Chelsea are “ready to sign” Barcelona pair Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to reports. Manchester United have been trying to bring De Jong to Old Trafford all summer, but the player is not keen on the move.
The Red Devils had a bid worth around £72 million ($88 million) accepted from Barcelona after Erik ten Hag identified the midfielder as his top priority in the summer transfer window.
De Jong is owed between £14-17 million ($17-20 million) in deferred wages and is believed to be unwilling to depart the club as long as they remain in debt to him.
A move to United is not unlikely purely down to the Dutch playmaker’s financial situation, but also because of the Premier League club’s lack of Champions League football and recent success domestically.
Chelsea can offer De Jong Champions League football, as well as the prospect of competing in every competition they are in. The Blues reached two cup finals last term and finished third in the Premier League, a year on from being crowned European champions.
A difficult transfer window for United could become a miserable one should Chelsea beat them to the signing of De Jong. This is a growing possibility and there is optimism that the longest and most tedious summer transfer saga could come to an end this week.
If De Jong and Barcelona come to a settlement of some kind and he then decides he is willing to join Chelsea, there is not a lot that will stop this transfer from coming to fruition.
According to Sky Sports (via Football Daily), Chelsea are “willing to match” the £72 million ($88 million) offer put on the table from Manchester United. As mentioned prior, the Blues can offer De Jong Champions League football, unlike United.
Chelsea are “ready to sign” the 25-year-old, as well as Barca forward Aubameyang, who joined the La Liga club from Arsenal on a free transfer in the winter window. All of this comes down to whether or not the Blaugrana will sanction both of their departures, with various reports suggesting both Aubameyang and Memphis Depay will not leave this summer.
Depay is linked with a move to Juventus and Barca are believed to be keen to retain at least one of the two players. The Sky report states De Jong “will not agree to leave” the club until he is paid his deferred wages.
However, Barca are hoping he will take a “significant pay cut” and accept a “£6 million settlement” for his deferred wages.
Aubameyang could be a good option for Chelsea after they let Timo Werner sign for RB Leipzig and Romelu Lukaku join Inter Milan on loan. Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel worked with the Gabonese forward at Borussia Dortmund. The player scored 79 times under the German’s stewardship.
Tuchel is, however, prioritising the signing of a new central defender. The club have been linked with Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana in recent weeks and are confident they can agree a deal.
Leicester may find it difficult to turn down an offer in the region of £80m, after rejecting two previous bids from the Blues believed to be worth around £63 million ($77 million) and £70 million ($85 million).