Chelsea sign Malo Gusto from Lyon for £26m – but there's a catch
Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign right-back Malo Gusto and loan him back to Lyon for the rest of the season after the French club refused to let the player leave in January.
It is understood that Chelsea will pay around £26 million, plus add-ons, for Gusto who will undergo a medical in London before returning to Lyon to complete the season and moving to Stamford Bridge permanently in the summer.
Chelsea had hoped to sign Gusto before the transfer window shut next week, but Lyon rejected their opening £17.6m offer and insisted the France Under-21 international would not be allowed to leave before the summer.
Rather than switching targets and searching for a quick January fix, Chelsea decided to strike an agreement to sign Gusto and allow him to remain at Lyon until the end of the season.
Chelsea’s recruitment team believe 19-year-old Gusto is the best right-back aged under 20 in Europe and did not want to risk losing him to a rival by waiting until the summer to negotiate a transfer.
Gusto is seen as the perfect fit to deputise for and challenge Reece James for the right-back position. His signing will also allow James to be used in different positions by head coach Graham Potter.
James has now recovered from injury and is expected to be in contention to start Chelsea’s next game against Fulham next Friday night, with Ben Chilwell also hopeful of being on the substitutes’ bench.
It now remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea will sign a new midfielder before the transfer window shuts, with new bids for their top targets not ruled out.
Chelsea have already failed with bids and proposals for Moises Caicedo, who Brighton have also turned down an offer from Arsenal for, Enzo Fernandes and Everton’s Amadou Onana.
The Blues have already proved they can move quickly when necessary this month, which leaves the prospect of a big, late deal for a midfielder open.