Pete O'Rourke transfer column: Chelsea turn attention to Aston Villa star, West Ham brace for bidding war, Newcastle chase English centre-back
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Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival as the next Blues manager is imminent, and he’s a huge fan of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.
Sources tell me that Pochettino sees Martinez as ideal to come in and solve Chelsea’s goalscoring problems in time for the 2023-24 campaign.
The Londoners have been linked with the likes of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Napoli star Victor Osimhen – but I’m told a deal for Martinez is seen as more affordable and attainable.
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They are now turning full attention to the World Cup winner, who could cost around £70million with Inter set to qualify for the Champions League once again.
The player himself is interested in a move to the Premier League if the right opportunity arises, and Man United are also monitoring his situation.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper is another priority position for Chelsea in the summer window.
I’m told Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez features on the Blues’ shortlist – even though they are aware it will take a huge fee to lure him away from the Midlands giants.
Martinez wants to fulfil his ambitions of winning more silverware after his World Cup triumph – and other top clubs are also monitoring his situation.
Brentford’s David Raya and Inter Milan shot-stopper Andre Onana are also on the shortlist for Chelsea and Pochettino.
The incoming Blues boss would love to keep contract rebel Mason Mount, I’m told.
He will hold talks with Mount, who is out of contract in June 2024, but will have no influence on the final financial offer made to him.
The midfielder is still no closer to signing a new deal, and Chelsea will sell this summer if an agreement cannot be found. They don’t want to lose him on a free transfer in 2024.
Liverpool have made Mount a top target, while Man United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich are also interested.
There is likely to be a big turnaround of players this summer as Chelsea look to balance the books and trim the squad.
Mount is likely to leave the club, while Mateo Kovacic is in a similar position to his fellow midfielder.
He is the subject of interest from Man City, Man United and Bayern Munich.
Hakim Ziyech is also expected to be one of the first names out of the door – with Chelsea needing to ship players out in order to land a new goalkeeper, central midfielder and striker.
READ MORE EXCLUSIVE CHELSEA NEWS AND PUNDIT VIEWS
The Irons are one of the sides chasing red-hot Strasbourg striker Habib Diallo.
I’m told scouts from West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Brighton and Fulham watched him score a brace in a 2-0 win over Nice on Saturday (13 May) and left impressed.
Diallo has scored 20 Ligue 1 goals this season, and Premier League clubs are now preparing offers as the summer window approaches.
He has two years left on his contract, and I’m told the French club are hoping for a bidding war.
Sources tell me a fee of £20million would likely be enough to land Diallo, who would jump at the chance of a Premier League move.
West Ham are targeting yet another striker in the summer window, calling into question the futures of their other forwards as they look to raise transfer funds.
I’m told Danny Ings is unlikely to be moved on after only joining the club from Aston Villa in January.
However, sources say Michail Antonio could pursue more regular first-team football at a different club after almost moving on in the winter window.
Gianluca Scamacca is attracting interest from Italy with his big-money move to West Ham yet to come to fruition.
I’m told West Ham are also interested in signing Man City defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis, who has shone on loan at Burnley this season.
Newcastle and Fulham are also keen on the England Under-21 international – but Man City are yet to reach a final decision on whether to sanction an exit with just one year remaining on his contract.
READ MORE EXCLUSIVE WEST HAM NEWS AND PUNDIT VIEWS
The Clarets will be right in the mix for Harwood-Bellis’ signature if he becomes available, however.
I’m told Vincent Kompany has built a good understanding and mutual admiration with the centre-back during their spells together at Anderlecht and Burnley.
Kompany is also keen to raid his former club for goalkeeper sensation James Trafford.
Trafford has been one of the best goalkeepers in League One on loan at Bolton this season, and the Burnley boss watched him in action during the playoff semi-final draw against Barnsley on Saturday (13 May).
I’m told Kompany feels the “star in the making” would be a good addition to his squad for their return to the Premier League next season.
Trafford is seen as hugely ambitious but will find it hard to break into the Man City squad, potentially opening the door to a Burnley move.
The Clarets are keen to add a new goalkeeper and will explore all options – loan and permanent – to strike a summer deal, sources tell me.
In the event of a permanent switch, I’m told Trafford could be prised away from the Etihad Stadium for a fee of around £15million.
Meanwhile, Kompany has spoken publicly about the future of Wout Weghorst – insisting he will have a “conversation” with the forward when this season finishes.
Man United have declined to do a permanent deal for the forward, and I’m told he will return to Burnley this summer.
Kompany will look at him during pre-season, but sources tell me it is unlikely Weghorst will fit into his plans going forwards.
Burnley want to move for a new striker in the summer window, while Besiktas are waiting in the wings to resign Weghorst.
READ MORE EXCLUSIVE BURNLEY NEWS AND PUNDIT VIEWS