Chelsea have NO chance of signing Jude Bellingham - which midfielders could they turn to instead?

Chelsea Bellingham GFX 2022-23
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A truly humbling season means the Blues may have to seek alternatives to key summer transfer targets, including England's midfield sensation

The summer's biggest and likely tiresome transfer saga is almost certain to centre on one man: Borussia Dortmund midfield dynamo Jude Bellingham. A target for all of Europe's elite, the tug of war for his signature will come to a head in the coming months as the 19-year-old's future is finally decided.

But one team that is unlikely to have a dog in this fight is Chelsea.

A nightmarish campaign on the pitch has seen the Blues slip into the bottom half of the Premier League table, and amid the chaos off it, Frank Lampard has been re-appointed as interim manager following Graham Potter's sacking.

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A financial hit is impending as a result of their imminent failure to qualify for the Champions League, and Chelsea's latest accounts reflect that there could well be trouble on the horizon if they do not fall in line with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Consequently, a lack of desire on the player's part and an inability to fund a £100 million+ deal, Bellingham may well be beyond reach.

One consolation is that the club secured the future of part of their midfield with the January arrival of deep-lying playmaker Enzo Fernandez. Now, Chelsea's transfer strategists must seek an all-action, goalscoring alternative to Bellingham.

Here are the names they should consider...

  1. Gavi
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    A typical ball-playing product of Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, Gavi has an added aggressive edge that could serve him well in the Premier League.

    He is not yet a player who scores or assists all that regularly, but the opportunity to sign the 18-year-old could simply be too good to pass up.

    According to recent reports, Barcelona's own financial mess means that a new contract the prodigy signed last year is yet to be validated and could be voided altogether if they cannot free up the funds to register him.

    With the potential to sign him for nothing, Chelsea have even held talks with the player's agent as they look to capitalise on the situation.

    Watch this space...

  2. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

    Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

    A player whose name lives in the transfer gossip pages, but this appears set to be the summer that Milinkovic-Savic FINALLY moves on from Lazio.

    The Serbia international is preparing to enter the final 12 months of his contract in Rome and is widely expected to turn down a new deal - forcing his club to cash in or risk losing him for nothing in a year's time.

    Technically gifted and consistent source of goals and assists down the years for the Biancocelesti, there will be plenty of competition for a player who, at 28, should be entering the prime years of his career.

    Arsenal and Newcastle have been linked, but Chelsea should not sleep on SMS as a potentially ideal alternative to Bellingham.

  3. Eduardo Camavinga
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    Eduardo Camavinga

    Another prodigious youngster who is not necessarily a regular source of goals, but whose circumstances could make attempting to sign him a no-brainer.

    Having struggled to nail down a starting place in Real Madrid's midfield in the first half of the campaign, Carlo Ancelotti has regularly deployed Camavinga at left-back in recent times - a conversion that the player is not a fan of.

    With Los Blancos set to persevere with trusted lieutenants Luka Modric and Toni Kroos next season, and the more youthful Aurelien Tchouameni and Fede Valverde to contend with too, Chelsea could look to take advantage of that competition for places by giving a disgruntled Camavinga an exit route.

  4. Nicolo Barella

    Nicolo Barella

    Italy international Barella has been one of the driving forces behind Inter's resurgence in recent seasons, although things have turned sour of late.

    The 26-year-old has become a scapegoat amid a torrid run of form for the Nerazzurri, who have slipped out of the top four in Serie A, and has been criticised for on-field clashes with his own team-mates.

    A dynamic ball-carrier who has a fierce strike and will not shy away from a challenge, Barella's tenacity seems perfectly suited to the rigours of the Premier League - and it's been reported that he could be available for as little as £44 million ($55m).

    However, Chelsea could have a fight on their hands, as fellow strugglers Liverpool have earmarked him as their own possible alternative to Bellingham.

  5. Piotr Zielinski
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    Piotr Zielinski

    While Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia have dominated the headlines throughout Napoli's extraordinary march to the Serie A title, Zielinski has been an outstanding member of the supporting cast.

    An intelligent and technically astute midfield operator, Zielinski is often the catalyst for some of Napoli's best attacks - either picking a perfectly-timed pass or driving forward with the ball at his feet.

    The Partenopei will be loath to lose one of their key players as they look to build upon a first Scudetto in 33 years, but the Poland international is certain to draw attention as he heads towards the final 12 months of his contract.

    At Chelsea, the 28-year-old would be the perfect foil to Fernandez in the middle of the park, breaking the lines and providing a more potent attacking threat.

  6. Lorenzo Pellegrini
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    Lorenzo Pellegrini

    A classy midfielder, Pellegrini is among a plethora of names to have been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

    It remains to be seen if the Roma skipper can meet the physical demands of the Premier League, and he is perhaps too similar in profile to Fernandez as a playmaker, but Pellegrini would come far cheaper than Bellingham and other names on this list.

    His versatility makes him an attractive prospect, too, with the Italy international capable of operating as a No.6, a No.8 or a No.10.

    However, he loves Roma, and prizing him away from his boyhood club would be no mean feat with three years left on his contract.

  7. Mason Mount
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    Mason Mount

    With financial hardship on the horizon, one question Chelsea's ownership should be asking themselves is whether they actually need to go out and splash on a new midfielder.

    Indeed, the answer could be right in front of their eyes.

    Although he has endured an off-season by his high standards, Mount has barely had a chance to feature in a settled XI alongside Fernandez in midfield, and it is undeniable that he shares all the attributes that the other names on this list possess.

    His future needs to be resolved, and fast, but Lampard's return and restoring Mount to the starting line up as soon as possible could save Chelsea tens of millions in the long run.