Chelsea are said to be monitoring Brighton centre back Lewis Dunk ahead of a potential move, though they would have to stump up a ridiculous £50m if they want to sign the one-time England international.
The Blues have struggled in defence this season, with defenders Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori all given chances at the back. Chelsea have conceded 29 goals in 22 Premier League games so far this term, the most of any current top six side.
But while you may think a more established centre back is needed to sort out Frank Lampard’s backline, the Times somewhat surprisingly suggest Dunk could be the player to step in.
The 28-year-old has been a mainstay in the Seagulls’ defence since his debut in 2010 and has played a major role in their rise from League One to the Premier League. His partnership with Shane Duffy was seen as one of Brighton’s key strengths, though the Irishman has struggled for regular game time since Graham Potter’s arrival.
While the £50m asking price might seem a little too much to some, Chelsea have a transfer kitty built up over the last year – owing in part to their FIFA-imposed transfer ban – and have the cash to make the deal happen.
Brighton would not be expected to stand in the way if Dunk wanted the transfer, with the move potentially offering the defender Champions League football and a better shot of being included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020.
Centre back spots are among the most open in the England set-up, with only Harry Maguire establishing himself as a first choice option at the heart of their defence. John Stones, Tyrone Mings, Fikayo Tomori, Joe Gomez and Michael Keane are among the players given chances over the past couple of years.
Dunk has made 20 Premier League appearances so far this season, scoring twice and registering three assists with Brighton currently 14th in the table.