Chelsea are preparing an opening bid for Raheem Sterling after Todd Boehly, the club’s new co-owner, told Manchester City of his intention to sign the England forward.
Thomas Tuchel wants to increase his side’s goalscoring threat and Chelsea, who saw Petr Cech leave his role as their technical and performance adviser yesterday, intend to give their manager the funds to strengthen his squad this summer. Tuchel has identified Sterling as a key target and Boehly, who is leading the club’s recruitment drive, has contacted City to open talks over the 27-year-old.
There is a willingness on all sides to make sure a deal is done. Sterling, who has a year left on his contract, has been reviewing his options since the end of the season and City do not expect him to be their player next season. It is thought that between £50m and £60m would be enough for City to sell Sterling, who has received assurances from Tuchel that he will be a regular starter at Chelsea.
The positive nature of Tuchel’s discussions with the former Liverpool forward have raised confidence that he will kickstart Chelsea’s spending under the Boehly-Clearlake consortium. Chelsea are yet to agree personal terms with Sterling but they are determined to sign him.
Sterling’s appeal to Tuchel is obvious. Chelsea, who are also talking to Juventus about the Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, are planning a revamp of their attack after allowing Romelu Lukaku to join Internazionale on loan and want to improve their edge in the final third. Sterling, who has scored 131 goals since joining City in 2015, would represent an upgrade on many of Tuchel’s current options.
Sterling has won the Premier League title four times at City. However, Pep Guardiola has started him on the bench in many of City’s biggest games in the last two seasons and the player faces increased competition for his place following the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez in Manchester, opening the door for Chelsea to make their move.
Chelsea, who could allow Hakim Ziyech to join Milan on loan, are unlikely to replace Lukaku with a No 9. They are looking at versatile players who can contribute with goals from out wide. They are monitoring Everton’s Richarlison, who is a target for Tottenham, and Leeds United’s Raphinha, who is being courted by Arsenal.
Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé is another target for Tuchel. The France winger is out of contract and is increasingly likely to move this summer. Dembélé held talks with Barça on Monday, with the club’s manager Xavi Hernández present, but the club are currently unable to raise their contract offer. The 25-year-old, who played for Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, is keen to make a decision over his future soon. It remains to be seen if Chelsea decide to meet his wage demands.
Chelsea are also looking to bolster their central defence following the departures of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger. They have been chasing Sevilla’s Jules Koundé, but the France defender has fallen down their list. Chelsea are now focused on a big-money move for De Ligt, who is unlikely to extend his deal at Juve. City’s Nathan Aké, who could replace Rüdiger as Tuchel’s left-sided centre-back, is also on Chelsea’s shortlist.