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Chelsea are considering making a move for RC Lens defender Jonathan Clauss, according to reports in England.
The 29-year-old has had a fine season in the French top division, being named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season for the first time.
Clauss made 40 appearances in all competitions for RC Lens, assisting an impressive 11 goals for his side before receiving his first call-up to the French national side, playing alongside Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.
It was previously reported that Chelsea held a strong interest in Clauss, having scouted him this season.
The defender would be seen as a natural successor to captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona this summer.
The 32-year-old’s contract at Stamford Bridge expires next summer, with an automatic extension triggered earlier in the season to keep him at the club. Barcelona are hoping that the Blues will offer Azpilicueta, alongside fellow wing-back Marcos Alonso, ‘the letter of freedom’ to depart Stamford Bridge, according to reports in Spain earlier this month.
According to Nizaar Kinsella of Goal, Chelsea are eyeing a move for Clauss this transfer window.
The report states that the Blues have been monitoring Clauss for ‘well over a year’.
Tuchel’s side could make a move for the defender before the end of the summer transfer window, willing to sign him if ‘certain criteria’ are met.
It is unclear as to what this criteria would be, with Atletico Madrid providing competition for Clauss’ signature.
RC Lens value Clauss at £10 million, a bargain as the defender has one year left on his current contract in France.
However, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde remains the priority for Chelsea, with it thought that Clauss is the next option once Kounde’s transfer to Stamford Bridge is sorted.
Kinsella finalises by revealing that Chelsea have ‘completed full due diligence’ on Clauss, scouting his last 50 matches.
He was identified as a target shortly after Tuchel joined the Blues, a natural in the right wing-back role, amassing over 100 matches in this position.
While Reece James will most likely remain first choice for Tuchel, Clauss could provide much-needed back-up.
James spent a spell of last season on the sidelines with injuries, as Azpilicueta was the only defensive minded right sided player who could fill in for Tuchel.
Therefore, the signing could make sense this summer.
Chelsea must first sort out Azpilicueta's future and decide whether to allow their captain to move to Barcelona.
If he is to depart, the Blues will also seek a new captain, with Jorginho the current vice-captain at Stamford Bridge.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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