Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was keen on a move for Christopher Nkunku as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, but RB Leipzig are not interested in a transfer.
That’s according to SportBILD, who say the German side are strongly resisting the possibility of Nkunku leaving this summer.
They explain that following Lukaku’s return to Inter Milan, the Chelsea manager remembered Nkunku, whom he worked alongside during his time as Paris Saint Germain coach.
The move was discussed internally at Stamford Bridge, and the Blues believed they would have to ‘fork out’ €100m in transfer fees to sign the Frenchman.
However, there were two obstacles to that happening; Chelsea’s reluctance to spend such a fee and RB Leipzig boss Oliver Mintzlaff putting a ‘transfer veto’ on his star man.
He has repeatedly stressed that Nkunku will not be leaving and, in order to emphasise this, flew to London to meet Nkunku’s agent Pini Zahavi.
They held a secret meeting, and Mintzlaff emphasised his stance: Nkunku stays.
In doing so, he not only turned down interest from Chelsea but numerous other interested clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester United.
Zahavi has also spoken to PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter and even Manchester City.
Most of those clubs made it clear to Zahavi that they would struggle to spend more than €80m on his client, so the agent was left with little leverage in negotiations with Leipzig.
His meeting with Mintzlaff has now put a definitive end to any transfer happening this summer, and the focus is on giving Nkunku a new contract.
That will see the forward extend until 2025 and enjoy a bump in wages, but the deal will also include a release clause for next summer valued at €60-65m.
That gives Chelsea their chance next year, and Tuchel will need to find an alternative replacement for Lukaku this summer.