Chelsea have made a productive start on the outgoings front this summer, but Mason Mount’s impending exit to Manchester United undoubtedly stings.
It didn’t take long for the academy graduate to endear himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful following his first-team breakthrough in 2019, with some regarding Mount as a potential future skipper in west London as his prestige ascended.
However, a complex contract situation has forced the Blues into a corner and United’s interest finally culminated in an agreement with Chelsea that’ll see Mount move to Old Trafford in a £60m deal.
It’s a killer blow for new boss Mauricio Pochettino, who supposedly wanted Mount as part of his setup. The England international could’ve lined up as a box-to-box in a midfield three or as a more advanced playmaker in Poch’s favoured 4-2-3-1. The onus could be on Conor Gallagher to fill Mount’s void, but it’s likely that Chelsea will venture into the market in search of a replacement,
Here are five options.
Club: Celta Vigo
A whole host of clubs are keen on signing Celta Vigo starlet Gabri Veiga this summer. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are the latest to show interest, with Chelsea understood to have identified the Spaniard as a potential Mount replacement.
Veiga is available for less than £35m and is a creative midfielder with bags of potential. The 21-year-old broke out in La Liga last season and concluded the campaign by scoring his tenth and 11th league goals against Barcelona to ensure Celta remained in the top flight.
Veiga is a risk-taker in possession and an opportunistic creator who loves to take players on. He’s a crowd-pleaser that’s for sure, and a talent who’ll benefit from Pochettino’s coaching.
Milinkovic-Savic has been perpetually linked with a move away from Lazio seemingly ever since he arrived in the Eternal City.
The Serb has developed into one of Serie A’s best, with Juventus and several Premier League clubs often keeping a close eye on his situation at Lazio. Mount’s exit has sparked rumours in the Italian media of a potential Chelsea pursuit for the towering midfielder.
Milinkovic-Savic contrasts wildly in profile to Mount, but he’s an utterly unique talent with a rare skill set and should the Biancocolesti not demand an extortionate fee, he’s a player Chelsea might fancy taking a look at.
Club: Bayern Munich
Dutch midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has endured a pretty wretched 12 months.
After enduring a mightily frustrating debut season at Bayern, he was then dumped out of the Under-21 European Championships in the group stages last month.
The midfielder has previously drawn comparisons to Paul Pogba, but his situation in Bavaria is a curious one. Despite his distinct talent, he’s not guaranteed a starting role next season and potential suitors could look to take advantage despite his eagerness to stay put.
While he wouldn’t be the ideal double pivot partner for Enzo Fernandez in a 4-2-3-1, Gravenberch previously excelled on the left side of a three-man midfield at Ajax.
Barella joined Inter as an unassuming arrival from Cagliari, but he quickly emerged as one of Serie A’s – then Europe’s – premier midfielders under Antonio Conte and now Simone Inzaghi.
The indefatigable Italian is a manager’s dream who wears his heart on his sleeve every time he takes to the field. Barella has continued to mature in Milan, and he played a starring role as Inter reached the Champions League final last season.
The relentless 26-year-old would fit in with Poch’s pressing ideals, and he appears a good fit for the right-sided creative role in the Argentine’s potential 4-2-3-1. Inter won’t want to lose him, however, and will demand a hefty fee if Chelsea do come in for him.
If Barella proves to be unattainable, the Blues could pivot to his international teammate, Frattesi.
The Sassuolo man’s skill set is similar to Barella’s and has been touted as a potential option for the Nerazzurri this summer. Serie A’s leading clubs have all been keeping a close eye on the dogged midfielder, who has impressed for the Neroverdi over the past two seasons.
Frattesi is a willing runner both in and out of possession and excellent at timing late runs into the box. He scores plenty of goals via sheer determination and astute timing.
The Italian international may not be the household name Chelsea supporters are familiar with, but he’s an excellent midfielder who’s available at more than a fair price this summer.