Chelsea switch transfer focus to different centre-back after Matthijs de Ligt blow

The Blues risk being gazumped by Bayern Munich for the Juventus star (Pictures: Getty)

Chelsea are ready to cool their interest in Matthijs de Ligt and switch their transfer focus elsewhere after Bayern Munich made a rival move for the Juventus star, according to reports.

The west London club have been linked with a host of centre-backs this summer with Thomas Tuchel keen to bring in as many as three new defenders after Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left on free transfers.

Spanish duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are also thought to be keen to leave the club and return to Spain, though Chelsea will only sanction their sales once they have found replacements first.

In recent weeks, Netherlands international De Ligt has emerged as Chelsea’s top target and Juventus were believed to be willing to negotiate his sale as they look to raise funds to reinvest in the squad.

Tuchel is a big fan of the former Ajax centre-back and Chelsea had made an opening offer of €40million (£34.4m) plus Timo Werner – though that was rejected by Juve.

As negotiations have stalled, the door has been opened for rival clubs and reports in Germany on Monday claim Bayern Munich have now overtaken the Blues in the race to sign the 22-year-old.

Sky Germany claim De Ligt spoke with both Julian Nagelsmann and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, with the pair convincing him to move to the Bundesliga over Chelsea.

Chelsea will now step up their pursuit of Nathan Ake (Picture: Getty)

According to the Daily Mail, a deal for De Ligt is now considered ‘problematic’ by Chelsea and they will instead focus their attention on re-signing Nathan Ake.

Co-owner Todd Boehly, who is now the club’s interim sporting director, held initial talks with Manchester City about signing the Dutch centre-back during negotiations for Raheem Sterling – with the winger closing in on his own £45m switch to Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel wants to bring in a new centre-back as quickly as possible and Ake is considered an easier deal to complete, with Juve wanting at least £68m for De Ligt.

There are other names on Chelsea’s centre-back wish list, such as Jules Kounde, Milan Skriniar and Presnel Kimpembe, but Ake is the player who will be pursued now.

He won’t come cheap, though, with Newcastle having previously been quoted a price tag of £50m.

The 27-year-old was signed by Chelsea in 2011 from Feyenoord, briefly playing in the academy, and after a series of loans was sold permanently to Bournemouth – though the deal did include a buy-back clause which was never activated.

Chelsea have so far been frustrated in the transfer market and are yet to make a signing, with deals for the likes of Sterling, De Ligt and Leeds United winger Raphinha all hitting various stumbling blocks.

MORE : ‘Wary’ Thomas Tuchel to deliver Cristiano Ronaldo verdict to Chelsea owner Todd Boehly

MORE : Matthijs de Ligt makes U-turn over Chelsea move after talks with Bayern Munich

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