Chelsea transfer news, rumors, updates: Mateo Kovacic departs; Manchester United’s Mason Mount bid rejected

With a new head coach in the dugout, a host of players potentially coming and going and an awful lot of improvement required after last season, a pivotal summer lies ahead for Chelsea. Under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, the Blues limped to 12th position in the Premier League and a quarterfinal Champions League exit. At least that means the only way is up for Mauricio Pochettino, the former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain head coach who has been handed the reins at Stamford Bridge.

This could be as turbulent a few weeks among the playing staff as last season was for their coaching equivalents with moves in the offing for the likes of N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount. Let’s recap some of the biggest rumors and updates from our CBS Sports insiders and experts:

Kovacic departs

June 27: Chelsea’s first big sale of the window has been concluded with Mateo Kovacic signing a four year contract at Manchester City, joining for a £25 million fee with a potential £5 million in further add ons. For Chelsea that constitutes a reasonable return for a 29 year old heading into the final year of his contract, having shown little indication he would be prepared to extend, potentially for less money, under the new regime at Stamford Bridge. 

More Premier League exits

June 25: Kovacic is not the only senior Chelsea player on the move within the Premier League. The coming days should bring confirmation of the first major sale Chelsea need to balance their books before the end of the month with Kai Havertz having undergone his medical in Spain ahead of a £65 million move to Arsenal, one we have profiled in greater depth here. Havertz struggled to find his form over three years at Stamford Bridge but did deliver in big moments, scoring winning goals in the Champions League and Club World Cup finals. 

Another player in that situation is Mason Mount, who has shown little appetite for re-upping with the Blues. Despite that Chelsea rejected a third bid from Manchester United, one the Red Devils indicated would be their final proposal, worth £50 million with an additional £5 million in add-ons. Every indication from Old Trafford is that they intend to look elsewhere with Chelsea target Moises Caicedo said to be on their list. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have been credited as a potential landing spot for Mount. The Bundesliga champions are managed by Tuchel, who proved himself to be a great admirer of the England international during their time together in west London.

Saudi Arabian exodus

June 21: Perhaps even more important than adding to the squad this summer is trimming back a group that was so swollen last season that the Cobham training ground dressing rooms were not big enough to accommodate every first team player. In their attempts to do so Chelsea faced the same challenge that all of the Premier League’s wealthiest teams do, the sheer paucity of clubs who can match the wages they pay their fringe players.

That was until help came from Saudi Arabia, with at least four top earners expected to depart for the Pro League this summer. Chelsea might have liked to keep N’Golo Kante but they could not match the €50 million a year Al Ittihad have offered. The move was made official on Tuesday by both clubs. Also, Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy will all move to Saudi Arabia The players will move to respectively to Al Nassr, Al Hilal and Al Ahli. Ziyech will join Al-Nassr for around €10 million, while Koulibaly will join Al-Hilal for around €20 million. 

CBS Sports revealed on June 19 that talks were taking place in London between Al Nassr and Chelsea to finalise a fee for Ziyech, who has agreed personal terms with Cristiano Ronaldo’s club. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could also make the move to Saudi, while Romelu Lukaku has reportedly refused the possibility to move to Saudi Arabia as of now. In total that could scrub nearly £1 million a week off the Chelsea wage bill, handing breathing room and further funds to invest in new signings. — Franceso Porzio and James Benge

Nkunku arrives

June 20: The first new signing of the Pochettino era has been made… and it is one that Chelsea had lined up all the way back when Tuchel was in charge. Christopher Nkunku’s arrival was a formality soon after the summer transfer window closed in 2022, with the club hierarchy committing to a fee greater than his £60 million release clause to get their man out of RB Leipzig before his many other suitors could get a deal together.

“I am incredibly happy to be joining Chelsea,” said Nkunku, who had been at PSG before joining RB Leipzig. “A big effort was made to bring me to the club and I am looking forward to meeting my new coach and teammates and showing the Chelsea supporters what I can do on the pitch. Having played in Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, I now want to play in the Premier League, one of the strongest leagues in the world. I am very excited for this challenge and will be proud to wear the Chelsea shirt.”


Nkunku should help with the greatest issue facing a Chelsea side who scored 38 goals in 38 Premier League games last season, in his last two Bundesliga campaigns he scored 36 whilst adding a further 21 assists. He is not, however, the center forward that the Blues need — Nicolas Jackson of Villarreal could be — but the sort of inside left attacker who plays best with someone else leading the line that Pochettino already has a lot of. How he can be fit alongside Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk (assuming Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang depart) will be an early challenge for the Argentine to puzzle out.

Midfield reinforcements wanted

June 20: It is not all about sales. The potential departures of Kante, Kovacic and Mount, six months after Jorginho left, mean that Pochettino will need new bodies in midfield. Chelsea had wanted Manuel Ugarte but were beaten to his services by PSG and are now targeting Caicedo. The London Evening Standard reports that the Blues have had a £60 million offer rejected with Brighton holding out for £100 million. In addition Chelsea are one of several clubs keen on Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, also wanted by Arsenal, 

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