Chelsea consider Gimenez to shore up leaky defence
Chelsea have scouted Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez as Frank Lampard assesses his options should he choose to make changes to his central defenders this summer. Lampard will need to offload at least one centre-back if he wants to make a new signing in the position.
Chelsea’s defensive deficiencies were again on show at Anfield on Wednesday in the 5-3 defeat by Liverpool that left Lampard’s men facing a final-day Champions League qualification shoot-out with Manchester United and Leicester City.
Declan Rice has emerged as a target who could help to shore up Chelsea’s backline, but West Ham United do not wish to sell and are now in a strong negotiating position after securing their Premier League status.
West Ham value Rice at £80million and the prospect of Chelsea sending the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley in the opposite direction does not appeal to either player or the West Ham board. Chelsea’s chances could be helped if Rice expresses a desire to rejoin his former club, but they are looking at other options.
One of those is believed to be Atletico central defender Gimenez, who has previously been linked with Liverpool, as scouts have watched the Spanish club on a number of occasions.
Gimenez is particularly strong in the air, which is an attribute Lampard has admitted he may need to look for in potential signings. The 25-year-old Uruguay international has had problems with injuries, but he has managed 26 appearances for Atletico this season and has been a regular since the restart.
Gimenez has a release clause worth £109million, but there is no prospect of Chelsea bidding anywhere near that amount. Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak, but he too has a £109million release clause.
Other than Gimenez and Rice, Chelsea have also considered resigning Nathan Ake from Bournemouth, but his lack of height may count against him. Chelsea have a £40 million buy-back agreement on the Holland international, but he is expected to move for less than that if Bournemouth are relegated from the Premier League, with Manchester City interested.
Chelsea remain hopeful of signing attacking midfielder Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen and progress on that move is likely to accelerate after Sunday’s final league game against Wolves.