Chelsea defender Levi Colwill wanted by Leicester and Southampton

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Leicester and Southampton are interested in signing Levi Colwill, with the centre-back ready to seek a fresh challenge if there is no prospect of breaking into the first team at Chelsea.

Colwill is one of Chelsea’s best young talents and wants regular football after an impressive loan at Huddersfield last season. The 19-year-old’s situation has alerted several clubs and there is likely to be a scramble for his signature if he decides to leave.

Related: Men’s transfer window summer 2022 – all deals from Europe’s top five leagues

Chelsea’s search for centre-backs to replace Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen could influence Colwill’s thinking. Thomas Tuchel is chasing Manchester City’s Nathan Aké, Juventus’s Matthijs de Ligt, Sevilla’s Jules Koundé and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. Aké, who could replace Rüdiger on the left of Tuchel’s back three, plays in Colwill’s position.

Leicester and Southampton are watching the situation closely. Southampton have a pattern of signing promising Chelsea youngsters – they bought Tino Livramento and loaned Armando Broja last summer – and Leicester have been tracking Colwill for a while. Leicester inquired about taking Colwill on loan in January, but Chelsea did not want to break their agreement with Huddersfield.

Colwill earned rave reviews at Huddersfield. He scored an unfortunate own goal when they lost the Championship play-off final to Nottingham Forest but his overall form was excellent.

If Colwill leaves it would continue the trend of Chelsea parting company with their most eye-catching academy products. They sold the England centre-backs Marc Guéhi and Fikayo Tomori to Crystal Palace and Milan respectively last summer. Tomori helped Milan win Serie A and Guéhi had a strong debut campaign at Palace.

Chelsea are preparing a bid for City’s Raheem Sterling as they look to strengthen in attack. Romelu Lukaku’s return to Internazionale on loan was confirmed on Wednesday, after the clubs agreed an €8m loan fee last week.

“Romelu Lukaku will spend the 2022-23 campaign with Inter Milan after completing a season-long loan move from Chelsea,” a statement from the Premier League club said.

News of the transfer was also confirmed in a short video posted by Inter on social media, in which the Belgium forward said he was “very happy”. The Serie A outfit followed with another tweet which read: “Welcome back Rom”.

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Chelsea are also discussing personal terms with Raphinha after agreeing a £55m fee with Leeds for the Brazilian, but Barcelona are still trying to convince the winger to join them. Raphinha’s initial preference was to join Barça, who have major financial problems. His agent, Deco, the former Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder, held talks with the Spanish club on Wednesday.

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