Chelsea's big midfield transfer plans: Fernandez, Bellingham & Rice among five possible targets

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Enzo Fernandez Jude Bellingham Declan Rice 2022-23
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With Chelsea likely to be in the market for a midfielder in next summer's transfer window, GOAL takes a look at the Blues' potential candidates.

With Jorginho and N'Golo Kante out of contract at the end of the season, and the temperamental fitness of both Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, The Athletic has revealed that Graham Potter will look to bolster his midfield options for the 2023-24 campaign.

Regardless of the fate of 31-year-olds Jorginho and Kante, Chelsea are already assessing their options for improvements to central areas.

World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice are among the reported targets.

Below is a look at Chelsea's big summer transfer plans for midfield.

  1. Enzo Fernandez (Benfica)
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    Enzo Fernandez (Benfica)

    Fernandez's performances in the World Cup with Argentina - which earned him the Young Player of the Tournament award - have made the 21-year-old one of the most sought-after players in world football.

    Chelsea are among the clubs impressed with him, and they have been linked with a move as early as January. They're reportedly willing to match the player's exorbitant £106m ($127.8m) release clause.

    Fernandez could become the first piece of Potter's midfield puzzle, although they will have to fight off stern competition from Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester United.

  2. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
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    Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    Another player who shone at the World Cup, despite England's quarter-final exit, was Jude Bellingham, which has made him one of Europe's hottest properties alongside Fernandez.

    The 19-year-old already has nine goals and three assists to his name for Dortmund this season, with his performances in Qatar raising his already elevated price tag.

    Chelsea are one of many clubs monitoring Bellingham, though, with Liverpool quoted as the early frontrunners before GOAL reported the midfielder's desire to move to Real Madrid, who could land him for a cool £105.7m ($127.5m) in the summer of 2023.

  3. Declan Rice (West Ham)

    Declan Rice (West Ham)

    Rice came through Chelsea's academy as a boy before joining West Ham's youth set up in 2013, and the midfielder has been projected for a return to his boyhood club ever since.

    The 23-year-old hinted at a possible move during England's World Cup campaign in Qatar, before it was reported on Christmas Eve that West Ham could cash in on up to £150m ($180.9m) with Rice not set to extend his current deal, which expires in 2024.

    It looks unlikely that any deal will be reached in January, and the Blues could face summer competition from Manchester United, who have also long been linked with a move for the midfielder.

  4. Moises Caicedo (Brighton)
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    Moises Caicedo (Brighton)

    Caicedo has proven to be yet another example of Brighton's impressive recruitment strategy, with the 21-year-old a relative unknown before joining the Seagulls from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle in 2020.

    He enjoyed a breakout campaign last season and the Ecuadorian's performances earned a call-up to Gustavo Alfaro's World Cup squad, where he was on target in a 2-1 loss to Senegal on matchday three.

    Again, Chelsea aren't the only Premier League club interested in Caicedo, as his potential suitors include the likes of Manchester United - who Brighton beat to his signature back in 2020 - Liverpool, and, most recently, Arsenal.

  5. Romeo Lavia (Southampton)
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    Romeo Lavia (Southampton)

    Arguably the least established midfielder on this list, Lavia was one of the many players to cement the link between Manchester City and Southampton over the years after joining Saints in the summer.

    Nearing his 19th birthday, the Belgian would undoubtedly form part of Chelsea's midfield plans for the future, alongside the likes of summer signings Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei.

    Lavia's only Premier League goal this season curiously came against Chelsea back in August, with his performances either side of an injury sparking the interest of rival teams, who could also move for the midfielder in the summer.