Soccer

Fabrizio Romano’s Here We Go: Christopher Nkunku fuels Chelsea rebuild; Jude Bellingham focused on World Cup

The World Cup is entering its most important moments, but the January transfer market is approaching and the clubs are starting to take action on different deals. Especially in Spain and England, waiting for decision time for Cristiano Ronaldo after ending his Manchester United contract last week. 

In particular, Chelsea are planning the future with a new board alongside Todd Boehly. Plenty of changes have been already been made, with the hiring of Joe Shields, who joined from Southampton to take on the director of recruitment job, Laurence Stewart, from AS Monaco as the new technical director, and Paul Winstanley, from Brighton as director of global talent and transfers. In the next few days, Christopher Vivell will be unveiled as new technical director joining from RB Leipzig. The rebuilding of the club structure is ongoing and will not stop in 2023.

But there is also a first signing for the 2023-24 season almost agreed verbally: Christopher Nkunku is expected to join Chelsea next summer on a deal agreed with RB Leipzig for more than €60 million release clause. The final fee will be closer to a €70 million package but with better payment terms. The deal will be valid for next summer after medical tests were already completed in September, before he suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the World Cup for France. We’re still waiting for the contracts to be signed, as it’s an important step to avoid any issues.

It’s not time for decisions yet for Jude Bellingham. The Borussia Dortmund and England star is now 100% focused on the World Cup and no decision will be made now. That said, Liverpool are still considering the 19-year-old as priority target for 2023 while Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea remain in the race and will push to find a way to sign him. It’s not just on the player side; Borussia Dortmund want way more than the rumored €100 million and the price tag will be re-evaluated after the World Cup.

Craving more World Cup coverage? Listen below and follow House of Champions, a daily CBS Sports soccer podcast, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more during the big games in Qatar. 

In Spain, while Real Madrid focus on announcing new contracts for Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Eder Militao and, of course, Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema. Barcelona will wait for Sergio Busquets to decide his future in 2023 as Inter Miami are pushing to bring him to MLS. Xavi still hopes for Busquets to stay for one more year, so it will be up to the player. Meanwhile, Barça are close to agreeing a new deal with Alejandro Balde, who’s one of Spain’s surprises at the World Cup. Barcelona have offered him a new five-year deal with increased salary and potential €1 billion release clause included in the contract.



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