Football DIgest: Chelsea continue to spend big on Lavia and Caicedo
Chelsea have acted quickly following Michael Olise’s snub and have stepped up their pursuit of Lyon forward Bradley Barcola, who could cost as much as £42million this summer. The Blues thought that their bid activated Olise’s Crystal Palace release clause, but the France Under-21 international turned down a move to Stamford Bridge and penned a new contract at Selhurst Park instead.
That has left Mauricio Pochettino’s outfit searching for alternatives. Chelsea have not dwelled on Olise’s decision despite being prepared to spend around £35m on the Palace star, as they have swiftly found an alternative in Barcola. French outlet RMC Sport have claimed that the Blues are instead accelerating plans to sign Barcola, despite previous interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
They have intensified their pursuit in recent hours, likely as a direct result of Olise’s snub, but while City are instead focusing on Jeremy Doku – PSG have had a bid of £25m turned down by their Ligue 1 rivals. During negotiations, Lyon set an asking price of £42m, which PSG have not yet met.
Barcola has not agreed personal terms with any club and insisted that willing suitors must negotiate with Lyon prior to speaking with the 20-year-old French forward. The French side have been known to be tough negotiators, but having agreed a deal for Malo Gusto in January before sending the defender back on loan for the remainder of the season, the two teams may enjoy a strong relationship.
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Barcola has attracted plenty of interest following a stunning second half of the season where he partnered Alexandre Lacazette up front for Lyon, scoring five times and registering nine assists in Ligue 1.
Previous reports had suggested that the French club could be persuaded to sell Barcola particularly if a player was included in the potential deal as a makeweight, while Chelsea have been no stranger to complicated transfers since Todd Boehly and co took over at Stamford Bridge over a year ago.
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With Christopher Nkunku out for a lengthy period due to injury, Chelsea’s frontline is looking light and losing out on Olise will not have been welcomed – especially as Palace chairman Steve Parish took to social media to announce the news of his star’s new contract on Thursday.
“I’m absolutely delighted to announce @m.olise has decided to commit his future to Crystal Palace football club and this afternoon signed a new four year deal with the club,” Parish wrote on Instagram.
Barcola could help soften the blow for Chelsea, however, but could cost more than the £35m that the Blues were prepared to spend on Olise as Boehly continues to walk the Financial Fair Play tightrope following a huge spending spree since the co-owner’s arrival.
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