Reported Chelsea transfer target Lewis Dunk has signed a new contract with Brighton, reportedly leaving them with very few options for new centre-back.
According to a report from ESPN, the Blues are in the market for defensive recruitments.
However, while they have a clear target for the left-back position in Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, they are “less advanced” in their search for a new central defender, the report added.
ESPN mentioned a few candidates; Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez, West Ham United’s Declan Rice and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk.
The report said that any transfer involving these three players would be complicated and expensive but for Dunk’s case, things could be even more complicated and expensive.
The Brighton captain has just signed a new five-year contract (until 2025) which could be an attempt from the club to fend off Chelsea amid the rumours.
Not only that Dunk is the team leader, but the 28-year-old is also their reigning player of the season; and having avoided relegation this season, Brighton manager Graham Potter sees him as an important member ahead of the new Premier League season.
“Since I came to the club he has been a joy to work with and he’s a top player,” the manager told Brighton’s official website.
“I think his role as captain is one he’s grown into and one he will do better and better for the next few years.”
Chelsea still have plenty of time before the transfer window deadline on October 5 to bring in a new defender, but ideally, Lampard would want to have a clear plan for a new centre-back sooner as they will likely begin preparing for the new season next week.
They have signed a highly-rated young centre-back in Xavier Mbuyamba.
But at 18, Mbuyamba is expected to spend a season or two at the development squad or possibly on a loan before breaking into the first-team.