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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Rare Chelsea rejection sparks mad Man Utd, Barcelona scramble for lethal finisher who’s certain to move

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Chelsea will be forced to run the gauntlet alongside the likes of Man Utd, Newcastle and Barcelona over a deal to sign a lethal French striker who’ll be on the move at season’s end.

The Blues have generally got their own way this month, with their tally of new arrivals standing at a mighty six.

Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana have all arrived on permanent deals. Joao Felix put pen to paper over a six-month loan switch from Atletico Madrid.

However, despite the vast array of arrivals – especially in the forward ranks – Chelsea had also pushed to sign Borussia Monchelgladbach’s Marcus Thuram.

The 25-year-old has been a revelation this season since moving centrally after many a year out on the left wing.

Thuram has bagged 13 goals in 17 across all competitions for Gladbach. His 10 Bundesliga goals positions him third in the league’s goalscoring charts this year behind only Christopher Nkunku (12) and Niclas Fullkrug (11).

His superb form has attracted plenty of attention, with the nine-times capped France international on the radars of Premier League big hitters Chelsea, Man Utd and Newcastle.

In fact, FootMercato report Chelsea had made an offer that would’ve seen Thuram move to Stamford Bridge this month.

However, the player is understood to have rejected the proposal in favour of seeing out the season at Gladbach. But once the campaign concludes, Thuram will become a highly coveted free agent. The chances of him signing a new deal in Germany between now and the end of the season are virtually nil.

Marcus Thuram perfect for Man Utd?

Thuram is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs right now. However, it’s suggested he’ll wait until the end of the season before determining which path to take.

The fact he’ll not cost a transfer fee makes him an even more enticing prospect than he otherwise would’ve been. That rings especially true for Man Utd who have been working on a shoe-string budget this month.

Higher profile frontmen such as Harry Kane, Victor Osimhen and Goncalo Ramos are all admired at Old Trafford. But per Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg, a costly move for any of that trio is likely to be out of reach financially, even in the summer.

FootMercato expect the scramble to sign Thuram in June to be a frantic one. Chelsea’s interest is unlikely to diminish just because they’ve been snubbed this month. If Newcastle secure Champions League qualification, Eddie Howe will require far greater strength in depth than he can currently call upon.

Thuram’s father drops Barcelona hint

Elsewhere, reports out of Spain are putting Barcelona in the mix.

Barca have become synonymous with high profile free agent coups of late as they wheel and deal in the market.

Marcus’ World Cup-winning father, Lilian, previously played at the Camp Nou between 2006-08 and has hinted his former side will be in the mix for his son’s signature.

“Any player dreams of playing for Barca,” said Lilian, who helped France lift the World Cup on home soil in 1998.

He continued: “Little by little it is becoming a great team again, it is first and I am very happy for Barca and for Xavi.”

READ MORE: Major Man Utd deal at PSG’s expense close to completion, with Red Devils tipped to go ‘way beyond’ ideal price

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