Chelsea are set to sign a goalkeeper to put pressure on Kepa Arrizabalaga after reaching an agreement with Rennes over a £22m deal for Édouard Mendy.
Frank Lampard needs more competition for Arrizabalaga after losing faith in the £71.6m goalkeeper. Arrizabalaga lost his place last season and was criticised after conceding a soft goal during Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Brighton last Monday.
Chelsea have been unable to find a club capable of buying Arrizabalaga during this transfer window and, although they admire Atlético Madrid’s Jan Oblak, they have had to lower their sights to more affordable options. They have tracked Mendy for a while and the 28-year-old comes with a recommendation from Petr Cech. The former Chelsea goalkeeper became the club’s technical and performance adviser after retiring last summer and is influential in their recruitment process.
Chelsea, who have already spent more than £200m this summer, have maintained their interest in Mendy since having a £14.2m turned down by Rennes last month. Negotiations have intensified this week and it is understood an agreement was reached after Chelsea were told to raise their offer of £18.2m plus add-ons for Mendy, who has agreed terms on a five-year deal.
Reports in France have claimed that Rennes tried to convince Chelsea to give them the France striker Olivier Giroud as part of the deal. Rennes have previously asked Chelsea about signing Fikayo Tomori on loan. The defender is also a target for Everton.
Mendy excelled after joining Rennes from Reims last summer, helping them qualify for the Champions League. The Senegal international will compete with Arrizabalaga for a starting place, though Lampard also has the experienced Willy Caballero.
Chelsea have signed Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr on free transfers and paid big fees to land Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. The owner, Roman Abramovich, has backed Lampard and Chelsea, who turned down an approach for N’Golo Kanté this week, could still try to sign a defensive midfielder. They are interested in Declan Rice, although West Ham are desperate to hold on to the England international.