Todd Boehly faces Christopher Nkunku January conundrum as Chelsea get transfer competition



Graham  Potter isn’t hanging around with his plans for Chelsea’s squad as January already looks to be a busy month for the Blues in terms of transfers. Having spent £250million on incoming players as well as getting rid of ageing and underperforming squad players or serial loanees, Todd Boehly’s rapid-fire and major surgery of the team was highly publicised, but it was never going to be a one-window thing.

Chelsea will have known that not being able to conduct business earlier than June was always likely to hurt them in the bid to lure players to the club or get a heads up on the competition, but it truly became a struggle with transfers, especially as deals were negotiated long into the window – never a sign of good planning.

Not much of that was down to Boehly, admittedly, and everything he has done since has been more than proactive, some would certainly go as far as to say it has been hasty. By shifting out old directors and footballing decision makers in Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech, Boehly and Behdad Eghbali became the interim sporting directors over the summer.

Like moving into a new house and cleaning it up, at least it was their mess from then on in. No blame can be shifted away from the current group, but that’s how they wanted it. Since then, the active role in making wholesale changes throughout the club has continued.

Thomas Tuchel has most notably departed, talks to bring in a new technical and sporting director – as well as advisors – have been plentiful. Joe Shields is expected to join as a head of recruitment from Southampton and Graham Potter has a team of staff on the job as well.

All of this is muddled and immediately frantic, but the plan is to get a head-start on the competition, and that’s just what Chelsea have done. They will be using connections made over the summer to try and lure Jude Bellingham to the club , Declan Rice will be pushed and probed for, while Edson Alvarez is also a target.

The beauty of now having a team at the club that can do business is that these can all be started on now, and they have. The Mirror report that Boehly is not content with agreeing a deal in-principle to sign Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig – with precursory medical checks already completed – and would like to move the signing from summer 2023 to January if possible.

Chelsea’s insistence on getting ahead of the game, understands, has meant that a figure larger than his £52.8million release clause could be paid to the German side , that may well rise again if the Blues are to get it over the line in January. Their path to signing Leandro Trossard, who Potter is a big admirer of from his days at Brighton, could be less straightforward, though. It is reported that he is also a target for Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid. Trossard has impressed in the last 18-months and started the campaign brightly with five goals and two assists.

There is general confusion over his contract situation, though. Having signed a four-year deal in 2019 his deal was understood to expire next summer, but Potter revealed, as Brighton boss, that there was ‘more than that’ with the indication that an extension may well be in order. This is unlikely to put Chelsea off him, but the threat from Spain could get Boehly into acting early on yet another deal.

Given that Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have both been heavily linked with a move away from the club and both wanted out in the summer, talks of their own exit could reignite in January with Chelsea so open to doing deals in an often quiet month. Rafael Leao is another player they are closely monitoring and the new scouting department will have their own targets as well. There’s a lot of names and a lot of talk, it may seem like a muddled mess, but at least it’s Boehly’s own muddled mess.

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