Chelsea are lining up two centre-back targets despite renewed hope that Antonio Rudiger will commit his future to the club, according to reports.
The Germany international is out of contract at the end of the season and discussions with the Blues have made little progress.
It has been reported that Rudiger wants £200k a week but that the latest offer from the west London outfit currently stands at £140k a week.
There has been interest from Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, while a report in December claimed that Manchester United had now entered the race.
Real had emerged as perhaps the strongest contenders for his signature but a report in Spanish newspaper Marca yesterday insisted they had now ‘cooled’ their interest.
It’s a nervous time for Chelsea with Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all able to talk to foreign clubs about free transfers.
But, according to Goal, there is some good news with ‘growing positivity in the cases of Rudiger and Azpilicueta, who both had a renewed round of talks with the west Londoners on Monday afternoon.’
It is understood that the trio have ‘agreed to give the Blues more time to renew their contracts, but want some compromise on terms.’
Rudiger wants his emergence as one of the club’s most important players reflected in his pay packet but his stance to ‘delay his decision’ has seen Real Madrid grow ‘frustrated’.
Despite reports in Marca that suggested Los Blancos had ended their interest in Rudiger, Goal insist ‘the Liga giants will continue to monitor the situation’.
Goal adds: ‘Chelsea are keeping their options open for new signings and the two main summer targets are Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana.’
Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku issued an apology to Chelsea fans on Tuesday after his controversial interview in which he said he was unhappy at the club.
“To the fans I’m sorry for the upset that I’ve caused,” Lukaku told Chelsea’s official club website.
“You guys know the connection I have with this club since my teenage years, so I totally understand you guys being upset.
“Obviously it’s up to me now to restore your trust, and I’ll do my best every day to show commitment on the training ground and in games to make sure we win games.
“And also to the manager, my team-mates and the board, I apologise, because I think it was not the right moment, also.
“And I want to move forward from this and make sure that we start winning football games and make sure that I start performing for the team in the best manner.”