep pockets, a future deal in 2023 cannot be ruled out.
There are few players available in the transfer market that would fit Chelsea’s needs more than Adama Traore, so it is a surprise that they are yet to make a move for the Spanish speed merchant.
Tuchel has been searching for cover for Reece James in the right wing-back position and loaning Callum Hudson-Odoi to Bayer Leverkusen has left him with fewer options to choose from. But the versatility of Wolves star Traore means he can slot into the role seamlessly or even make an impact further upfield.
The Spain international has had to settle for a place on Wolves’ bench this season with Bruno Lage unconvinced by the 25-year-old. And there is a chance Chelsea could solve two issues within the squad by moving for Traore, who has been a long-standing target for their German head coach.
Chelsea’s interest in Gordon caught some by surprise due to the Finch Farm starlet’s late emergence, so perhaps moving for a more established talent like Nottingham Forest’s Johnson would fit their transfer strategy.
The forward, who is the son of ex-Forest player David Johnson, impressed Premier League scouts last season after helping his boyhood club win promotion with 18 goals and 10 assists in the Championship.
Brentford came close to a £20m deal for the 21-year-old last summer before Forest scuppered the deal and the Wales international could be available at a lower price than £60m-rated Gordon. However, given he has a first-team role with Steve Cooper’s side, he may be reluctant to leave that behind for a spot on Chelsea’s bench.
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