Chelsea to insert buy-back clause as fans protest exit of promising defender to Brighton

Chelsea defender Levi Colwill on loan at Huddersfield Town

Chelsea fans are dismayed at the exit of yet another young defender from the Academy system but Thomas Tuchel is reportedly ‘adamant’ that he needs experienced defenders rather than rookies.

Levi Colwill enjoyed an outstanding loan with Huddersfield Town last season and has become a cause celebre among Chelsea fans, who have watched Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi be sold by the club in recent summers.

But Tuchel is now leading transfer policy at Chelsea and he wants the club to buy ‘two new high-level centre-backs’ to replace the departed Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer.

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Colwill is seen as expendable and he will join Brighton this summer – not in a part-exchange deal for left-sided target Marc Cucurella, but in a separate deal with a buy-back clause.

Malang Sarr is also available for transfer but he will not be allowed to leave until Chelsea get one more centre-back through the door, according to The Athletic. Fulham have made an approach for the Frenchman.

The Chelsea defence that played Udinese on Friday night contained both Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, both of whom would like to leave the Blues for Barcelona this summer. But that will only be possible if Chelsea can bring in Cucurella and at least one other defender.

Cucurella is seen as an option for left wing-back, left-back and the left side of defence and as such would be an Alonso replacement, while Inter Milan right wing-back Denzel Dumfries is a target for the right side, which might allow Reece James to move inside and play as a right-sided centre-half.

There is some interest in Leicester defender Wesley Fofana, but the price for that particular Frenchman is in the £80-85m bracket and that is seen as a little steep for Chelsea’s liking.

When those are the prices being quoted, it’s little wonder that Chelsea will opt to pay the £50m Brighton are asking for Cucurella, who is said to be keen on a move to Chelsea after seeing Manchester City baulk at his asking price.

It’s quite an extensive transfer round-up from The Athletic with other claims including…

  • Chelsea’s interest in Frenkie De Jong is described as ‘one to watch but one that is unlikely to move rapidly forward this week’.
  • Newcastle are the only credible Premier League suitor for Timo Werner but his preference is to move back to Germany.
  • Kepa is likely to go on loan to Napoli in a move designed to create a market for the Spanish goalkeeper, who attracted no interest even at less than half the price Chelsea paid for his services.