Gnabry, Leao and Chelsea’s alternatives after missing out on Raphinha

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 12 Jul 2022 11:25 BST
  • 4 min read
Rafael Leao and Serge Gnabry

Chelsea appear to have been beaten to the signature of Leeds United star Raphinha by Barcelona, with the Brazilian intent on joining the Spanish giants this summer.

The Blues had agreed a fee with Leeds over a possible transfer, but were met with difficulties agreeing personal terms with the player, and it now seems as though Barcelona will sign him this summer.

With Raheem Sterling coming through the door, Thomas Tuchel will be buoyed by news of one addition in the forward department, but the German head coach is still keen to add more quality to his squad.

FootballTransfers takes a look at Chelsea's Raphinha alternatives this window.

Serge Gnabry - Bayern Munich

Serge Gnabry has been looking at potential options away from Bayern Munich for several months, and Chelsea could provide him with an exit opportunity.

His loyalty to Arsenal, whom he played for during his younger years, may play on his mind, but Chelsea can offer Champions League football, something the Gunners can't. Furthermore, Chelsa are reportedly 'undeterred' by suggestions that Gnabry isn't keen on a transfer due to his Arsenal roots, according to Nick Purewal.

According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea are looking at Gnabry as an alternative to Raphinha, with the German able to play on both flanks just like the aforementioned Sterling.

Chelsea may have concerns following the struggle both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have faced in adapting from the Bundesliga to the Premier League, but Gnabry is being viewed as a serious option.

Serge Gnabry is wanted by Chelsea

Serge Gnabry is wanted by Chelsea

Rafael Leao - AC Milan

Along with Gnabry, Rafael Leao has been sounded out as one of Chelsea's top two targets as they look to move on from Raphinha.

The same report from the Evening Standard's Nizaar Kinsella details that Leao is the other option Chelsea are considering following Raphinha's decision to join Barcelona.

It's believed that Milan are pursuing Hakim Ziyech on a loan deal with an option to buy from Chelsea, and the pre-existing relationship following the sale of Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud, as well as the loan move of Tiemoue Bakayoko, may play into Chelsea's hands.

However, Milan reportedly want to extend Leao's deal at the club in order to increase the €150 million (£127m) release clause currently included in his contract.

Ousmane Dembele - Free agent

Now, Ousmane Dembele looks set to sign another deal at Barcelona after his contract expired on 30 June, but Chelsea have been interested for several months.

Ousmane Dembele became a free agent on 1 July

Ousmane Dembele became a free agent on 1 July

He's ready to sign a deal 40% lower than the one he rejected last season, so Chelsea could swoop for a late move if they believe it's worth it.

However, Dembele is close to signing a second new contract at Barcelona.

Neymar - PSG

New Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier has insisted that Neymar is in his plans for the upcoming season, but previous reports suggest that PSG are willing to listen to offers for the Brazilian.

In fact, Chelsea have been offered his services this transfer window, but boss Tuchel isn't convinced that signing him would be the best course of action.

However, the German head coach may have a change of heart and with another forward clearly on the agenda, he could yet turn back to Neymar, whom he worked with at PSG.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Man Utd

Not a like-for-like alternative for Raphinha in any sense, but Cristiano Ronaldo could be the man Chelsea add as they look to bolster their attack.

Cristiano Ronaldo has asked Man Utd to let him leave this summer

Cristiano Ronaldo has asked Man Utd to let him leave this summer

Given Kai Havertz's versatility, he could easily feature as one of the supporting No.10s in Chelsea's system, as Raphinha would've done, leaving Ronaldo to play through the middle.

The Portuguese star has told Manchester United he wishes to leave the club this summer, and Chelsea are one of the teams who have been offered his services.

Just like with Neymar, Tuchel isn't convinced with a move for Ronaldo, but he is available should that line of thinking change.