Chelsea remain interested in signing both Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele, Meziesblog understands, although their hopes of landing either player hang in the balance.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel is keen to strengthen the Blues’ goal-shy frontline this summer following Romelu Lukaku’s return to Inter on loan, and the best way to do so is considered to be through signing productive wide players given the lack of elite central strikers on the market.
The London club is closing in on the £45m signing of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, but media sources confirm that Leeds’ Raphinha and now-free agent Dembele remain on their radar.
However, much will depend on Barcelona and their finances – or lack thereof.
Although Chelsea have agreed a fee of around £60m with Leeds for Raphinha they have been unable to settle on personal terms as a move to Camp Nou is the Brazilian’s preference, and he is waiting for Barça to find a deal.
The Blaugrana have made a proposal worth a similar amount overall, but the structure of the transfer would be heavily reliant on add-on and installments paid over an extended period – something Leeds have so far been reluctant to accept.
With Chelsea lurking in the background prepared to strike a more straightforward deal, Barcelona have been pushed to structure their offer in a more satisfactory way in terms of installment sums and deadlines or risk missing out on the winger, although Meziesblog understands an agreement is not far away.
Meanwhile, though Dembele is technically a free agent after his contract at Camp Nou expired, both Barcelona and Chelsea are still waiting to discover whether the Frenchman will accept fresh terms in Catalonia on a reduced salary, or whether he will finally end a saga that has dragged on for months by walking away.
If the outcome is the latter, then Chelsea will be ready to pounce as they continue to keep tabs on the 25-year-old.
Speaking about Dembele earlier this week, club president Joan Laporta said: “There is no decided date. We are in a situation of uncertainty because we work to sign and now we cannot sign. We work talking to players that interest us so that they wait for us until we can sign.
“Dembele has an offer, they have answered and we continue talking. And we are willing to continue talking until we are interested. If he does not accept our proposal, it cannot be. He has to accept it because if not, there is no interest on our part. We have to adapt the files to the salary scale that we have marked so that there are no imbalances.”
Meziesblog understands Chelsea are also readying a bid for superstar Cristiano Ronaldo having been alerted to his potential availability.
The 37-year-old has informed Manchester United that he wants them to consider suitable offers for him this summer as he goes in search of more silverware and personal accolades – something he does not believe is achievable at Old Trafford next season.
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