Chelsea identify Lyon's Malo Gusto as their right-back search continues

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 21 Jan 2023 20:58 GMT
  • 3 min read
Malo Gusto, Lyon, 2022/23

Chelsea have turned to Olympique Lyonnais full-back Malo Gusto as they continue to look for a back-up option to Reece James, according to reports.

Gusto, 19, has emerged as a very exciting prospect in Ligue 1 and is considered to be one of the best young right-backs in Europe.

Chelsea have already spent €178.5 million this January, which could rise by a further €30m if add-on clauses in Mykhailo Mudryk's contract are met.

READ: Why Badiashile's form pushes Koulibaly closer to Chelsea exit

But, their winter spending doesn't look set to stop, with the Blues keen on signing a central midfielder and a right-back. Their attempts to sign Benfica's Enzo Fernandez earlier in the window were foiled by the Portuguese club, who refused to accept anything less than his €120m release clause, while Brighton's Moises Caicedo is the latest target, although Chelsea have seen their first offer rejected by the Seagulls.

According to L'Equipe, Chelsea's right-back search has seen them land on Gusto's name, with the West London club interested in signing the Frenchman this month. However, it's believed that Lyon don't want to sell their starlet mid-season.

This summer, Gusto will have just 12 months remaining on his contract at Lyon, meaning the club may need to offload him to avoid risking a free transfer departure in 2024.

READ: Electric Mudryk debut proves why Chelsea signed Madueke

Chelsea's current first choice right-back is Reece James

Chelsea's current first choice right-back is Reece James

Why do Chelsea need a new right-back?

In James, Chelsea have one of the best full-backs in world football, but he can't be relied upon fitness wise.

The 23-year-old has missed 67 games through injury since returning from his loan spell at Wigan Athletic in 2019, and is currently on the road back to full fitness after suffering another knee injury in late December.

As a result, Chelsea are keen to add new blood at right-back, especially considering Cesar Azpilicueta has been benched in favour of Trevoh Chalobah, typically a centre-back, in recent weeks.

Since Todd Boehly's arrival as owner in 2022, Chelsea have taken the transfer market by storm, spending over €400m on new players as they look to return to the top of English football.