Chelsea are confident they will be able to sign Ben Chilwell from Leicester if they secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
The England left-back is a top transfer target for the Blues, with manager Frank Lampard known to be particularly keen on the 23-year-old as he tries to reshape his squad for the 2020-21 campaign.
Chelsea have already secured Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from Red Bull Leipzig for a combined total of about £90million, and the prospect of top-level European football may help get a deal for Chilwell over the line.
Leicester are likely to drive an extremely hard bargain for Chilwell, who was developed in the Foxes’ academy and has four years left on his contract.
In achieving an £80m fee from Manchester United for Harry Maguire last summer, Leicester showed their negotiating prowess and they would be looking for another high fee for Chilwell.
Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers admires Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand. The pair worked together at Chelsea when Rodgers was a youth coach at Stamford Bridge, while Bertrand also spent time on loan at Reading during Rodgers’ tenure.
Bertrand’s European experience, as he has played in and won both the Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea, is a plus for Rodgers, though Saints are keen to agree a new contract with the 31-year-old.
Both Leicester and Chelsea are on track for a place in Europe’s main club competition.
They will resume third and fourth in the Premier League respectively when the action restarts next week, with Leicester five points clear of Lampard’s team and eight ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United.
The sides are also scheduled to meet in the FA Cup quarter-finals.