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Done deal Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia confirms first January signing of high-rated full-back



Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia confident of completing two transfers before squad return

Chelsea could react to the injuries of Reece James and Ben Chilwell by making a move for Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest. James is expected to be on the side-lines for around six to eight weeks after suffering a hamstring tear in Thomas Tuchel’s side’s home draw against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The England international’s injury is another huge blow for the reigning Champions League holders having already lost Chilwell for the rest of the season.

To cater for the terrifying injury exodus in the full-back areas, Marcos Alonso was deployed as an inverted left-back in the Blues’ 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the first-leg of the League Cup semi-final.

The situation at Chelsea is far from ideal, and various reports are suggesting Tuchel could look to alleviate the situation in the January transfer window.

And reports from the Athletic understand the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager could approach Barcelona to sign Dest.

The United States defender has experience playing as both a right-back and a left-back and is reportedly seen as an ideal acquisition to Tuchel’s side.

While he has been a key player since Xavi took over the reigns from Ronald Koeman, the Catalans once again find themselves needing to sell players.

Ferran Torres’ £55m arrival from Manchester City has breathed new life and excitement into a fledgling Blaugrana, yet the Spaniard’s arrival does not come without its problems.

“Everybody should get ready, as we are back as big players in the market,” a grinning Joan Laporta said after Torres’ arrival.

“All the top players want to come to Barca now, Ferran’s signing is evidence of that.

“We are building a new team with very young players. A new era is beginning which will be brilliant again.”

While the Barcelona president struggled to contain his excitement, the club have once again fallen foul of La Liga’s stringent salary caps, finding themselves in the uncomfortably familiar position of needing to shift some high earners from their wage bill before registering their new signing.

And 14 months after sealing a £21m move to the Nou Camp from Ajax, Dest, among many others, is understood to be one of the players on the chopping block.

Sergino Dest could be available on the cheap in the January transfer window (Image: GETTY)

Transfermarkt values the dynamic winger at a cool £16m, but Barcelona’s once again dire financial situations could afford the Blues’ extra negotiation leverage.

The Catalans have also been linked with moves for former Blue and current Juventus hitman Alvaro Morata, while Laporta saidn “anything is possible” when asked about the possibility of signing Borussia Dortmund hitman Erling Haaland.

However, chief executive Mateu Alemany was a lot more grounded in his aspirations, suggesting players will have to be sold, before they can consider any more new signings.

“When we make space in the ‘fair play’ with departures, we will see if it is enough to make more signings,” said Alemany on Monday.

“That is our plan. This month could bring more steps, right up to when the window closes.


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