Chelsea are striving to add more quality to their squad before the end of the month. Manager Graham Potter is aiming for a top-four finish this season, with his team languishing in tenth in the Premier League after 20 games.
Meanwhile, the Blues have an advantage in the race for Declan Rice, according to journalist Ryan Taylor. Elsewhere, Barcelona could reignite their interest in Cesar Azpilicueta.
On that note, here's a look at the key Chelsea transfer stories as on January 29, 2023:
Chelsea have advantage in Declan Rice pursuit
Chelsea have an advantage in the race to sign Declan Rice, according to Ryan Taylor. The English midfielder is a wanted player ahead of the summer, when he's expected to leave West Ham United. The London giants are among the clubs monitoring the 24-year-old with interest.
Potter wants to add more quality to his midfield amid the growing uncertainties surrounding the future of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho. Both players are in the final year of their contract but haven’t signed an extension yet. Rice has been earmarked as the perfect candidate to take charge of the centre of the park at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking to Give Me Sport, Taylor said that Rice’s entire family are Blues fans.
“I do personally think those reports are premature. I think you can’t underestimate the influence that Rice is a boyhood Chelsea fan; his entire family are Chelsea fans, and he spent eight or nine years with the club before being released as a 14-year-old. I think in his head, there will be an element of unfinished business there at Chelsea,” said Taylor.
Rice has been a regular for club and country recently. He has appeared 26 times across competitions for the Hammers this season, scoring one goal and setting up three more.
Barcelona could return for Cesar Azpilicueta
Barcelona could return for Cesar Azpilicueta this year, according to SPORT via Caught Offside.
The Spanish defender is no longer a first choice under Potter this season but has been heavily involved due to Reece James’ injury woes. The 33-year-old has appeared 24 times across competitions this season for the Blues.
However, he could be forced to consider his options when James returns to action. Azpilicueta was heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou last summer, but the London giants refused to let him leave. The Blagrana are now expected to reignite their interest in the player at the end of the season.
The Spaniard’s contract runs till next summer, but a move to his homeland could appeal to the player provided he's guaranteed regular football. Chelsea are already linked with reinforcements for the full-back area and could be open to Azpilicueta’s departure if a replacement is secured this summer.
Blues won't sell Hakim Ziyech in cut-price deal, says Ben Jacobs
Journalist Ben Jacobs reckons Chelsea might not part ways with Hakim Ziyech in a cut-price deal.
The Moroccan forward is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge following the arrival of Mykhaylo Mudryk and Joao Felix. The 29-year-old has blown hot and cold since joining the London giants in 2020 and is not a part of their plans for the future.
Ziyech is a target for Newcastle United this month, and recent reports have suggested that he could be available for a reduced fee. However, speaking to NUF Matters, as cited by Football Fancast, Jacobs said that the Blues won't sanction a cut-price deal for the player this month.
“Hakim Ziyech, who I mentioned before, who’s available on the market, the challenge is wages, and also the challenges the fact that it’s not true that Chelsea are going to cave and make a loss on him and sell a player that was superb during the World Cup from Morocco for something like £12m to £15m,” said Jacobs.
“It’s going to be much closer to the mid-20s, it might even be somewhere all into the tune of what Chelsea paid, which was about £33m, I believe. So a big-ish fee. And on top of that huge wages, but one to watch between now and the end of the window.”
Ziyech has 15 appearances this season across competitions for the Blues and has registered one assist.