Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku has reportedly signed a pre-contractual agreement with Chelsea after having a secret medical with the Blues last month.
The French midfielder has emerged as Chelsea’s next top transfer target already despite a busy summer outlay of £272million that saw them bring in the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling, and Wesley Fofana.
And as the Blues look to speed up the deal – which they hope to have in place for next season – they now have an agreement with the player, with the report claiming they have overcome a challenge from their English rivals by moving quickly.
And while Nkunku is not expected to arrive until next summer, the Blues have a deal in place for him to join Stamford Bridge, according to the Athletic, with owner Todd Boehly happy to pay his full release clause of £53m now to ensure they steal a march on their rivals.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a superb campaign last season as he scored 35 goals and set up 20 more in 52 appearances in all competitions during a sensational term for RB Leipzig on his way to being named Bundesliga player of the year.
His form saw him rewarded with a new two-year extension that keeps him at Leipzig until 2026 – but crucially it includes a release clause of £52.8m, which Chelsea has now pounced on.
The eight-cap France star has continued his impressive displays this campaign – scoring six goals and setting up another in 11 games so far.
Should Chelsea confirm their deal for Nkunku it would continue their lavish spending under Boehly since he completed a £4.2bn takeover of the Blues this year.
He brought in Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as Fofana, Aubameyang, and Sterling to make a real statement of his intentions.
He’s also rung the changes in the board room – ousting director Marina Granovskaia and long-term chairman Bruce Buck, with the American chief now seeking a new sporting director that can assist him in securing the biggest deals.