Chelsea are reportedly keeping a close watch on the development of AS Saint-Etienne’s teenage prospect Lucas Gourna-Douath, who has been likened to Paul Pogba.

According to a report from Goal.com, Chelsea are monitoring AS Saint-Etienne midfielder Lucas Gouna-Douath, who has enjoyed a breakthroughs season in the French Ligue 1 in 2020/21, with a view to sign him in the summer.

The 17-year-old Gourna-Douath has been with Saint-Etienne since 2018, after having come through the ranks at US Torcy academy – a place where Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba also spent his formative years at before switching to England. Having joined ASSE three years ago, the midfielder got his first big breakthrough at the first-team level in September last year.

Since then, there has been no looking back for Gourna-Douath, who has gone from strength to strength to become a key member of Claude Puel’s side while also establishing himself as one of the best young midfielders in France. So far this term, the central midfielder has featured in 25 Ligue 1 games and has been likened to Pogba, although he is a bit more defensive-minded than the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner.

Gourna-Douath’s exploits with Saint-Etienne have naturally caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs across Europe with Chelsea said to be among those interested in the midfielder ahead of the summer transfer window.

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The Blues have a stocked midfield unit as things stand as Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante vie for the starting berths with Billy Gilmour waiting in the wings. In addition, there are the likes of Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Marco van Ginkel and Tiemoue Bakayoko all of whom are out on loan and will return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

However, it is unlikely that most of the loanees will find a place in Thomas Tuchel’s plans for next season. And throw in Jorginho’s continued flirtations with a potential return to Italy, signing a new central midfielder who can be groomed into a future superstar like the recently-linked Gabriel Menino or even Gourna-Douath would make a lot of sense for the west London giants.

The report does add that despite rating him very highly, Saint-Etienne could be forced into a sale this summer due to the financial troubles brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Gourna-Douth, as per the report, could be made available for a transfer fee of around €25 million, which should not be a problem for Chelsea.

But Chelsea are likely to face competition from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain as well as RB Leipzig in pursuit of the France Under-17 captain. It now remains to be seen if the Blues act on their reported interest in the young French starlet and sign him up before next season.

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