If Jorginho chooses to sign a pre-contract agreement with Barcelona at the turn of the year, Chelsea will soon be on the hunt for a new holding midfielder. The Italian playmaker is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the current season, allowing him to begin talks with overseas teams in January in an effort to ensure his future beyond the current campaign.
According to reports, Barcelona have decided on Jorginho to replace Sergio Busquets in the centre of the field. Jorginho has been instrumental for Chelsea since joining the club in the summer of 2018 after being acquired from Napoli. According to Sport, the player’s agent, Joao Santos, recently visited Spain to negotiate a contract in principle that would see Jorginho join the Catalan giants in time for the next season.
If Jorginho ends up joining Barcelona, Chelsea will need to find a new starting midfielder, as N’Golo Kante has yet to sign a contract extension to keep him at Stamford Bridge beyond the current season. The Blues will have a plethora of choices to consider when it comes to finding Jorginho’s long-term replacement, whether they enter the market in January or wait until next summer.
If Chelsea are obliged to invest the cash on a new midfield lynchpin in the coming weeks and months, Express Sport looks at three possible targets.
Bellingham, who has consistently shown himself as one of Europe’s top midfielders in recent seasons for club and country, is perhaps the best option for Chelsea. As a consequence of his all-around skill and enormous potential at the tender age of 19, he is generally predicted to depart Borussia Dortmund for greener pastures at the conclusion of the season.
However, Chelsea would need to offer a deal that Bellingham cannot pass down in order to scoop him up ahead of the competition given that many other high-profile teams will be keeping a close watch on him over the next several months. While West Ham’s willingness to spend large during preseason suggests that a mega-money fee would not be a deal-breaker, Dortmund’s nine-figure asking price might potentially prove to be an issue.
There has been speculation about Rice returning to Chelsea for a while now, and with his contract at West Ham scheduled to expire in the summer of 2024, he may be on the move at the conclusion of the season. It’s very unlikely that the Hammers would agree to a trade in January, but they may feel pressured to sell if Rice enters the last year of his contract and doesn’t agree to extend it.
However, they are not likely to sell without a substantial profit, so bringing him to Stamford Bridge next summer would need Chelsea to once again spend lavishly. However, if the Blues find themselves in a position where they need to find a long-term successor for Jorginho, the Blues would be wise to make a move for Rice.
“Frenkie de Jong”
Reportedly interested in acquiring De Jong from Barcelona this past summer, Chelsea’s plans were derailed by the Dutchman’s absolute determination to ever leave the Nou Camp. Still, De Jong’s lacklustre play for Barcelona this season may make him more receptive to a January transfer to Chelsea.
Despite not leaving Barcelona in preseason, the 25-year-old could be signed for less money than Bellingham or Rice. According to reports, Barcelona was willing to sell him for around £65 million. Despite making 15 appearances this season, De Jong has yet to record an assist in all competitions, which may prompt Chelsea to look elsewhere.
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