Chelsea and Barcelona have been at war in the summer transfer window with the Blues now pursuing deals for Frenkie de Jong and Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang.
The Catalan club have been a thorn in the side of Chelsea all summer after hijacking deals for Raphinha and Jules Kounde after the Blues had agreed fees for both players.
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta had been linked with a move to the Camp Nou but has ended speculation over his future after signing a new two-year deal to stay at Stamford Bridge, football.london understands.
football.london also understands that the Blues have opened direct talks with Barca in an effort to secure a deal to sign Frenkie de Jong with Thomas Tuchel keen to add more creativity to his squad.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also been linked with a move to west London with Barcelona looking to off-load high earning star players as their financial problems continue.
The La Liga outfit have asked senior players Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets to take yet another wage cut as the club look to register new signings Kounde, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessie, Pablo Torre and former Blues defender Andreas Christensen ahead of the 2022/23 season, according to journalist Gerard Romero.
The club icons both took significant pay cuts last summer to help ease the club’s financial situation, and have held meetings with Barcelona officials in recent days to discuss further reductions.
Barca president Joan Laporta has attempted to ease Barcelona’s ongoing financial crisis by activating ‘levers’, including selling portions of club-owned properties or TV rights in exchange for cash.
With the Catalan club in need of money, Chelsea could take advantage of the situation and secure deals for both De Jong and Aubameyang, potentially for lower fees with Barca keen to move on high earners from the club.
The former has been linked with a move to Premier League rivals Manchester United this summer but Erik ten Hag’s side have failed to convince the 25-year-old to agree personal terms.
football.london understands the Blues have held a long-term interest in the Netherlands international and could look to secure a cheaper deal for the talented midfielder after CBS journalist Ben Jacobs reported De Jong himself is realising his first team opportunities at the Camp Nou may be limited next season with manager Xavi Hernandez revealing he may use the Dutch star at centre-back on occasions.
Chelsea’s pursuit of De Jong could result in weakening a Premier League rival with Barcelona keen to sign Bernardo Silva from Manchester City, despite asking Pique and Busquets to take a pay cut.
The Blues are also looking at adding another attacker to the squad following Raheem Sterling’s arrival with Timo Werner likely to leave on loan, following Romelu Lukaku out of the door, meaning a deal for former Arsenal star Aubameyang could come to fruition before the transfer deadline.