Chelsea are poised to announce the signing of new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for an initial fee of around €20m with €5m in add-ons, reports The Athletic, and will then begin their pursuit of West Ham’s Declan Rice with a first concrete offer.
Mendy is expected to be a major upgrade on current goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. The 28-year-old Selegalese, who stands 6ft 6in tall, has the second best save percentage of goalkeepers in Ligue 1 over the past two years, while Kepa has the worst in the Premier League over the same period.
One possibility is that Chelsea are delaying the announcement in order not to unsettle their current goalkeepers, Kepa and Willy Caballero, before tonight’s match at Brighton.
West Ham are adamant they do not want to sell Rice and will look to rebuff Chelsea’s advances in this window, giving them time to source an adequate replacement either in January or next summer.
Chelsea are unwilling to match West Ham’s £80m valuation, according to Fabrizio Romano, but are confident that West Ham’s resolve can be broken by a tempting offer, giving the way West Brom persuaded the Hammers hierarchy to part with Grady Diangana.
Meanwhile former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino has declared Kai Havertz will be a better signing for Chelsea than Jason Sancho would be should he join Manchester United during this extended summer window.
Havertz signed for Chelsea for £62m earlier this month and is expected to start in the Blues’ opening game against Brighton at the Amex, playing behind fellow new signing from the Bundesliga Timo Werner, with Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi either side.
“I cannot wait to see Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic leading the line for Chelsea,” said Cascarino. “Frank Lampard now has the most exciting front three in the Premier League.
“Havertz, in particular, is going to be a massive player for Chelsea. He is a better acquisition this summer than Jadon Sancho would be.”
And manager Frank Lampard has dismissed reports than N’Golo Kante could be on his way out of the club amid interest from former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, now in charge of Inter.
“I have seen those reports as well. He is an incredible player and person and I certainly don’t want to lose him. He’s fundamental in terms of what I’m trying to do. We can obviously talk about the attacking players we have but someone like N’Golo and the work he does in midfield.
“It was a difficult year for him last year because of the injuries. He came into the season with an injury and it was a domino effect through the year. It was probably a culmination of four or five years of games, so I’m really excited to have him fit. He looks fresh, he’s a big deal to me.”
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