Chelsea want Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele
Chelsea want Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele as new owner Todd Boehly looks to provide Thomas Tuchel’s squad a jolt of energy to revitalise the club
- Todd Boehly will provide Thomas Tuchel with funds to do business this summer
- The club will pursue new forwards to freshen up the squad under the German
- Following Romelu Lukaku’s departure Chelsea will now look to bring players in
Chelsea have both Ousmane Dembele and Raheem Sterling in their sights, with the club poised for a summer spend of more than £150million as manager Thomas Tuchel revitalises his forward line.
Tuchel sees the Barcelona and Manchester City attacking players as the perfect fit. And heading negotiations will be Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly, the interim sporting director and go-to man for player representatives, as the American billionaire takes a surprisingly hands-on approach to the club. He met Jorge Mendes, agent to Cristiano Ronaldo, last week in Portugal in his attempt to get to know all the key players in the European transfer market.
Boehly has replaced Bruce Buck as chairman and taken on the duties of director Marina Granovskaia. Last Wednesday, Boehly met Chelsea academy director Neil Bath in Portugal, as he seeks to understand the detail of running the club.
Raheem Sterling has been identified by Chelsea as one of their major targets this summer
Granovskaia is making the necessary introductions for the new owner but with Roman Abramovich’s closest aide on her way out, Boehly wll have to lean on Tuchel for football advice
Chelsea will appoint a sporting director this year and are expected to go back to Liverpool’s former transfer chief, Michael Edwards, whom they have already approached, as have Manchester United.
Boehly, an advocate of data-led recruitment, would welcome Edwards, as he made that model work at Liverpool.
The England international has fallen down the pecking order at Manchester City and is out of contract next summer
Similarly, Chelsea are likely to see an upgrade on the status of their analytics team under Boehly. The board has considerable experience in the field, with non-executive director Danny Finkelstein an early adopter, having hired Ian Graham, Liverpool’s current director of research, for his newspaper column on football data in 2005.
But for now, the voice of Tuchel and his coaching team will be the most dominant when it comes to football decisions, with Boehly in charge of negotiations.
Chelsea are pursuing ambitious targets in line with both the chairman’s promises on buying the club and the business model of his franchise the LA Dodgers, among the most active recruiters and best payers in baseball.
Barcelona wish for Ousmane Dembele to stay but Chelsea can offer the player more money in total than the cash-strapped Catalan club
Dembele’s situation is complex. Although he is out of contract at Barca, coach Xavi does not want him to go. Dembele, 25, is open to staying at Barcelona, but not on his current wages, worth around £150,000 a week.
Chelsea can offer something similar as well as a large signing-on fee that would make his deal worth around £200,000 a week over four years. Barcelona’s £1billion of debt means they have to stick to a budget because of financial fair play rules.
Tuchel has spoken admiringly of Dembele, having coached him as a teenager at Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17 before his sensational £135m transfer to Barcelona at the age of 20. A bid for Ronaldo is not expected but Tuchel has spoken with Sterling, who has just one year left on his contract at City and would cost around £60m. The 27-year-old England international is weighing up his options and wants to make a decision within the next two weeks so that he is able to start pre-season training with his new club should he leave. But Chelsea also need centre halves.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have lost defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this window already
With Barcelona likely to sign Chelsea’s long-time target Jules Kounde from Sevilla, Tuchel and Boehly’s interest may shift to Juventus’s Matthijs de Ligt. The Dutchman has a £103m release clause yet only two years left on his deal, meaning Chelsea could get him for much less.
Tuchel has lost Andreas Christensen to Barcelona and Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid, and now Barca appear keen on either Cesar Azpilicueta or Marcos Alonso.
But Boehly will be eager to make an impression at Chelsea this summer. Talking about his experiences at the LA Dodgers after buying them in 2012, he has emphasised the importance of ‘getting the energy going’ by doing ‘a lot of transactions early on’.
The Dodgers brought in a string of A-list players and became the best-paying franchise. ‘That was a jolt of energy as we wanted to get fans back in a stadium and feel passionate about winning,’ Boehly said.
Thomas Tuchel will be in charge of the football decisions with Todd Boehly taking on the negotiations with clubs
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