Exclusive: Chelsea's Gusto interest could snowball as Man City and Spurs keep tabs

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • 23 Jan 2023 17:19 GMT
  • 3 min read
Lyon's Malo Gusto in action

Chelsea’s pursuit of Malo Gusto could ‘snowball’ in the coming days as they look to beat rivals to the signing of the Lyon right-back, CBS reporter Ben Jacobs exclusively tells FootballTransfers.

The Blues have explored the possibility of signing Gusto and it is a position they have been clear about wanting to strengthen but there is also heavy competition from other clubs.

Manchester City, Dortmund and Tottenham are teams who are monitoring the situation and could act in the remainder of the January transfer window or over the summer but a move could snowball over the next few days.

PROFILE: Everything you need to know about Malo Gusto

The beauty of Gusto is that he plays regularly at right-back for Lyon but can also fill in at centre-back, which is a big appeal for a number of clubs looking for reinforcements in that area, particularly in the Premier League.

Gusto has been an excellent player for Lyon since making his debut in January 2021, he has played more than 50 games and he has been a key part of their season so far, meaning a deal could be harder because the French side would prefer not to lose a key player mid-season.

If Lyon can hold out and not cave to a deal this month, they will feel that they can manifest more of a bidding war in the summer and get a better price, with the 19-year-old's contract set to expire in 2024.

Chelsea’s tactic under Todd Boehly has often been to bid early and beat off their suitors, which is why sources have indicated that the Blues could try their luck between now and the end of the January window.

How does Gusto fit in at Chelsea alongside Reece James?

The club have internally discussed the prospect of lining up a bid in the past few days in order to give them cover for Reece James but the difficulty comes from trying to find a player who is aware that the England international will be the automatic starter at right-back when he is fit.

That is where Gusto is of appeal, because he can fill in at centre-back as well, meaning there is more opportunity to get game time and potentially play alongside James in the future.

IDEAL: Why Gusto would be perfect for Graham Potter's Chelsea

At the same time, Gusto is young and there is plenty of time for him to develop compared to a player such as Josip Juranovic for example, who has recently signed for Union Berlin from Celtic, a 27-year-old who may not be willing to come in as a backup at this stage of his career, making a deal harder to conduct.

There is an age gap of around four years between James and Gusto, meaning the Lyon man may be prepared to bide his time and play out of position sometimes and then, when he is 23, be challenging James for at right-back, who will be 27 by then.

Chelsea look set to line up a bid for Gusto and his versatility is why they want to sign him this month, so the transfer is one to watch between now and the end of the window, although Lyon’s stance is that they want to keep hold of the player until the summer, meaning it will take a significant bid to change their mind.