Chelsea, Aston Villa ‘reach agreement’ over £42m transfer for ‘frustrated’ striker

Jason Soutar
Chelsea-linked Aston Villa striker Jhon Duran celebrates his goal
Chelsea target Jhon Duran celebrates his goal.

Chelsea have agreed to pay £42million to sign Jhon Duran from Aston Villa, according to reports.

Duran joined the Villans from Chicago Fire for £14m in January 2023, becoming the second-most expensive sale in MLS history behind Newcastle United’s Miguel Almiron.

Djordje Petrovic’s £15m switch from New England Revolution to Chelsea in August 2023 has since eclipsed that figure, moving the Fire sale down to third.

Duran has found minutes hard to come by under Unai Emery at Villa Park, which is understandable given Ollie Watkins’ outstanding form.

The 20-year-old only started three Premier League matches in 2023/24, coming off the bench 20 times, scoring five goals.

He also only started four times in the Europa Conference League, a competition you would have expected him to be given plenty of playing time.

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Despite his lack of minutes for the Villans, Duran has clearly impressed Premier League rivals Chelsea, who first expressed an interest in signing the Colombian striker in the 2024 winter transfer window.

Rumours have ramped up in recent weeks amidst Villa’s reported interest in Blues midfielder Conor Gallagher, with a swap deal being mooted.

Villa need the cash to comply with the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules so might not be open to that, especially when they are already partaking in swap deal negotiations with Juventus over Douglas Luiz.

And it looks like they are going to make a swift profit on Duran.

Reports from the player’s native Colombia claim that Chelsea and Villa have agreed a fee ‘close to €50m’ (£42.1m).

The report claims that there is an ‘agreement between’ the two clubs and the Blues are currently ‘negotiating the terms with the player to sign the contract’.

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Meanwhile, transfer expert Ben Jacobs has claimed that Duran is ‘ahead of’ Manchester City attacker Julian Alvarez in Chelsea’s plans.

Jacobs wrote in his CaughtOffside column:

‘Julian Alvarez is not a player Manchester City want to lose, but it’s clear he wants some guarantees over playing time. That makes the situation open.

Manchester City got £45m and £40m for (Raheem) Sterling and (Cole) Palmer respectively, and Alvarez’s price tag would be significantly more. At the moment, there is no specific number, but £70m+ is understood to be the ballpark. There is concrete interest from Paris St-Germain.

Chelsea could be one to watch, but they haven’t yet made any kind of meaningful approach. I still sense Jhon Duran might be ahead of Alvarez given he’s cheaper and only 20.

Chelsea have faith in Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku can be used as a false nine, so Chelsea’s recruitment team aren’t as worried as they perhaps were earlier in the year about adding someone already proven or Premier League-seasoned.

An exit can’t be ruled out, but Manchester City will be fighting to stop one.’

A report from The Guardian earlier on Tuesday stated that Villa want around £40m for Duran, which is close to what the Blues have reportedly agreed to pay.

Villa are ‘open’ to selling the 20-year-old – who is ‘frustrated’ by his lack of opportunities under Emery – and there have been discussions over a deal involving Conor Gallagher, who is out of contract next year and valued at £50m.

Gallagher would also not be willing to be involved in a swap deal, it is added.

Chelsea’s interest in Duran has clearly accelerated following Benjamin Sesko’s decision to stay at RB Leipzig. The Slovenian has been hotly linked with the Blues and London rivals Arsenal.

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