• Chelsea make Mendy transfer breakthrough

    Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is closing in on a move to Chelsea after they made a breakthrough in talks on Friday, when the 28-year-old pulled out of a training session to complete talks.

    Chelsea had a verbal agreement for a five-year contract with Mendy, but have found it harder to come to an agreement over a fee for their primary goalkeeping target.

    The Blues’ previous bid was around €20 million (£18m/$24m) and it is understood that a fee will be reached somewhere between that figure and a maximum of €28m (£25m/$33m).

    Mendy was seen leaving training with his agent on Friday morning and he went into an afternoon meeting with club president Nicolas Holveck to conclude discussions.

    After today, the paperwork will still need to be completed with Mendy heading to London from the north of France for his medical.

    Rennes are seeking a replacement and go into their Ligue 1 clash with Nimes this weekend without Mendy. Head coach Julien Stephan spoke about his selection issue ahead of this weekend’s action.

    ‘Edouard has an exceptional opportunity, humanly, we have to hear it,’ Stephan said to the French media. ‘But we must allow time for negotiations. [A substitute?] Obviously, we are looking.’

    Mendy spent just a season at Rennes, playing 34 games in their historic effort to earn qualification to the Champions League for the first time.

    The Chelsea recruitment duo of Petr Cech, who now works as the technical and performance advisor, and Christophe Lollichon have heavily influenced the choice of Mendy, having come from Les Rouge et Noir to west London themselves.

    With Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero already in the squad, Mendy will arrive as competition for the pair over the No 1 spot with the Blues.

    Kepa struggled last season in both shotstopping and set pieces, which has led to a loss of confidence that has impacted his displays and he was dropped twice during the season.

    The Blues record signing from Athletic Club will continue to battle with Mendy over the starting spot, with only slight interest from clubs in Spain for a summer transfer.

    Sevilla and Valencia are thought to have expressed an interest in a season-long loan deal for Kepa, but his wages have been a stumbling block.

    The deal for Mendy will tip Chelsea’s summer spending to well over £200m ($252m) with Kai Havertz having been signed from Bayer Leverkusen, Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.

    Ben Chilwell was added to the defence from Leicester City, while there were a further two free transfers – defenders Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr, formerly of PSG and Nice.

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