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Chelsea hatch plan after midfielder makes London visit amid transfer links

Ilaix Moriba was in London over the weekend, according to reports, as Chelsea continue to explore a potential transfer from Barcelona.

Moriba has been cast aside by Barcelona due to an ongoing contract dispute. Only one year remains on his deal and the parties have been unable to agree a renewal. The situation has not been pretty and could soon come to a conclusion. The midfielder may leave the Catalan club before the end of the transfer window.

The 18-year-old will have no shortage of suitors after accumulating 18 senior appearances for Barcelona to date. A move to the Premier League has been on the cards for a few months while the contract situation has remained stalled.

Chelsea are long-term admirers, with reports of their interest in Moriba dating back to 2019. Their pursuit has continued ever since and this summer a major opportunity has presented itself. Now could be the perfect time for them to secure his signature.

According to Mundo Deportivo, it is practically a given that Moriba will not be continuing with Barcelona. His agents feel disrespected by the club, who in turn are unhappy with his entourage for financial motives – something contested by the other party.

Therefore, Barcelona are willing to sell Moriba – but only for a fee of around €20m. That amount is much higher than the value of a bid they rejected from RB Leipzig worth €6m.

Mundo Deportivo believe Chelsea are more capable of paying the higher sum should they desire. Even if he cannot get a visa yet, they could still loan him out to continue his development until he reaches the points required.

There is a belief behind Leipzig’s failed bid that Moriba already has an agreement in place with another club. That could well be Chelsea; in fact, the report adds that the midfielder was in London at the weekend.

Little information is provided on the trip. But the ball should now be in Chelsea’s court if they want to wrap up the signing of Moriba before the end of the month.

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Chelsea given boost for Saul signing

While Moriba would be signed with a view to the future, one potential transfer for the here and now would be that of Saul Niguez.

Atletico Madrid are understood to be looking to sell the 26-year-old, despite him starting in both of their LaLiga games to date. He has apparently made it abundantly clear that he would like a new challenge.

Saul has since been linked with a number of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United. But the latter have seemingly briefed a number of outlets making it clear that their summer transfer business has already concluded.

The Daily Mail report that United “are distancing themselves from an imminent move” for the Atletico man.

The Manchester Evening News also claims that a deal for Saul is “unlikely” and that Chelsea may well have a free run to sign the player.

Atletico are hoping to sell Saul for £38m, a fee that has spiked Thomas Tuchel’s interest. Earlier this week, according to the Daily Telegraph, an agreement was close between the two clubs.

They report that Chelsea want to take Saul on an initial loan – an arrangement Atletico will adhere to. However, they want an agreement in place from Chelsea first. And that is to state that any temporary arrangement comes with a guarantee to make the move permanent next summer.

And while Chelsea are keen, Blues director Marina Granovskaia, has laid down some conditions of her own. Indeed, the signing of Saul will also depend on the Blues moving on four or five fringe players first.

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