CHELSEA must pay at least £45million to win the race for Brighton defender Marc Cucurella.
And they will also have to see off Manchester City and Tottenham to land the Spanish left-back.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel, buoyed by the news that Todd Boehly’s £4.25billion takeover of the club has cleared its final hurdle, is plotting a major overhaul of his defence.
Cucurella fits the bill after a standout first season in England following a £15.4million transfer from Spanish outfit Getafe. Tuchel is braced to lose left-back Marcos Alonso, who is keen to return to Spain.
Chelsea’s other player to fill that slot is Ben Chilwell and he only returned to action last weekend following a major knee injury.
Cucurella, 23, feels loyalty to Brighton but admits that interest from newly-crowned Premier League champions City is hard to dismiss.
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He said: “If the opportunity arises, you have to take advantage of it. There are teams that you can’t say no to.”
Tuchel is hoping Chelsea is on that list — but bitter rivals Spurs are also keen on Cucurella.
And a three-way bidding scrap could kick off.
Chelsea’s transfer ban, imposed when the Government sanctioned outgoing owner Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, should be lifted once Boehly’s takeover is complete.
The final potential obstacle was removed when the Portuguese government authorised the sale of the club.
That had to be done as Russian oligarch Abramovich has a Portuguese passport.
All that remains now is for Chelsea to officially announce that Boehly has bought the Londoners.
Then Tuchel — who has already lost centre-halves Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen — can get to work on bringing in his summer targets.
As well as Cucurella, Sevilla’s French centre-half Jules Kounde, 23, is on Tuchel’s wanted list.
Source: The Sun
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