Chelsea are close to reaching an agreement with Leicester City to sign their England left-back Ben Chilwell.
Frank Lampard had identified the 23-year-old as his first choice to fill the position this summer and it is understood a deal worth between £45-50 million is close to being agreed.
The club, led by director Marina Granovskaia, had to weigh up whether to commit such a significant outlay on a left-back but there has been no serious consideration over other options for the position.
Chilwell last played for Leicester during a home win over Crystal Palace on July 4 before missing the final five games of the season with a heel injury. He is understood to have undergone some medical checks to establish the condition of the injury, with Chelsea kept informed of the results, and he is expected to be ready to return in about three weeks.
Chilwell’s departure would represent a huge profit for Leicester on a player they developed in their academy.
Boss Brendan Rodgers said at the end of last season that Chilwell was not for sale yet privately, the Foxes had never ruled out allowing him to leave.
If the Chilwell move is completed, it would be the third high-profile signing of the summer for Chelsea following the captures of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
His arrival may accelerate the departure of at least one of left-backs Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso.
Chilwell had a mixed campaign with Leicester, with right-back Ricardo Pereira regularly outperforming him, yet he was still a key man when Rodgers’ men were carrying all before them in the autumn.
And his absence for the final five matches of the season due to a heel problem was one of the factors that cost Leicester a spot in the top four.
Chilwell had three years remaining on his deal at the King Power Stadium and has 11 England caps, meaning Leicester have been in a strong negotiating position.
Leicester have also proved themselves fierce negotiators in the past, extracting £80m from Manchester United for Harry Maguire last summer.