Chelsea are close to signing French international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda after holding talks with the 31-year-old, according to reports from the British media.
Mandanda, whose contract with Marseille comes to an end later this month, has spent nine seasons at the Ligue 1 club and now appears ready to undertake a different challenge.
Chelsea are ready to swoop in for the France international and have already held talks with Mandanda regarding his contract demands, according to the Guardian. Interestingly, Mandanda has himself expressed his desire to play abroad.
“Abroad would be something good at 31,” Mandanda said after the French Cup final last month, which Marseille lost 4-2 to PSG. “It would be a nice adventure on both a sporting and a personal level. The two leagues that interest me most are the Premier League and La Liga.”
Mandanda is currently with the French national squad at Euro 2016, where he is the second choice goalkeeper behind Tottenham Hotspur custodian Hugo Lloris.
While Lloris made the move to England quite early on in his career, Mandanda stayed back in Ligue 1 as Marseilles’s first-choice goalkeeper for the last nine years. Interestingly, Mandanda had an unsuccessful trial with former Premier League side Aston Villa earlier in his career.
Who will make way for Mandanda — Courtois or Begovic?
There is a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding the goalkeepers at Chelsea, with both Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Begovic, who is an £8 million acquisition from Stoke City, has had to operate as the second choice at Chelsea. Despite playing well while Courtois was injured, interim manager Guus Hiddink kept him on the bench even in the cup fixtures, something that has not gone down too well with the Bosnia & Herzegovina international. He made just one appearance in the FA Cup and got 15 starts in the Premier League last season.
While the British media are reporting that Mandanda is likely to be signed as an understudy to Courtois, the Belgian’s future at the club is itself not secure at the moment. Courtois has reportedly been unhappy at Chelsea as he does not want to train with the Blues’ long-term goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon. The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to La Liga side Real Madrid.
It would be interesting to see which goalkeeper makes the move away from Stamford Bridge this summer. However, with Mandanda being strongly linked with a move to Chelsea, it looks like the Blues will end up with two quality keepers regardless of who leaves the club.