Chelsea have marked Sevilla's Jules Kounde as their centre-back of the future after a deal for Manchester City's Nathan Ake fell apart.
An agreement had been taking shape to bring 27-year-old Ake back to Stamford Bridge – where he began his Premier League career – before City decided to retain the services of the Netherlands international.
Instead, 23-year-old Kounde is now in Chelsea's sights, likely as a long-term solution after also securing 31-year-old centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for a fee reportedly just shy of £34million.
TOP STORY – CHELSEA ENTER THE KOUNDE RACE
Kounde has already racked up 150 games of top league experience between his time with Bordeaux in Ligue 1 and Sevilla in LaLiga, and is expected to cost in the range of £56million, according to ESPN.
The France international, with 11 senior caps for his country, also has an impeccable injury history, tallying 184 appearances in all club competitions in just the past four seasons, with no significant injuries.
Chelsea will be mainly competing against Barcelona, with the Spanish giants reportedly already agreeing to personal terms with Kounde, and reports claim they are willing to exchange Memphis Depay or Sergino Dest to get a deal done.
Barcelona may be unable to afford the move unless Sevilla are willing to take back a player, as their £65m deal for Raphinha and their chase of Robert Lewandowski could restrict their financial flexibility
– Aston Villa have placed a £20million price tag on 18-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka to try to fend off interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Newcastle United, according to Talksport.
– The Athletic is reporting that 29-year-old Jesse Lingard is considering a highly paid move to Saudi Arabia.
– According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are set to agree to personal terms with Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko.
– Sky Sport in Germany claims Bayern Munich are close to securing Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt for around €80million.
– The Independent is reporting that William Saliba will try to push his way out of Arsenal if he is not guaranteed a place in Mikel Arteta's starting line-up, with Marseille and Atletico Madrid named as interested parties.