Chelsea have blocked a move for centre Malang Sarr so far this summer as they look to strengthen their own defence before they let anyone else leave amid interest from Fulham.
The newly promoted side were interested in Sarr, among four options to strengthen their backline, with the west London club heading into the new season with just two centre-backs at their disposal.
‘We cannot be now five weeks in the pre-season with two central defenders’ the Fulham boss explained just days before the new campaign.
As a result, the Cottagers have tabled bids for four central defenders, which includes Sarr as well as West Ham defender Issa Diop. However, West Ham have refused to negotiate for Diop following the injury to new signing Nayef Aguerd, while the Blues are also not keen to allow Frenchman Sarr to depart yet.
‘Chelsea have blocked a move for Sarr until they sign a new centre-back themselves’, the London Evening Standard report.
Chelsea targeting new blood
So far, Chelsea are down one man from last season in their backline. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have both left the club, while protracted chases have so far only seen them end up with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
They have missed out on several high-profile targets, including Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt, Presnel Kimpembe and Nathan Ake, and though they have switched their focus to Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, they have been told that it will cost at least £80m to sign the Frenchman.
Chelsea are also targeting RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, though the Croatian has reiterated his desire to stay in Germany this summer.
For now, however, they need to rely on Sarr with the new season less than a week away and current options thin.