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Chelsea transfer news: Blues 'battling' Bayern Munich for £60m-rated Frenchman

Maatsen replacement 'identified' as Chelsea eye £60m deal
© Reuters
Chelsea reportedly show an interest in signing AC Milan's France international Theo Hernandez as Enzo Maresca seeks to bolster his left-back options.

Chelsea have reportedly taken an interest in signing AC Milan left-back Theo Hernandez as head coach Enzo Maresca seeks improvements in that area of the field.

While Ben Chilwell is the Blues' first choice in that area of the field, the former Leicester City man is perpetually plagued by injuries and missed out on a spot in England's Euro 2024 squad as a result.

Marc Cucurella enjoyed a brief renaissance under Mauricio Pochettino thanks to Chilwell's frequent injury problems, but there is a consensus that he has failed to justify his £60m price tag.

Chelsea's left-back predicaments have seen both Alfie Gilchrist and Levi Colwill trialled in such a position, but the latter is more comfortable in the heart of defence, while Gilchrist has operated as a right-back more often than not.

Ian Maatsen would have represented a competent option on that side after helping Borussia Dortmund reach the Champions League final last season, but a switch to Aston Villa is now believed to be imminent for the Dutchman.

AC Milan's Theo Hernandez celebrates scoring their first goal on March 17, 2024© Reuters

Chelsea 'identify Theo Hernandez' as ideal left-back signing

As a result, new boss Maresca is apparently keen to bolster his left-back ranks, and HITC claims that the Blues head coach is now eyeing a move for the pacy Hernandez, currently away with the France team at Euro 2024.

The 26-year-old has blossomed into one of the world's leading players in his position during his time with Milan, whom he signed for in the summer of 2019 after failing to make a name for himself at Real Madrid.

Hernandez played just 23 times for Los Blancos and was loaned out to Real Sociedad for the 2018-19 campaign before his switch to San Siro, where he played a critical role in Milan's 2021-22 Serie A title triumph under Stefano Pioli.

From 213 games in an AC Milan shirt, Hernandez has contributed 29 goals and 39 assists, including five strikes and 11 helpers from 46 appearances across all competitions in the 2023-24 campaign.

The former Atletico Madrid man - who is the younger brother of Paris Saint-Germain's Lucas Hernandez - is only under contract at San Siro for another two seasons, though, and Maresca supposedly feels that he would slot seamlessly into his system.

Leicester City manager Enzo Maresca celebrates after the match on February 13, 2024© Reuters

Maresca is said to be a huge fan of Hernandez's ability to play the inverted left-back role, but Milan are still hopeful of tying him down to a new deal and would demand at least £60m to sell this summer.

The Rossoneri's senior advisor Zlatan Ibrahimovic recently insisted that Hernandez would be going nowhere this summer, but the left-back instead replied with a non-committal "we will see later" when asked about his future by Italian media ahead of the Euros.

What alternatives are out there for Chelsea?

Should the Blues end up baulking at Milan's £60m price demands - not an impossible scenario given their well-documented financial concerns - Inter Milan's Federico Dimarco is also believed to be of interest.

The Italy international could fall within the same price bracket as Hernandez, though, but Bradley Locko of Brest and Bournemouth's Milos Kerkez could arrive at Stamford Bridge for lower figures.

Chelsea have reportedly been running the rule over both men for half a year, and Kerkez has also been a shining light for Hungary during their difficult Euros campaign.

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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
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4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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