Manchester United have reportedly joined Chelsea in the race to sign Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell this summer. The Mirror has claimed that Frank Lampard’s side remain the favourites to sign the England left-back this summer but do not agree with the fee that Leicester are demanding for the player. It is reported that much like Harry Maguire’s transfer last summer, the club that finished fifth in the Premier League, missing out on UEFA Champions League football could demand £80 million for the 23-year-old.
It has been suggested that Chilwell was Lampard’s number on transfer target this summer but the London club had not yet agreed on the fee demanded for the fullback. It is stated that officials from the club were stunned when they were told that £80 million would be needed to allow the player to leave this summer, which seemingly stopped negotiations from concluding with a deal. Now United have Benn once again linked to the player and it could be suggested that United will not spend that kind of money on the player either so there would be no point thinking that they would.
Of course, the 23-year-old could push for a move away from Leicester City this summer after the club failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League this season, sitting in good position at one stage of the season, 14 points clear of United, ending up finishing fifth with United sitting four points clear after beating the club 2-0 in the final match of the season. Playing in the UEFA Europa League may not be the level that Chilwell wants to continue playing, so in that case, a move to either United or Chelsea would give him higher level European football next season.
United have Luke Shaw as their first choice left-back and with him missing from the squad due to an injury sustained against his former club, Southampton, United have been utilising Brandon Williams in the position, as they have for much of the season when Shaw was injured. Tim Fosu-Mensah also played in the position for one match, doing well on playing in an unfamiliar position. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was reported by The Sun commenting on whether Chilwell had played his last match for the club, saying:
“He’s not a player we want to lose. I’m quite relaxed on it. I’m not worried at all.
“We’ve got a fantastic squad that we want to keep together so I don’t worry.
“You can spin it whichever way you want. There is no intention to sell Ben Chilwell and there is absolutely no need for us to sell Ben Chilwell.
“If you want a message, the message is he’s not for sale.”
At this stage, it is not even certain as to whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has thought about signing a new fullback this summer although in terms of strengthening, if Diogo Dalot did leave the club, there would be a place available in the squad which could either be taken by Fosu-Mensah or even Ethan Laird, who has been training with the first team for much of the season since the restart and completion of the domestic season. Shaw has been missed, which shows his stature at the club right now and his importance this season. If he can keep his fitness, it might work but United might have another year before making a decision.
Written by John Walker