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Chelsea's interest in Manchester City's Raheem Sterling this summer depends on how deals for Romelu Lukaku and Ousmane Dembele turn out, according to reports.
The 27-year-old is the subject of interest from England and Spain, and Chelsea are one of the strong frontrunners for his signature if he opts to leave the Etihad.
Sterling's current contract expires next summer and no new deal has been agreed, leaving his future in Manchester uncertain and Chelsea are ready to pounce.
But it is reported that Thomas Tuchel and the new owners will only crank up the pressure in their pursuit of the England international if Romelu Lukaku completes his exit to return to Inter Milan after just one season at Stamford Bridge.
An agreement is hoping to be struck in the coming days, with Lukaku expecting a transfer to be confirmed before the start of pre-season.
Tuchel is a 'big fan' of Sterling and according to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea have already explored the conditions of a potential deal.
It is expected that Sterling would cost in excess of £50 million despite having just one year left on his current contract.
But along with Lukaku's future, the Blues will only advance on their pursuit of Sterling depending on Lukaku and the outcome of out of contract Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele among other factors.
Dembele is set to leave Barcelona at the end of June when his deal runs out. The Spanish side are hoping to extend the Frenchman's deal, but nothing has been agreed yet.
He broke his silence earlier this week when a fan asked him about his future, to which he responded he is 'fine in Barcelona' and will be staying.
🎥| Dembele was asked about his future by one of his fans:— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) June 18, 2022
- “Are you staying in Barcelona? Yes”
- “Heard anything about Chelsea? 😅”
- “You do not want to work with Tuchel? I’m fine in Barcelona” https://t.co/3PWTpIXfos
No direct talks have happened yet, nor have Chelsea considered placing a bid yet.
It remains to be seen if Man City will allow Sterling to leave if he expresses a desire to exit.
Sterling is believed to have only wanted to make a decision on his future once the season ended and his international duties with England were finished.
That is now the case, and once Lukaku's deal to Inter is agreed and announced, it is likely Chelsea will be able to turn their attention to other matters to improve Tuchel's squad ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Chelsea will be shrewd in the transfer market, co-owner Todd Boehly has made that clear with his latest comments when asked about competing with other clubs for players.
"Financial Fair Play is starting to get some teeth and that will limit ability to acquire players at any price. UEFA takes it seriously and will continue to take it seriously.
"(More teeth) means financial penalties and disqualification from sporting competitions."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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