Chelsea have identified Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic as the perfect replacement for Willian and are pushing ahead with their summer transfers, according to reports.
The west London club still face huge uncertainty over who their manager will be next season – with Antonio Conte expected to be replaced by Maurizio Sarri – but the club’s hierarchy are planning their summer business already.
The Daily Mail report that a £22million deal for Russia’s World Cup star Aleksandr Golovin is pushing ahead, but they also want to bring in Dortmund youngster Pulisic.
The American winger had a rather disappointing campaign last season, and was allowed to go home early from the USA’s summer tour due to tiredness.
However, he is regarded as one of the most exiting young talents in both the Bundesliga and Europe, scoring four times and assisting five goals in the league last season.
Pulisic has been earmarked as a potential replacement for Willian, who is being targeted by both Barcelona and Manchester United.
Chelsea have already rejected a £50m offer from the Spanish giants, though such an enormous offer would allow the club to bring in fresh young talent in Golovin and Pulisic.
The Blues are now favourites to land Golovin, with CSKA Moscow expected to accept their £22m bid after Juventus baulked at their asking price.
Chelsea are also interested in young Juve centre-back Daniele Rugani, who both Sarri and Conte know all about, and are believed to be finalising the details of a transfer that could reach £35m.
How Chelsea’s setup can help £27m signing adapt to the Premier League
Chelsea are “closing in” on Aleksandr Golovin, according to some semi-reliable sources including Goal.com, meaning the latest in Chelsea’s series of Russian signings is likely on his way to Stamford Bridge.
This leads to some interesting questions about where he will fit in at Chelsea.
Plenty of excited fans have already been Tweeting about their “dream” midfield, which mostly has the CSKA Moscow player lining up in a midfield three alongside N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
It’s a lovely idea – a defensive player in Kante, a box to box man in Loftus-Cheek and a layer of skill in Golovin – but is it really feasible?
The 5’10 has spent most of his career playing higher up the field, and that’s for a dominant CSKA team who spend most of their games carving open minnows in the Russian top flight.
Joining the Premier League will be enough of a challenge as it is – it will be a huge step up physically for the 22 year old anyway – dropping him into the thick of things in the midfield seems like an unnecessary extra burden.
Given we don’t know who our manager will be next season, it’s difficult to speculate exactly how the young man will be deployed should the move be completed.
But whoever is at the controls will surely be tempted to give him a more free role in the attacking element of the team; at least while he adapts to his new home.