Chelsea have reportedly cooled their interest in Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho and are ready to make a move for Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz instead.
Frank Lampard’s men have been strongly tipped to complete a move for Coutinho, who Barca are keen to sell after his struggles in LaLiga since joining from Liverpool in a big-money deal.
Indeed, the latest reports suggest that the Catalan giants have outlined three options for the 27-year-old Brazilian, as they look to raise funds to bring fresh talent to the Nou Camp.
However, The Athletic reports that Chelsea’s interest in Coutinho has been exaggerated, especially with Lampard already boasting a number of options in the same position at Stamford Bridge.
Ajax star Hakim Ziyech has already been signed for next season and will arrive on July 1, while the likes of Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley are all classed as attacking midfielders.
Indeed, some pundits have also suggested that if Chelsea signed Coutinho it would potentially damage the progress of the young players making a name for themselves in west London.
And it would appear that Lampard has come to the same conclusion, while Coutinho’s enormous wages are also said to be a major stumbling block in any move for the player.
To that end, the report states that Chelsea are taking a closer look at is Leverkusen’s Havertz, who has enjoyed another strong campaign in the Bundesliga with six goals and five assists.
The German is seven years younger than Coutinho and is also capable of playing in a host of positions from midfield to right-wing and even as a makeshift forward.
However, Havertz is very much a man in demand, with Bayern Munich already rumoured to have held talks to sign the 20-year-old, while both Liverpool and Manchester United are keen too – with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp known to be a big admirer of the player.
Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes has hinted that Havertz could leave this summer, while the player himself made it clear he would welcome a new challenge.
“I’m ready to take a big step, and I like challenges. For me, this also includes abroad,” he told Sport Bild.
“Leverkusen are a great club, I feel good. I have always said that. But of course I want to take the next step in my career at some point. That’s my ambition.
“The coach is a very important person for me. It must be a good fit. You can see that with our coach, Peter Bosz. For me, the sporting direction of the club is also reflected in the choice of coach.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool are reportedly preparing to offer veteran forward Dries Mertens a three-year deal in a bid to beat Chelsea and Newcastle to the Napoli star.