Chelsea are bracing themselves for a Real Madrid approach, as a £72 million transfer looks possible this summer.
The Blues are readying themselves for a brand new era under Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine's first job to trim the bloated squad that owner Todd Boehly has assembled over the past 12 months. Chelsea have brought in around £600m of talent under their new ownership – but there has been a real lack of firepower up front at Stamford Bridge.
According to German outlet Bild, Los Blancos are targeting Kai Havertz to replace the iconic French No.9, with Chelsea said to want to recoup the £72m they paid.
Havertz became the west Londoners' record signing when he joined in 2020 but has struggled to adapt to the side under successive managers, featuring most often as a lone striker. His finishing has been criticised – scoring just 32 times in 139 appearances – but that hasn't stopped the likes of Bayern Munich being rumoured to want him, too.
Bild are confident that the deal is close to happening, too, with Real boss Carlo Ancelotti having identified the German as a good replacement in terms of holdup play for Benzema.
Real are said to hold an interest in Harry Kane, too, while Christopher Nkunku's imminent move to Chelsea means that Pochettino will have an immediate replacement for Havertz.
"Nkunku is joining from RB Leipzig – that was pre-agreed and has never been in doubt," transfer expert Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports told FourFourTwo on June 1. "He can play as a No.9 but Chelsea will still want another striker – and that’s unlikely to be Romelu Lukaku returning from Inter, because his preference is stay there."
Havertz is valued at €60m by Transfermarkt.
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Romelu Lukaku has also been mooted for a return to the squad, though outgoings are inevitable. Mason Mount is linked with a Premier League move, as N'Golo Kante may well join Arsenal.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.