Anthony Gordon wants to join Chelsea as he waits in hope to see if the London club make a new offer to sign him after a formal £45 million bid was turned down by Everton.
The Merseyside club insist Gordon is not for sale and value him at more than £50m, but Chelsea hope the player’s desire to move to Stamford Bridge will help them complete a deal for the England Under-21 international.
While Everton is Gordon’s boyhood club and he does not want to jeopardise his relationship with the Goodison Park fans, it is understood he wants to take the opportunity to join Chelsea and play in the Champions League.
Gordon has not expressed a formal desire to leave Everton and it remains to be seen whether or not he will do so if there remains an impasse between the club and Chelsea over his valuation.
Everton are understood to be aware of Gordon’s preference to move to London and fear the 21-year-old’s head could have been turned by Chelsea’s official offer that arrived on Monday and was swiftly rejected.
Chelsea may be reluctant to pay £50m or more for Gordon, but could still make a new bid that includes bonuses and incentives that ultimately satisfy Everton’s valuation of their star player.
Gordon is seen as a player who could add creativity and unpredictability for Chelsea, who could see a number of wide players leave before the transfer window shuts.
Timo Werner has already returned to RB Leipzig, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is keen to go out on loan and Hakim Ziyech wants to leave. Chelsea would also still listen to offers for Christian Pulisic, who is understood to be attracting interest from Newcastle United as is Hudson-Odoi.
Chelsea’s interest in Gordon is also driven by a desire to try to sign some of the best young English talent in the county, which includes moves to sign Mason Mount and Reece James to new long-term contracts.
It is understood Chelsea want Mount and James to sign new six-year deals, which would include the option of a seventh year, following preliminary talks in which it has been made clear both players will receive good offers.
Agreeing personal terms with Gordon, who would also most likely be offered a six-year contract, would not be a problem for Chelsea. But whether or not they are prepared to bid £50m or more for Gordon, given the club spent £50m to take Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, remains to be seen.
Everton have previously held an interest in the likes of striker Armando Broja and midfielders Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour, but they have not yet been offered in negotiations over Gordon. Newcastle are also monitoring Broja and Gallagher, should they become available for loan moves.
The Everton head coach Frank Lampard needs to sign a new striker, but getting £50m-plus from Chelsea for Gordon would not guarantee they could spend the money well so late in the window and with a lack of available options.
Gordon is not the only player who is keen to join Chelsea before the transfer window shuts, with Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana also hoping he will move to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have failed with two bids for Fofana, around £50m and £60m, but are expected to make a third offer which the Frenchman is hoping his club accepts.
One potential longer-term dilemma for Chelsea is the future of N’Golo Kante, who fears that he could face up to a month out with the hamstring injury he suffered against Tottenham Hotspur.
France international Kante was superb against Spurs on Sunday for 84 minutes until he was forced off with a hamstring injury that head coach Thomas Tuchel revealed felt “pretty strong” and added “so no good news” on Sunday night.
Kante will get a clearer picture of exactly how long he will be out when he receives the results of an MRI scan, but the fear is he will miss at least three to four weeks which could rule him out of Chelsea’s games against Leeds United, Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United and Fulham.
The potential for a return against Liverpool on Sep 18 offers Chelsea some encouragement, but Kante’s latest injury underlines the difficulty the club’s owners face over his contract that has entered its final 12 months.
With the World Cup on the horizon and top players facing a season like no other in terms of the demands that will be placed upon them, it is already clear that Kante will have to be managed extremely carefully.
Kante is just a League Cup away from having won every possible trophy at Chelsea since joining the club for £30million six years ago from Leicester City. Even if he were to leave for free next summer, he will go down as one of the best signings in the Blues’ history.
It seems inconceivable that Chelsea will not try to keep him past his current deal and yet there are big question marks over whether or not Kante can really be handed a new deal, of any longer than another 12 months on the same terms, given he currently earns around £300,000-a-week.
Chelsea’s owners have already started to overhaul the club’s wage bill by changing the contracts that are being offered to players, with big bonuses now paid for playing in at least 60 per cent of games across a season and finishing in the top four. Would Kante accept the new terms or could he be made a special case? These are things we are yet to find out.
Italy Under-19 midfielder Cesare Casadei will join Chelsea from Inter Milan in a deal worth £12.6m, plus £4.2m in bonuses.