Ousmane Dembele to Chelsea ‘taking off’ as Todd Boehly closes in on first Blues signing
Chelsea are reportedly closing in on the signing of Ousmane Dembele to kickstart Todd Boehly’s reign at the club. Dembele is likely to become a free agent this summer when his contract at Barcelona comes to an end.
Boehly completed his takeover of Chelsea late last month and will now set about helping Thomas Tuchel improve his squad. And it appears Dembele is set to be the first player through the door at Stamford Bridge.
TalkSPORT says the Blues are now favourites to land the France winger on a free transfer. The deal has ‘taken off’ in the last couple of days.
Reporter Alex Crook said: “This one has really taken off overnight. Chelsea look like they are favourites to sign Ousmane Dembele on a free transfer.
“He’s been letting his contract run down at Barcelona and he would be the first signing of the Todd Boehly era.” Dembele worked under Tuchel at previous club Borussia Dortmund and a reunion could be on the cards.
The 25-year-old looks extremely unlikely to sign a new contract at Barca. He joined the Nou Camp club from Dortmund in 2017 for a fee that could rise to £135.5million.
His time at Barca has been plagued by injury problems. But he has still managed to make 150 appearances for the La Liga giants, scoring 32 goals.
Barca wanted to sell Dembele in January to avoid losing him for free this summer. He was told he would have to sit in the stands and not play if he remained at the club.
However, he was reintegrated into the team by manager Xavi and had a successful second half of the season. But he has seemingly played his final game in the Blaugrana jersey.
One of Boehly’s first tasks as Chelsea owner was to discuss Tuchel’s summer transfer plans. The Telegraph claims Tuchel will have £200m to spend in this window on new signings.
Dembele will be a free transfer but likely ask for a large signing-on fee. Tuchel’s main priority is to recruit in defence this summer following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at the end of their contracts.
Sevilla star Jules Kounde is the No 1 centre-back target. There are also doubts over the future of club-record signing Romelu Lukaku, who is interested in a move back to Inter Milan if a deal can be thrashed out.
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