Paris Saint-Germain are close to fending off strong interest from Chelsea to strike a deal for Inter right-back Achraf Hakimi.
Inter are reluctantly willing to sell Hakimi this summer to help raise some much-needed money, with the Serie A champions hoping the £65m they bring in from selling Hakimi will mean they do not have to sell other stars like Lautaro Martinez or Romelu Lukaku.
For the last few weeks, it’s been a straight shoot-out between PSG and Chelsea for Hakimi’s signature. Both sides have been reluctant to meet Inter‘s asking price, with PSG bidding £55m and Chelsea sitting closer to £50m, but the Blues were also offering Marcos Alonso in exchange and hoped that would move them to the front of the queue.
There was some optimism that this was Chelsea’s deal to lose, but several Italian outlets now see PSG as the leading contenders as Inter have made it clear that they only want money in exchange for Hakimi, not players.
Gianluca Di Marzio believes PSG are close to getting a deal done as they are expected to increase their offer in the coming days. The French side are now open to paying the full £65m and have been in constant contact with Hakimi’s representatives over personal terms.
The same messaged is relayed from Fabrizio Romano, who states that Chelsea are yet to make any formal cash offers and have only discussed the idea off using players in exchange. Emerson was an early candidate but most of the recent talk has revolved around Alonso.
Inter are keen on Alonso, and in an ideal world, they would probably accept Chelsea’s bid, but the issue is they need that £65m to balance their books before the new season begins. Once they have done that, they are then expected to pursue Alonso, who will cost them more than the £5m discrepancy between Chelsea and PSG’s bids. They’ll be worse off financially, but they don’t really have much choice.
Chelsea could obviously remove Alonso from the offer and increase their bid, but that would rely on Inter being able to strike a deal for the Spaniard down the line, and Chelsea have notoriously struggled to convince Italian sides to sign their players in the past.
The door is still open for Chelsea and Angelo Mangiante says that the Blues are just as close to getting a deal done as PSG, but the French side’s willingness to pay full price is thought to have moved them towards the front of the queue.
Should Chelsea miss out on Hakimi, they are expected to turn to Wolves winger Adama Traore, whom Thomas Tuchel sees as an ideal candidate to rotate with Reece James as a right wing-back, while also offering some extra dynamism in attack.
Gladbach winger Jonas Hofmann is another player on Chelsea’s radar, but expect the Blues to continue to push for Hakimi while the Morocco international is still available.