Chelsea reportedly have three names in mind as they look to replace veteran defender Thiago Silva in 2022.
The Brazilian, capped 101 times at international level, has been great for Chelsea since joining in August last year. He has helped the Blues to lift both the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup.
Silva’s experience is brushing off on the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Trevor Chalobah. All three have improved no end in the last few months.
However, his Stamford Bridge fairytale will not last forever. Chelsea have a strict policy for players such as Silva that are over the age of 30.
They tend to only put one-year contracts on the table. That means the centre-back could leave once his current deal expires in June.
Recent reports state that he could re-join Fluminense in his home country. It would give Silva the chance to end his career back at where it began.
That leaves Chelsea with a dilemma. They need to find his long-term replacement, while also tying down Rudiger and Christensen to new deals.
The Daily Mail, citing Eurosport, claim that the Blues are keeping tabs on three highly-rated central defenders.
They are only likely to sign one in the summer of 2022 but want to keep their options open until then.
The first name on the three-man shortlist is Sevilla’s Jules Kounde. He is already one of their top players and is starting to make his mark on the French national team.
Chelsea submitted a significant bid for him this year but had it knocked back. Sevilla chief Monchi revealed that they did not meet his €80m (£67.4m) price tag.
But they could do so next time round if the situation gets more desperate. Another defender being considered is Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus.
The Dutchman made headlines two years ago when he joined Juve in a €75m deal. He has since won one Serie A title and one Coppa Italia.
He has a huge release clause, worth £103m, which activates upon the start of the summer transfer window.
It will be hard to prize him away from Turin as Juve chiefs see the starlet as Giorgio Chiellini’s long-term replacement.
The final name on Chelsea’s shortlist is Villarreal hero Pau Torres. The Spaniard helped his boyhood side to win their first major honour last season.
They beat Man Utd 11-10 on penalties in the Europa League final. Torres is a talented ball-playing defender who should cost less than the other two stars.
His release clause is supposedly £56m. The main block to get over would be convincing the 24-year-old to leave Villarreal.
Dortmund monitoring Chelsea trio
Meanwhile, TEAMtalk has learned that three Chelsea attackers are being watched by Borussia Dortmund.
The Bundesliga side are preparing for Erling Haaland to leave in the summer. He will likely be signed by one of Europe’s elite once his £68m release clause activates.
Dortmund will need a new centre-forward and winger to replace his goals. As such, they are looking at Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic.
All three have struggled so far this campaign, due to various issues. Dortmund reckon they can get the best out of whoever they choose to sign.
They have asked Chelsea to be kept up to date on the trio’s availability. That will make them frontrunners to complete a deal if one of the stars becomes free to leave.