Inter Milan star Achraf Hakimi has been under Chelsea’s radar for a “very long time” and the club consider him a long-term transfer target, according to The Athletic journalist Liam Twomey.
Many would immediately think of Chelsea’s reported pursuit Hakimi as a decision driven by Thomas Tuchel.
Tuchel might want him, but the 22-year-old is not only entirely the manager’s target, Twomey claims.
“What I do know is that Chelsea have really liked him for a very, very long time and been looking very closely at him,” the journalist told MAH YouTube channel.
“He fits in the same bracket, in terms of long term interest, as [Kai] Havertz or someone like [Hakim] Ziyech whom they watched for three years.
“So he fits the bill of a long-term club target.
“What we’ve seen from the recent past, when these players become available — which Hakimi clearly is because of Inter’s situation — Chelsea are quite aggressive in trying to get these players.”
Twomey highlighted that some Chelsea supporters might be against the rumoured pursuit of Hakimi and argue that the money would be better spent on a striker, for example.
According to Sky Italia, Inter are demanding €75-80million (£64-68.4m) for the defender.
That would be a massive investment in a position where Chelsea already have the likes of Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta, and even academy talent Tino Livramento.
“What it probably does mean, if you go out and get Hakimi, is that you’re committing yourself for the foreseeable future to sticking with the system that we’ve seen under Tuchel [the 3-4-3],” Twomey added.
“Because Hakimi is not really a full-back, he’s a wing-back — that’s the best use of him.”
Now that the 3-4-3 system has been the primary formation under Tuchel, Chelsea might have felt this would be an ideal opportunity to sign the Morocco international.
Looking at it from a financial perspective, it could have been much easier had Chelsea made the move last summer.
Hakimi was also available last summer after his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund and Inter eventually signed him from Real Madrid for a reported €40m (£36m — per BBC).
A year later, Chelsea might have to fork out almost twice that, based on Inter’s reported demand.