Chelsea have reportedly agreed a deal in principle to sign Monaco centre-back Axel Disasi.
The Blues have been in the market for a new centre-back since Wesley Fofana’s latest injury blow, which saw the Frenchman undergo an operation on an anterior cruciate ligament problem.
Fofana’s issue will rule him out for a significant period, leading Mauricio Pochettino to conduct a search for reinforcements, despite already possessing Trevoh Chalobah, Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva and Levi Colwill.
A reunion with Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi had been mooted, but with the Englishman boasting a £60m price tag, the Blues have seemingly turned to a cheaper alternative.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea have now reached an agreement to bring Disasi to Stamford Bridge, and the Blues will pay €45m (£38.7m) for the 25-year-old.
Axel Disasi celebrates scoring for Monaco on October 6, 2022
Disasi had previously been linked with Manchester United and Newcastle United, but Chelsea have ostensibly won the race to prise him away from the Stade Louis II, where Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu is set to become his replacement.
The France international made his senior breakthrough with Reims before joining Monaco in a €13m (£11.2m) deal in 2020, where he quickly became a regular in the heart of the backline.
Disasi has contributed 12 goals and four assists in 129 appearances for Monaco in all competitions, helping Les Monegasques reach the Champions League qualifying rounds on two occasions.
The 2022-22 season saw Disasi enjoy his most productive campaign yet with six goals and four assists from 49 games, while he also captained Les Monegasques in 10 Ligue 1 contests.
While the 6ft 3in Frenchman is primarily a centre-back, he has also been deployed on the right-hand side of the Monaco backline, although Chelsea are well-covered in that area with Reece James and Malo Gusto.
Chelsea’s new manager Mauricio Pochettino during the press conference on July 7, 2023
A four-cap France international, Disasi made his debut for Les Bleus at the 2022 World Cup and came off the bench for the final minute of extra time in their loss to Argentina in the final.
The former Reims man will link up with Chelsea only a year after his old Monaco partner Badiashile, while Rennes midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu is also believed to be on the verge of a move to West London.
The 19-year-old is expected to complete a £23.2m switch to Stamford Bridge imminently, where he and Disasi will join up with fellow new arrivals Christopher Nkunku, Nicolas Jackson, Diego Moreira and Angelo Gabriel.
It remains to be seen what impact Disasi’s arrival will have on any potential outgoings, but Malang Sarr – an ex-Monaco loanee – should be allowed to leave, while Chalobah’s future may also be plunged into fresh doubt.
The Blues have already let Kalidou Koulibaly, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ethan Ampadu seek pastures new this summer, with the defensive trio representing three of 14 senior players cut from Pochettino’s ranks.