MAURICIO IN THE MIDDLE
CHELSEA will reportedly focus on signing midfielders this summer with next season’s No.9 already in place.
New manager Mauricio Pochettino is planning a busy summer at Stamford Bridge after his appointment was confirmed on Monday.
Mauricio Pochettino will focus on midfielders in the transfer window
Christopher Nkunku will be Poch’s No.9
Pochettino will officially replace caretaker boss Frank Lampard on July 1 but has already began overhauling his squad.
The midfield has been identified as a key area for reinforcements, with The Guardian reporting that new midfielders are seen as more of a priority than a striker.
Instead, Chelsea are said to have identified Christopher Nkunku as their striker for the 2023-24 season.
Nkunku is set to join the Blues when the transfer window opens after signing a pre-contract agreement with the club last year.
The Frenchman, who currently plays for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, has primarily played behind the main striker but does have experience in the position.
He scored 22 goals for Leipzig in 35 appearances across all competitions last season.
With their striker for next season decided, Chelsea are looking at midfield reinforcements.
Manuel Ugarte is currently seen as a the first-choice target, with a substantial bid tabled amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
Manchester United have also now joined the race for the Sporting Lisbon star and could hijack Chelsea’s move for Ugarte, who has a £52million release clause.
Other midfield targets include French trio Khephren Thuram, Adrien Rabiot and Manu Kone.
Declan Rice has also been mooted as an option.
Pochettino’s midfield overhaul also extends to departures, with Denis Zakaria loan ending and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in talks with AC Milan.
There is also major uncertainty over Mason Mount with the club unable to agree a new contract with the England international.
Manuel Ugarte is thought to be one of Chelsea’s top target.
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