Chelsea to snub £32m Kepa Arrizabalaga rival for £18m transfer with Petr Cech key to deal

Chelsea have turned their attentions away from Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan to focus solely on Rennes’ Edouard Mendy as they look to sign a new shot-stopper as part of their raft of new signings. The Blues have already confirmed five deals, bringing in Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva with a sixth – Kai Havertz – imminent.

The Bayer Leverkusen attacker will join in a deal worth up to a club-record £90million and reports from Germany claim he has already passed his medical.

It is thought the Bundesliga club are looking to first seal a replacement before confirming the deal, with Patrik Schick to join from Roma.

But amid delays in announcing Havertz’s switch to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are now looking to secure a deal to sign Mendy.

The Rennes ace is at the top of Frank Lampard’s list with Chelsea having been turned off the idea of recruiting Maignan, according to Sky Sports.

The Premier League outfit had hoped to agree a deal worth around £22m for Lille keeper Maignan, 25, but were quoted £32m.

And Chelsea were not willing to pay that fee, with Havertz’s arrival already set to take their summer spend well north of £200m.

It is the first time ever owner Roman Abramovich has spent over that amount in a single transfer window.

And with Chelsea yet to do at least some balancing of the books with outgoings, they will hope to do as cheap a deal as possible for a new keeper as they look to provide competition to Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks.

Maignan is thought to be disappointed that Rennes could not agree a deal for a move before he met up with the French national team for their Nations League clashes with Sweden and Croatia.

But the west London outfit are now firmly fixated on trying to sign 28-year-old Mendy, who has been identified by technical and performance adviser Petr Cech.

Ex-Czech Republic No 1 Cech spent over a decade at Chelsea, winning 15 trophies and racking up just shy of 500 appearances.

However before his time at Chelsea he spent two seasons as the first choice at Rennes and retains strong links to the French club, which have helped him notice the performances of Senegalese international Mendy, who has only been at Roazhon Park for a year.

Sky Sports say that with the two sides in talks, Cech is likely to take on a significant role in negotiations as Chelsea look to do a deal at around £18m.

Kaveh Solhekol said on The Transfer Show: “Chelsea at the moment in talks with Rennes about signing their goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

“There is an interesting connection between Rennes and Chelsea because Chelsea’s technical director at the moment is Petr Cech, who of course used to play for Rennes, so he has good contacts at the club and it would make sense for Chelsea to sign Edouard Mendy.

“I think he would be available for about £18m and if they were to sign him, then that would be another piece of the jigsaw put in place by Frank Lampard.

“He wants a goalkeeper and it could be Edouard Mendy.”

Cech this week declared that despite two mixed seasons of success at Chelsea, an arrival of a new shot-stopper would not signal the end of £72m ace Kepa’s time at the club.

He said: “Kepa struggled last season, that is unquestionable.

“But the club invested in him and gave him a long-term contract because they believe he has the qualities and attributes to be successful.

“Additions will be made to the squad, perhaps even in goal, and this is what is being discussed now.

“But nobody is giving up on Kepa and we all hope he has a great future.”

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