Sport

Chelsea close to agreeing terms with Aké as Manchester City seek £40m-plus

Chelsea are closing in on the signings of Raheem Sterling and Nathan Aké from Manchester City. Sterling is expected to leave City for £45m plus £10m in add-ons and Aké is understood to be close to agreeing personal terms on a return to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s owners are working hard to strengthen Thomas Tuchel’s squad before the start of the season. It is likely that between £40m and £45m will be enough for them to land Aké, five years after the Dutch centre-back left Chelsea for Bournemouth. City, who bought Aké from Bournemouth in 2019, are not expected to stop the Netherlands international from leaving.

Tuchel is desperate to make additions in defence after losing Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger on free transfers and with doubts over the future of César Azpilicueta. Chelsea’s head coach is a fan of Aké, who can fill a number of positions at the back, and tried to sign him for Borussia Dortmund.

Chelsea will look to make further additions in defence once they have Aké. They are interested in Juventus’s Matthijs de Ligt, Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Sevilla’s Jules Koundé. Bayern Munich are also trying to sign De Ligt.

Attacking signings are another priority for Tuchel. Chelsea agreed personal terms with Sterling this week. They are set to make the 27-year-old forward their highest earner by handing him a five-year deal worth just over £300,000 a week. The England international is not expected to have signed in time to join the squad when they travel to the United States for their pre-season tour on Saturday.

Chelsea hope to following the signing of Sterling by buying Raphinha from Leeds United. They have agreed a £55m fee for the winger, but the Brazilian’s preference is to join Barcelona.

However Barcelona, who have financial problems, are yet to agree a fee. Chelsea could benefit from a difference of opinion at the Camp Nou about whether to hand Ousmane Dembélé a new deal.

Dembélé, a free agent, was expected to extend his contract this week. Xavi Hernández, Barça’s manager, wants the France winger to stay. However Mateu Alemany, the sporting director, spoke out against Dembélé in January and is determined to sign Raphinha.

It is unlikely that Barcelona, who are trying to buy Robert Lewandowski from Bayern, can afford Dembélé and Raphinha. Arsenal are also interested in Raphinha.

Chelsea’s co-owner Todd Boehly flew to Spain for talks with Barcelona officials on Thursday. Barça are trying to sign Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso from Chelsea. It is understood there was also a conversation about Frenkie de Jong. Manchester United are favourites to sign De Jong, but Chelsea are interested in the midfielder.