Exclusive - Chelsea will have to fend off interest from Manchester City if they want to strike a deal for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell.
Frank Lampard's Blues are close to completing a deal to sign RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, which will enable them to turn their attention to fixing their problems at left-back. As first revealed by 90min back in October, neither Marcos Alonso nor Emerson is in the club's long-term plans.
Club scouts have long seen Chilwell as an ideal replacement, and recent reports in the English media have confidently predicted that the Englishman will be on his way to Stamford Bridge this summer. However, a source has confirmed to 90min that Chelsea will still have to compete with City for his signature.
90min understands Chilwell was highlighted as the preferred replacement for Benjamin Mendy in November, with Pep Guardiola growing frustrated with the Frenchman's lifestyle and disciplinary problems. That was before the coronavirus outbreak threatened to impact the club's finances, but City are still happy to involve themselves in a battle for Chilwell's signature.
Both Chelsea and Man City need to move on their current left-back options before being able to launch a bid. Alonso and Emerson both have admirers in Italy and are being pushed out the door by Lampard, but City are struggling to find anyone ready to take Mendy off their hands.
The injury-prone 25-year-old has made just 14 league appearances this season, and his fitness struggles have failed to convince any suitors to launch a bid just yet, leaving Chelsea in a stronger position to get a deal done.
Both clubs are plotting numerous additions this summer and will likely attempt to negotiate a discount on Leicester's £75m price tag to save money in a transfer window in which funds are not as readily available as they once were.
Reports also continue to link Chelsea with cheaper moves for Ajax's Nicolás Tagliafico or Porto's Alex Telles, but it is Chilwell who remains their dream signing.