Chelsea ‘in touch’ with Man Utd Plan B as incredible double coup takes shape

Chelsea ‘in touch’ with Man Utd Plan B as incredible double coup takes shape

Chelsea have their sights set on an impressive double coup that would reshape their forward line, with one target understood to be Erik ten Hag’s Plan B in the final third, per reports.

The Blues currently sit eighth in the table and must improve mightily after the World Cup if they’re to qualify for the Champions League.

Newcastle’s rapid rise has turned the ‘big six’ into a ‘big seven’. Competition for the top four is fiercer than ever and Chelsea’s blunt attack has hampered their season at every turn thus far.

They’re the lowest scorers of any team currently situated in the top half (17). The additions of Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clearly haven’t had the desired effect.

However, 2023 could see significant investment in Graham Potter’s forward line, with RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku known to be nearing a move.

The Frenchman undertook a secret medical in Frankfurt back in August. Nkunku has a release clause worth €60m (approx. £51.5m) that can be activated next summer, though Chelsea are understood to be prepared to bid higher to ensure they don’t miss out.

Aside from Nkunku, AC Milan and Portugal flyer, Rafael Leao, has been heavily linked.

Chelsea “pushing hard” for double coup

The 23-year-old left winger will see his contract at the San Siro expire in the summer of 2024. Milan are desperate to tie him down to fresh terms, though doubts are creeping in.

TEAMtalk’s transfer insider, Graeme Bailey, recently told us regarding Chelsea’s chase: “Rafael Leao is another who Chelsea are pushing hard for.

“AC Milan are desperate for Leao to sign a new long-term deal and are willing to make him the highest paid player in Serie A.

“But as it stands, he has not signed and they thought that would be done before the World Cup finals. We need to keep an eye on the Leao situation.”

Leao is demanding an annual salary of around €9m-€10m, per Sky Italia. That roughly equates to a weekly wage of around £150,000-£165,000.

Whether Milan can commit to such lofty demands is clearly open to debate. If they can’t, Chelsea are ready to pounce.

According to Italian journalist, Carlo Garganese, the Blues remain ‘in touch’ with a blockbuster move in 2023. However, they’re by no means the only interested party.

Rafael Leao chase becomes crowded

“Leao’s contract runs out in 2024,” Garganese told GiveMeSport.

“Chelsea, they’re still in touch, they’re one of the main clubs, but they’re not the only club that are interested in him.

“Real Madrid are also interested in him as well.”

Manchester United too are keeping tabs on Leao whose true valuation seems to differ with every report. Some have claimed he’ll cost around £70m, while others have put the final figure required closer to the £100m mark. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: Leao won’t come cheap.

United are hot on the heels of PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo, though per ESPN Netherlands, have installed Leao as their Plan B.

Gakpo plays primarily out wide but can play up front so would be able to fill the central void left by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Leao has rarely featured anywhere other than the wings, something that would suggest if he does move to Old Trafford, a separate centre-forward could be on the agenda too.

Between them, Nkunku and Leao have scored 25 and assisted 16 this season across all competitions. On paper at least, they’d give Chelsea’s front line the new dimension it so desperately craves.

READ MORE: Man Utd, Arsenal on alert as Chelsea ‘willing to sacrifice’ £58million ace, with January changes coming

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