Chelsea close to agreeing deal for Raphinha but still face battle over move

Thomas Tuchel interested in bringing Dutch centre back Nathan Aké back to the club

Chelsea are close to agreeing a £55m (€64m) deal with Leeds to buy Raphinha, but must convince the Brazilian to snub interest from Arsenal and Barcelona.

The left-winger, who has also been a target for Tottenham, is poised to become the second key player to leave Leeds this summer, after Kalvin Phillips, who is joining Manchester City.

Chelsea have opened talks over City’s Raheem Sterling and also want Raphinha as they rebuild their attack. The picture is similar at Arsenal, who have agreed a deal to buy Gabriel Jesus from City but are targeting his fellow Brazil international Raphinha as well.

Todd Boehly, Chelsea’s co-owner, is ready to back Thomas Tuchel’s desire to bring in two attacking players. Tuchel has considered moves for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé and Everton’s Richarlison, whose main interest has come from Tottenham, but the head coach has focused his immediate attention on Raphinha.

Sterling, who has held talks with Tuchel about life at Stamford Bridge, is expected to cost at least £50m. City are expected to receive Chelsea’s opening offer for the England forward this week.

Chelsea need to improve their quality in the final third and have agreed to loan Romelu Lukaku to Internazionale. Tuchel would like to build a more versatile attack and Raphinha, who can play in a number of roles across the front line, could constitute smart business.

Tuchel is still monitoring Dembélé, who could leave Barcelona on a free. The France winger has not agreed to extend his contract and wants to decide on his future soon. However, his wage demands could be too high for Chelsea, who are yet to make an approach for Richarlison.

Chelsea are also in talks with City over signing Nathan Aké. The centre back came through Chelsea’s academy and is admired by Tuchel. He could replace Antonio Rüdiger as Chelsea’s left-sided centre back.

Tuchel is also looking for a right-sided centre back after the departure of Andreas Christensen. Chelsea are in talks with Juventus over Matthijs de Ligt but if the Dutchman proves too expensive they could make another push to sign Sevilla’s Jules Koundé. Chelsea have also been linked with Inter’s Milan Skriniar, who is a target for Paris Saint-Germain. — Guardian