Chelsea fans will be ecstatic at the notion of pulling the wool over the eyes of Premier League champions Manchester City after the Blues have pulled comfortably ahead in the race to sign Brighton’s Spanish international left-back Marc Cucurella.
It was widely expected that the former Barcelona and Getafe defender would seal a move and operate on the left side of Pep Guardiola’s back four in the upcoming 2022-23 campaign, but the champions balked at the negotiating table after Brighton held their ground well regarding their transfer demands, with the Seagulls holding out for £50m for the 24-year-old.
The situation changed as of earlier today, however, with The Daily Mail’s Craig Hope initially reporting that Chelsea was exploring the option to stump up the full fee that Brighton has been seeking, which now seems to have turned to reality in Hope’s latest update.
Talks are now said to have accelerated with Chelsea now in line to beat City to the Spaniard, which will leave Guardiola frustrated after watching Oleksandr Zinchencko depart the Etihad Stadium for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project earlier in the transfer window.
Despite Chelsea still having England international Ben Chilwell on the wage bill, a move for Cucurella could potentially see boss Thomas Tuchel tap into the players’ tactical versatility and utilize him as a left-sided center-back as part of his preferred back three deployment.
Much of that will undoubtedly come down to whether or not the Blues will be able to convince Bundesliga upstarts RB Leipzig to part ways with highly-touted Croatian center-back Joško Gvardiol this window in a swap deal that would see out of favor - and former RBL leading man - Timo Werner return to Saxony in a bid to reignite his form ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Should Gvardiol be added to the deal that saw Senegalese veteran Kalidou Koulibaly arrive in west London, it can certainly be postulated that Cucurella would be in line to fight Chilwell for minutes at left-back. If the Blues miss out on Gvardiol, or Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana, then the Spanish defender could see rotation in the heart of the defense with central options lacking past the aforementioned Koulibaly and Brazilian icon Thiago Silva.
What is clear, however, is that new co-owner Todd Boehly has taken the reins at Stamford Bridge with both hands and has tackled the summer window with aggression.
Even if the club did miss out on a move for Jules Koundé, and could still miss out on Fofana if Newcastle secures a deal for James Maddison before terms for the Frenchman are struck, Boehley has wasted no time in putting his stamp on the club after already sanctioning £80m on Koulibaly and England star Raheem Sterling.
As more deals are anticipated to be secured by Chelsea before the conclusion of the summer window, the Blues could well be in the thick of the fight in the title race this season after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign that saw them finish nearly twenty points behind City and Liverpool.