Chelsea have struck an agreement to sign 19-year-old Rennes midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu, 90min understands.
The Blues are keen to bolster in midfield this summer and have focused their efforts on Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, recently seeing a bid of £80m rejected for the Ecuador international.
Caicedo sits at the top of a lengthy midfield shortlist which also includes targets who fit into Chelsea’s model of buying high-potential youngsters for the future. Sources have confirmed Blues officials have moved to bring in one of those young stars by striking a deal for Ugochukwu.
A fee of around £25m has been agreed with Rennes, who have now granted the teenager permission to undergo a medical.
A final decision over Ugochukwu’s immediate future has not yet been made, with Chelsea open to sending the 19-year-old on loan to new sister side Strasbourg for more senior experience.
Chelsea also hope to use Strasbourg to finalise a deal for Dynamo Moscow midfielder Arsen Zakharyan, while Montpellier striker Elye Wahi could also be loaned to the French side if a deal can be reached.
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Ugochukwu has spent the majority of his senior career playing at the base of Rennes’ midfield, with the towering youngster racking up 60 appearances for Les Rouge et Noirs since his debut in April 2021.
Before that debut, Ugochukwu was on the bench for Rennes when they travelled to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Champions League group stage in the 2020/21 season.
“I went to Chelsea and I saw Stamford Bridge,” Ugochukwu recently recalled to The Athletic. “When you go from being a kid seeing it on the TV and then being there, you’re like ‘Wow!’.”
Elsewhere, Chelsea have not yet abandoned their pursuit of Caicedo and are expected to return with an improved bid for the 21-year-old.
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