Chelsea are in pole position to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after a number of rival suitors were put off by the €100 million (£90m/$112m) price tag being placed on him this summer.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on club finances across the European football landscape means few clubs can match the resources at Stamford Bridge this summer and, as such, it has left them leading the race for the 21-year-old.
Havertz, however, wants to play Champions League football at his next club, and Frank Lampard’s side are yet to confirm their place in the competition for next season.
They currently sit fourth in the Premier League table, two points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United and five clear of Wolves in sixth with five matches of the campaign to play.
Should a club meet his valuation, then Leverkusen will agree to sell Havertz.
But the Bundesliga outfit’s sporting director, Rudi Voller, is hopeful that he can keep his club’s prized asset for another season .
“There is nothing specific, nothing to report. As of now, he is our player,” Voller told Bild . “We have our ideas, we know what he can do. I personally hope that he stays one more year. We have an agreement: if it works, he can go this summer.”
If Havertz was to remain at the BayArena for one more season it would also be a boost for other clubs with a long-standing interest in the Germany international, such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Neither Bayern nor Real are ready to consider a move until 2021.
Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently told Sport1 : “I say very clearly, financially a transfer for Havertz will not be possible this year. It’s my wish for Rudi Voller that he stays one more year in Leverkusen.”
Havertz is happy to move to the Premier League, and Chelsea currently have no competition from within England at this stage, with their key rivals either not having the money or not prioritising a player of his profile.
After effectively sitting out two transfer windows due to a ban on signing new players, Chelsea have already moved to secure the signatures of Hakim Ziyech and Havertz’s compatriot Timo Werner ahead of next season, with the pair costing a combined £84m ($105m).
Werner has since declined the opportunity to return to Leipzig in order to play the Champions League quarter-finals in August and, should Leverkusen agree to sell Havertz before the resumption of the Europa League, he will not play in those matches either.
Leverkusen played their final domestic fixture of the season on Saturday, losing 4-2 to Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal final, with Havertz scoring his 17th goal of the season in what could be his final match for the club.
Chelsea are also seeking to reinforce their defence this summer, and are keen on the addition of a left-back in that shape of Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell .
The Foxes are not keen on selling the England international, however, with Harry Maguire’s world-record £80m move to Manchester United setting a precedent for how the club will deal with selling their best assets.
Elsewhere, West Ham’s Declan Rice is a long-term target of Chelsea’s, but the prospect of an imminent move is not looking likely after David Moyes’ side’s hopes of staying in the Premier League were boosted by a 3-2 win over Chelsea last week.
Chelsea are also considering players sales while they plan to re-open talks over renewing in-form winger Willian’s contract in the coming weeks.