Fabrizio Romano Exclusive: Chelsea had opportunity to sign Donnarumma, updates on Matthijs de Ligt, Jules Kounde and more 

Chelsea have some interesting decisions to make in the January Transfer window
Chelsea have some interesting decisions to make in the January Transfer window

Chelsea had an excellent transfer market and have built a squad capable of challenging on all fronts. They are/were linked to plenty of top names including Gianluigi Donnarumma, Matthijs de Ligt and Jules Kounde.

We take a look at Chelsea's transfer activities in the summer and what their priority signings could be in the January transfer window:

Chelsea explored the opportunity of signing Gianluigi Donnarumma as a free-agent

Italy Training Session
Italy Training Session

Gianluigi Donnarumma was one of the most important deals of last summer. The high-level signing was completed by Paris Saint-Germain. PSG's director Leonardo wanted to clarify that the negotiations for the Italian shot-stopper did not start many months before but only in May. Leonardo said:

"We did not approach Donnarumma when he was still thinking about negotiating with AC Milan, but only later when the club announced that they would buy Mike Maignan".

In short, Leonardo wanted to specify the fairness of PSG in completing this deal. Donnarumma as a free agent was an extraordinary deal: for years among the best goalkeepers in Europe and the strongest in Italy, he was also on the Juventus list before the deal collapsed.

Here is the first part of the nominees for the 2021 Yachine Trophy! #tropheeyachine🇮🇹 Gianluigi Donnarumma🇧🇷 Ederson🇩🇰 Kasper Schmeichel🇸🇳 Edouard Mendy🇧🇪 Thibaut Courtois#ballondor

The reason? Fabio Paratici, Tottenham's current director of football, had wanted Donnarumma at Juventus for some time but then left the club in the summer. With the return of Massimiliano Allegri as manager of the Bianconeri, the decision was to give maximum confidence to Polish GK Wojciech Szczesny and not to invest in Donnarumma.

There is, however, an unprecedented "behind the scenes" detail that we can reveal: Chelsea also had the opportunity to sign Gianluigi Donnarumma as a free agent.

Donnarumma was an idea that had been discussed many times by Chelsea in great secrecy, but it never became an advanced negotiation for one main reason: Donnarumma did not want to go to the Premier League after AC Milan, he preferred an experience in another league. This is why Chelsea were never very close to signing Donnarumma.

Manchester City v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final
Manchester City v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final

The answer was also negative by the English club. Chelsea are very satisfied with Edouard Mendy, a goalkeeper not only liked by Tuchel personally but also by Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech who wanted to sign Mendy just a year ago, as a priority for Chelsea's goal.

Chelsea have chosen to believe in Mendy for the future of the club, while Donnarumma was an opportunity that was not pursued. Chelsea's attention to this type of free agent business is always a lot, but their trust in Mendy and the choice of Donnarumma prevented them from proceeding for this possibility.

Paris Saint-Germain stepped in to take advantage of this opportunity. Nasser Al Khelaifi and Leonardo have excellent relations with agent Mino Raiola. Donnarumma had a verbal agreement with Paris before the Euros which became an official signed contract just after Italy finished the group stage (who later became European champions with Roberto Mancini).

After that, Donnarumma underwent medical examinations with PSG who convinced him of a very clear plan: to start this season in competition with Keylor Navas, but to be considered the goalkeeper of the future for Paris.

The salary will not be €12 million guaranteed net per year, the fixed part is lower but can reach that figure (in the future) only in case of wins and achievement of some "bonuses" included in the contract.

Chelsea focussed on signing central defender; No official bids for Matthijs de Ligt

North Macedonia v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020: Group C
North Macedonia v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020: Group C

Chelsea, on the other hand, are thinking of other roles as market priorities, such as a central defender Thomas Tuchel has long needed.

Until now, Juventus have not received any approach or proposal for Matthijs de Ligt from Chelsea while the name of Jules Koundé remains on Chelsea's list. However, it is necessary to understand that Chelsea will need to meet conditions to satisfy Sevilla after the tense situation in the final weeks of August.

Certainly, the idea of buying a new central defender between January and the summer remains a priority for the Blues. Chelsea have no regrets about missing out on Donnarumma, but ... PSG are enjoying the goalkeeper of the future.

Edited by Ashwin
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