Date: 5th June 2022 at 3:52pm
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Chelsea are reportedly close to making Ousmane Dembele the first signing of the Todd Boehly era as the Frenchman looks set to join on a free transfer. 

The 25-year-old’s deal at current club Barcelona is set to expire in the coming weeks, and the Blues have moved quickly to sign the player.

As per Football London, Chelsea are currently leading rivals Liverpool in the race to sign the France international.

The report claims that the Blues have already made contact with the player, and that negotiations have stepped up over the past 48 hours.

Dembele cost Barcelona £126 million in 2017, a fee that made him the second most expensive player in history at the time, but he now sits eighth on that list.

His time in Catalunya has been plagued by injury, though, and he leaves Spain having made just 102 La Liga appearances during his five seasons in the division.

Dembele is close to joining Chelsea on a free transfer

Chelsea boss Tuchel has been handed a budget of £200 million to rebuild his squad ahead of next term, and the possibility of signing Dembele on a free transfer represents good value and will mean that the budget can be used to strengthen other areas.

The deal does mean that at least one of the Blues’ current crop of attackers will likely leave the club, with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech the most likely candidates to depart Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel and Dembele worked together at Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, and the German has previously spoken of his admiration for the former Rennes man.

Dembele was close to leaving Barcelona in January, but stayed put and finished the season strongly, registering ten assists during the second half of the season.

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