Chelsea consider third defensive signing with £78m double swoop on Nathan Ake and Kalidou Koulibaly close

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Doubts about Cesar  Azpilicueta’s future could prompt Chelsea into another move  (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Doubts about Cesar Azpilicueta’s future could prompt Chelsea into another move (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea are looking at strengthening their defensive options with a third new centre-back, as they close in on moves for Kalidou Koulibaly and Nathan Ake.

The Blues are in advanced talks over a £33million deal to sign Koulibaly from Napoli and have agreed terms with Ake ahead of his proposed £45m switch from Manchester City.

Chelsea, who are set to announce the £47.5m signing of Raheem Sterling, need to rebuild their defence after losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

They could also go into the new season without Cesar Azpilicueta, who has agreed terms on a two-year deal to join Barcelona and is waiting for the Catalan club to stump up a £7m transfer fee to sign him.

Chelsea are still eyeing Bayern Munich centre-back Dayot Upamecano, while Jules Kounde remains an option despite new co-owner Todd Boehly cooling interest in the Sevilla defender.

Bayern Munich are now favourites to sign Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus.

Boehly is in negotiations with Napoli over a move for Koulibaly, who is a Senegal team-mate of Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and has one year left on his Napoli contract.

Chelsea are optimistic of securing a deal for the 31-year-old as they target signings to cover for the departures of Rudiger, Christensen and possibly Azpilicueta.

Thomas Tuchel is reluctant to let go of Azpilicueta after losing Rudiger and Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Chelsea are prepared to sell if Barcelona meet their asking price for him.

Chelsea want to recoup the £7m paid for Azpilicueta when he joined from Marseille a decade ago and they will push to replace him if he departs.

Jetting off? Cesar Azpilicueta has agreed a bumper contract with Barcelona (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Jetting off? Cesar Azpilicueta has agreed a bumper contract with Barcelona (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The need to sign new centre-backs is a priority for Tuchel, and Chelsea hope to wrap up a deal for Ake, a player who they sold for £20m to Bournemouth in 2017.

Alongside their approach to Manchester City for Ake and Sterling, Chelsea also enquired about Aymeric Laporte but that was quickly rejected by the Premier League champions.

Sterling has agreed a small increase on his £300,000-a-week wages at City to become the first marquee signing under the new Chelsea ownership.

The 27-year-old attacker wants to win the Champions League and help take the Blues back to the top of English football.

Sterling has joined up with the Chelsea squad in America ahead of pre-season matches against Club America, Charlotte FC and Arsenal, the latter taking place in Orlando.

Chelsea have missed out on Raphinha, as Barcelona have announced a deal in principle to sign the Leeds forward after matching Chelsea’s bid.

The Blues are ready to turn to other attacking targets, including AC Milan’s Rafael Leao and Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry.

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