Chelsea to return for £12.6m ‘modern conductor’ in January having come ‘very close’ in summer

Date published: Saturday 17th September 2022 10:55 - Will Ford

Chelsea target Arsen Zakharyan walks towards play

Chelsea will reportedly ‘seek to complete’ the signing of Dynamo Moscow’s ‘modern conductor’ Arsen Zakharyan in January.

The Blues were interested in signing Zakharyan in the summer having tracked his progress for some time.

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The 19-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for the Russian side in 2021-22, contributing nine goals and nine assists across all competitions.

Zakharyan’s agent Pavel Andreev confirmed that a deal to join Chelsea was close last month, saying: “It’s true. The agreement is close”.

But the Blues couldn’t get the deal over the line in a hectic transfer window for new owner Todd Boehly, which saw the club spend over £250m on seven new additions.

Some of those signings, including Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei, point to a ploy from the new owners to look to the future as well as the present, and Zakharyan would fit with that policy.

L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) confirm that Chelsea ‘came very close’ to landing the teenager in the summer with Dinamo Moscow citing a ‘number of technical reasons’ for them failing to reach an agreement.

The report adds that Chelsea ‘will seek to complete’ the transfer in January and will require £12.6m to land the playmaker due to a release clause in his contract.

The report labels Zakharyan an ‘accelerator’ and ‘modern conductor’ while detailing his ‘intelligence’ as a footballer.

Another player Chelsea could return for either in January or next summer is Rafael Leao.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has detailed Chelsea’s attempt to land the AC Milan star, explaining that Boehly’s ‘verbal proposal’ fell way short of his release clause.

“AC Milan have insisted that Leao is not for sale. The Portuguese attacker has a €150m release clause and Milan don’t want to sell Leao unless this figure is met,” Romano continued.

“Chelsea wanted to bring in Leao during the summer transfer window, but unless they paid the €150m, it was never possible for Chelsea to sign the forward.

“Chelsea never made an official bid, but they did make a verbal proposal for around €70m plus add-ons.

“However, AC Milan were not willing to sell Leao for this price, around half the €150m release clause in his contract.”

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