Chelsea to accelerate transfer plans after Enzo Maresca appointment with four signings targeted

Chelsea will accelerate summer transfer plans to make four main signings once the appointment of Enzo Maresca has been completed.

The Blues are finalising a deal to make the 44-year-old Italian their new head coach on a five-year contract after thrashing out a compensation package worth £10million with newly-promoted Leicester.

Maresca will not have control over transfers, but he will have plenty of input and has already discussed potential targets with Chelsea chiefs.

The Blues are set to prioritise a new goalkeeper, centre-back, left-back and forward this summer.

Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford is among the targets being considered, while Chelsea are understood to be pursuing a free transfer for Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo.

The defender will leave at the end of his contract next month and is in demand, with Newcastle and Manchester United also pushing hard to sign him. The Blues have also tracked Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who could leave the Camp Nou this summer.

Chelsea believe they need to add one recruit at centre-back after it was confirmed that Thiago Silva is leaving Stamford Bridge for boyhood club Fluminense. Club transfer specialists have looked at Feyenoord left-back Quilindschy Hartman, but the 22-year-old has just undergone knee surgery and is sidelined until early 2025.

The Blues will be in the market for a top-level striker in the long run and are understood to retain strong interest in Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen. The Nigeria striker could well be on the move from Serie A this summer, with a host of top European clubs targeting him.

Full-backs will be crucial to Maresca’s style of play, with the Italian wanting them to move inside to midfield when the team is attacking, and Chelsea will target a left-back.

Maresca also likes his goalkeeper to act as a playmaker, much like Ederson at Manchester City, and a new man between the posts is also a priority.

Chelsea will also press on with plans for a clearout of players before June 30 to ensure the club complies with Premier League profit and sustainability rules.

Homegrown midfielder Conor Gallagher could be heading for an exit, with Tottenham and Aston Villa thought to be among the interested parties in him.

Left-back Ian Maatsen should see his loan deal at Borussia Dortmund turned into a permanent move, while forward Armando Broja could also leave.

Enzo Maresca will not have control over Chelsea transfers but will provide some input (Getty Images)
Enzo Maresca will not have control over Chelsea transfers but will provide some input (Getty Images)

Chelsea have long insisted there will be no problems complying with financial profit and sustainability rules. But they need to make sales by June 30 for them to count in the 2023-24 accounts, which could mean several departures happening sooner rather than later.

Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart have been locked into the new manager hunt since parting ways with Mauricio Pochettino last week, but the club’s wider recruitment team have continued to work on summer transfer plans. Chelsea see the ability to keep advancing wider recruitment plans even during the time the club has been without a manager as a strength of their developing off-field structure.

Club chiefs have already discussed existing transfer plans with Maresca, however, and want to press on with that strategy once his arrival is confirmed.

Chelsea believe Maresca is the right man to steer them back to a top-four Premier League finish, after a sixth-placed finish under Pochettino last season. The owners are thought to consider the current squad capable of Champions League qualification and believe that Pochettino had underperformed in his sole season in charge.

Ever since buying Chelsea in 2022, Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano have been determined to install a young, progressive coach around whom to build their ownership.

An expected five-year contract for Maresca will reflect the belief the Chelsea hierarchy have in his ability to thrive in the long-run at Stamford Bridge.