Chelsea are reportedly set to pursue a summer deal for in-demand Ajax winger David Neres, who is valued at £40 million and is also a Liverpool target.
According to a report by Daily Mail, David Neres is now the subject of interest from Chelsea. The Blues will prioritise the transfer of the Brazilian winger, also being chased by Premier League rivals Liverpool, in the summer transfer window, if their appeal over the FIFA-imposed transfer ban is successful.
Neres has become a household name over the course of this season, having been a vital cog of Erik ten Hag’s exciting young Ajax side. Part of the Dutch giants for over two years now, it is the current campaign that has seen him add a level of consistency to his game.
Neres made 50 appearances across all competitions in the season that has gone by, boasting an impressive return of 12 goals and 15 assists in these outings. His exploits for Ajax have also helped the 22-year-old break into the Brazilian national side, with Tite also picking him for this summer’s Copa America.
With his stock skyrocketing over the course of the season, it is quite natural that Neres has been monitored by some of the biggest clubs in the world. Liverpool have been linked the most heavily with him. But, Chelsea are also hoping to sign him this summer.
As things stand, Chelsea will not be able to sign any players in the upcoming transfer window, with FIFA enforcing a two-window ban for breaching rules over the signing of youth players. But, after seeing their appeal being rejected by the governing body, the Blues are now hoping to at least have the ban frozen for the summer while they lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Should that be the case, Chelsea are expected to go into an overdrive of transfer business. The priority appears to be attack, with the future of Eden Hazard uncertain. Should Hazard end up departing from Stamford Bridge, Neres appears as someone who could be a long-term replacement.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have one of the best first-choice attacking unit in Europe. But, beyond Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Jurgen Klopp has often struggled for options. Neres is thus, a viable target who could also give the Liverpool manager the option of switching up formations while still using natural choices, whenever necessary.
The curious part about the report though, is that it stresses that Neres is being considered by Chelsea as an alternative to Luka Jovic, who appears set to join Real Madrid. This is perplexing, as Neres has never played as a striker, and is much better utilised out wide.
The Brazilian would thereby, be a better replacement for Hazard instead of Gonzalo Higuain, whose loan spell at the Bridge is unlikely to be extended by Chelsea. Meanwhile, any suitor will have to shell out £40 million, an amount that is unlikely to deter either the Blues or Liverpool.
Neres also has admirers in the likes of Arsenal and PSG, meaning a transfer battle could be on the cards this summer. As far as Chelsea are concerned, the state of their transfer ban will determine whether they can launch the offensive for the 22-year-old, the failure of which would give Liverpool the advantage in his pursuit.