Chelsea identify three centre-back targets and are ready to cash in on Kurt Zouma

Tuchel on Zouma

Chelsea will look to improve their defence this summer window and have drawn up a three-man shortlist of transfer targets, with Kurt Zouma likely to be sold to make way.

A new centre-back was on Lampard’s agenda last summer, though he had to settle for Thiago Silva, and successor Thomas Tuchel is also keen to bolster his backline despite a fine defensive record.

According to The Athletic, the blues are looking to sign an ‘imposing’ leader at the back and have already identified three players who fit the bill.

At the top of their wish-list is Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule, though the German club would be reluctant to let allow him leave particularly with David Alaba departing when his contract expires this summer window.

Another option is Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez, who has thrived for Diego Simeone’s side once again this campaign, though they would demand a huge fee.

Chelsea are also interested in another Bundesliga central defender, RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate, with the player also on the radar of Manchester United.

If Chelsea manage to sign a new top-class centre-back, at least one of their existing defenders will need to be sold in order to make room.

Both Antonio Rudiger and Christensen were frozen out under Lampard but have delivered improved performances under Tuchel and may have saved their careers at Stamford Bridge, with the duo in line for new contracts.

That leaves Kurt Zouma as the most likely player to leave and Chelsea have tried to sell him in the past, though Lampard was adamant he should stay and the Frenchman was in fine form at the start of the season.

But he has played just two games under Tuchel – who doubts his ball-playing abilities – and is now the fifth choice centre-back option behind Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta.

Although he has two years left on his contract, Chelsea would hope to get a good fee for Zouma in addition to the £24.2m buy option they hope AC Milan will trigger to sign Fikayo Tomori.


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