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Transfer News: Chelsea earmark Ligue 1 star to back up injury-hit first-team star

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Chelsea dealt with a blow as Lyon president rules out the departure of Malo Gusto.

Chelsea to bid for Lyon right-back Malo Gusto as backup to Reece James

According to The Telegraph, Chelsea are set to bid for Lyon right-back Malo Gusto as a backup option for Reece James in that department.

The French side are eager to keep the 19-year-old until the end of this season. His contract there runs up until the summer of 2024 (Transfermarkt).

Having spent close to £460m on signing new players since the start of the summer window, Todd Boehly and co. have no intention to stop. They are keen to add more players to the squad.

Chelsea to bid for Lyon right-back Malo Gusto as backup to Reece James.
Chelsea to bid for Lyon right-back Malo Gusto as a backup for Reece James.

Along with a right-back, their interest in signing a midfielder is well-documented. The initial bid of £55m was rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion for Moises Caicedo, while the club are looking to make a new push to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Coming back to Gusto, the French U-21 international is a right-back who can either play as a centre-back or a right-wing-back. He has been with the Lyon youth side since 2019 and made his senior debut during the 2020/21 season.

The 19-year-old has been one of the regular starters in the team since the start of last season. He has made 45 league appearances from that time till date, assisting five goals.

Chelsea to bid for Lyon right-back Malo Gusto as backup to Reece James.
Chelsea currently do not have a player like Reece James if the Englishman gets injured or needs rest. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Gusto’s profile and qualities are quite similar to Reece James’. The Frenchman is an athletic fullback who prefers to bomb forward and be an influence in the final third. He possesses a good pace to make recovery runs and stop opposition wingers from getting past easily.

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Chelsea are looking to provide cover and help to James, who has had his injury issues in the last 12 months. When he doesn’t play, it does leave a huge gap in the team. So, the arrival of Gusto would aid in Graham Potter rotating the Englishman in and out of the side without much drop in quality and profile.

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