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Chelsea enter direct negotiations with Barcelona for De Jong

Frenkie de Jong

Chelsea have now entered direct negotiations with Barcelona to sign midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein.

The Blues have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Slonina this summer and they also have an agreement in place for Aston Villa’s Carney Chukwuemeka.

It is now reported by Ornstein that the Blues are in advanced negotiations to sign Brighton & Hove Albion’s Marc Cucurella with an offer of over £50 million on the table for him.

The Seagulls are yet to accept the proposal as they are eyeing a higher fee. While discussions continue over Cucurella, the Blues have also entered talks to sign De Jong from Barcelona.

Chelsea may need to pay a similar fee to that agreed by Manchester United with Barcelona (£71m), but ultimately, the decision depends on De Jong, who is reluctant to leave his club.

Meanwhile, Spanish publication Sport claim that De Jong is now the ‘priority’ for manager Thomas Tuchel.

Barcelona want Chelsea to meet the transfer valuation for the Netherlands international. They prefer to sign Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso in separate deals later this month.

Our view:

De Jong has been heavily linked with a move away from Camp Nou this summer. However, the Dutchman has yet to show any intention publicly that he wishes to leave the Catalan giants.

The 25-year-old may not change his stance until the Blaugrana pay his deferred wages. United have been waiting for him to resolve his future, but Chelsea’s interest could be a blow for them.

The Red Devils have spent the past few months negotiating for the Netherlands star, but it is quite evident that the midfielder is prioritising Champions League football for next season.

This would hand Chelsea with a big advantage over United if De Jong decides to eventually move on from Barcelona.

Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic have been the regular midfielders since Tuchel arrived at the club, but Jorginho and Kante have shown signs of regression over the past 12 months.

De Jong would be an undisputed starter for the Blues if he were to join them. He likes to operate from a deep-lying position, and has excellent ball control, awareness with quality distribution.

He is also superb when it comes to dribbling his way into the opposition half. His arrival at Stamford Bridge could pave the way for the departures of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Billy Gilmour.

Conor Gallagher could stay as the fifth-choice midfielder in the squad. Loftus-Cheek has impressed from right wing-back in pre-season, but Chelsea are also aiming to bolster the position this summer.

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