Having leapfrogged Manchester United to the front of the willing customers for Frenkie de Jong, Chelsea are now under pressure to secure the signing with Erik ten Hag’s new midfield plan having a key impact on how Todd Boehly acts this summer.
The Blues are still trying to bring the Dutch midfielder to London this summer despite his desire to remain in Spain, but could yet take advantage of a so-far unpredictable sequence of events to pull off one of the shock moves of the window.
Todd Boehly is willing to pay around £70million to buy the 25-year-old but will only be able to if he gets the feeling that De Jong’s own camp have changed their tune. He currently wants to stay at Barcelona where he is happy, though the Catalan club have imposed a controversial ultimatum. Xavi’s side would now like De Jong to take a 50% pay cut to stay at the club.
With the addition of there being £17million worth of owed deferred wages and no timescale as to when it might be paid, or if it could still be issued if he was to leave. This has all meant that Chelsea, despite being favourites ahead of Manchester United to sign their midfield target, are still left without much control of the deal.
Now they might have even less say in how things work out as United bounce back and push a small merry-go-round into action, at Chelsea’s expense. This is because, according to Nick Purewal, Juventus will go after Jorginho this summer once Adrien Rabiot departs the club.
The French midfielder is set to join Manchester United, and with Paul Pogba injured, the Serie A side could look to sign a long-term target. The Old Lady held interest in Jorginho when he was signed by Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea and furthermore wanted him again when the current Lazio manager took over three years ago.
Jorginho has also never been one to remain quiet in public with his agent speaking regularly about his future. Although this has become less of an issue due to his key first team role under Tuchel, there is a feeling that he would be open to a move back to Italy should it arise, after his representative previously said: “He has a contract with Chelsea until [June] 2023. Obviously, it would be a dream for him to return to Italy, hopefully after winning the World Cup.”
Now, Jorginho and Italy will not be at the World Cup, and there is no progress being made with his contract either as both he and N’Golo Kante are in the final year of their deals. This is realistically Chelsea’s last chance to get some of the £50milllion they paid for him back, and they would prefer not to have a repeat of the Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger situation next summer.
So if Chelsea were to have an offer made for the Italian there is a chance it would be accepted, though given Mateo Kovacic’s injury, Kante’s own fitness issues and the lack of a defensive midfielder in the squad, the Blues would have to make some serious progress with De Jong before sanctioning this move.
If De Jong stalls and Chelsea are still left looking elsewhere as a bid for Jorginho came in then there might be a frantic late push for a new midfielder as well as Wesley Fofana and at least one more attacking addition too.