Chelsea have considered moving for Manchester United’s James Garner and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves if they are unable to tempt midfielder Frenkie De Jong from Barcelona, according to journalist Simon Phillips.
Thomas Tuchel has overseen a hectic few months of business at Stamford Bridge but still has time to strengthen further ahead of the September 1 deadline.
What is the latest on De Jong?
Reports in Spain have suggested that Chelsea are willing to wait as long as it takes to sign the 25-year-old this summer, with Tuchel making the pass-master his top priority.
However, it is understood that De Jong remains happy at the Camp Nou and wants to remain with the La Liga giants beyond the end of the transfer window.
But the Netherlands international remains adamant he is owed £17 million in deferred wages by Barcelona after taking a paycut in the pandemic. However, Joan Laporta and the current board insist the contract given out by their predecessors is illegal.
Chelsea remain ready to sign both De Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the club but it may be time to sound out some other options in midfield.
What has Phillips said on the hunt for midfielders?
Phillips understands that Chelsea have started to eye alternatives amid the complex backdrop of De Jong’s Barcelona saga.
The journalist pointed to two names in particular who each have varying levels of top-flight experience.
Phillips told GIVEMESPORT: “A couple of names that I do know Chelsea have considered for central midfield in recent weeks is James Garner from Manchester United, who could be available this window, and they’ve also considered Ruben Neves. But nothing has moved at the moment on them so I think Chelsea are probably still deciding whether they need to get another centre midfielder if they can’t get De Jong.”
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Should Chelsea move for Garner or Neves?
If Chelsea were to sign De Jong this summer, it would arguably be a significant upgrade on all their other options at Stamford Bridge, so it is easy to see why they are attracted to him.
Can the same be said about Garner and Neves? Probably not. But with United willing to sell their highly-rated prospect for just £15 million, it makes sense that the Blues are at least considering a move.
It emerged earlier in the window that Wolves were demanding £75 million for Neves and it is very hard to see Chelsea paying such a figure for the 25-year-old, especially when there are still other areas to strengthen.