EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea could sign Villareal wing back when two more sales are made

Chelsea have begun the process of trimming down their squad, but there’s a long way to go.

At left back they’ve got an established starter in Ben Chilwell, but also two top class backups in the form of Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri, both of whom have been first choice in the past.

The financial situation of most European clubs last summer meant Chelsea were forced to hold on to them for a year longer than they might have liked, but this summer they’re hopeful they can shift them both.

According to a source at the club, the top target to replace them as backup is Alfonso Pedraza of Villareal. An attacking wing back with a similar profile to Chilwell, Pedraza would provide an affordable medium-term reserve who can slot into Thomas Tuchel’s system right away.

The Blues’ pursuit of the Spain U21 international is expected to get serious in the next 10 days, but the entire operation will be dependent on selling Alonso and Emerson.

Signing Pedraza shouldn’t prove too difficult, and he won’t command a huge fee. He’s keen to play in the Premier League and would get a major pay rise as part of the move, accepting that he’s likely to be second choice as long as Chilwell is around and playing well.

At 25 he’s at good age for Chelsea, and while he’s probably not got the quality to win the starting spot long term, he could well stick around as an effective reserve for a long time.

One difficult element could be the interdependence of this signing on the two sales. Chelsea won’t be signing Pedraza if they can’t shift Alonso and Emerson, but the indications we have are that the willingness for a deal from all parties means that everything can be arranged in advance, with a deal ready to be completed later in the summer once the pair have been sold.