They may have spent over ￡40m before most clubs have opened their chequebook this summer, but Chelsea look set to continue their spending spree by adding French full back Mathieu Debuchy to their big-money squad.
With the rest of the Premier League seemingly happy to sit back and keep a careful watch on the best talent at the European Championships, Chelsea have been active in bringing in two of the continent’s most highly-prized stars, Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin and Lille’s Eden Hazard, two players that aren’t even featuring in Ukraine and Poland.
However, now that boss Robert Di Matteo’s appointment has been confirmed, the man who led the team to their first ever Champions League win is eyeing up one player who has been a standout performer at the Euros, France right back Debuchy.
Before Euro 2012 began, Newcastle had been favourites to sign the defender, with their renowned scouting network having again highlighted France’s Ligue Un as a prime market for excellent value-for-money deals.
Debuchy was another of Head Scout Graham Carr’s picks for Alan Pardew, but it seems Newcastle’s failure to seal any deal before the European Championships could count against them.
Laurent Blanc’s France are now unbeaten in 23 games and are looking a sound bet, now 7/1 third favourites, to go all the way at the Euros after a solid opening two games that sees them top England’s Group D.
And, with Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna ruled out with a broken leg, Debuchy has impressed after coming in to Blanc’s side for their opening draw with England, and again in Friday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over hosts Ukraine.
With Danny Simpson yet to agree a new deal on Tyneside and linked with a move south to Fulham, Newcastle hoped Debuchy would be the perfect man to replace him, with his pre-tournament price of ￡6m the sort of transfer free Newcastle were happy to pay.
But, after releasing Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea are also in the market for a right back.
And now that Debuchy has shone on the biggest stage, his club Lille won’t miss the opportunity to add a few quid onto their asking price, suggesting that it will be a fax listing Roman Abramovich’s bank details, and not Mike Ashley’s, that will be sent to northern France this summer.