Chelsea are reportedly preparing a shock swoop for Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper David Stockdale to replace Asmir Begovic in their squad.
According to The Daily Star, the Bosnian international is set to quit Stamford Bridge in search of more regular first-team playing time, as Thibaut Courtois has made it difficult for him to get a look in this season.
In turn, a move elsewhere is likely the best solution, but that will present Antonio Conte with a problem as he will need to bring in a replacement to act as back-up the Belgian.
It appears as though they’ve set their sights on the perfect replacement as the Star suggest that Chelsea will swoop for Stockdale, with the 31-year-old seeing his contract expire with the Seagulls this summer.
It seems like a strange move on many levels though, in that Stockdale has just played a pivotal role in helping Brighton secure promotion to the Premier League, and would continue to be their first-choice shot-stopper in the top flight next season.
With that in mind, why would he opt to move to Chelsea to sit on the bench and watch Courtois every week? There are obvious counter-arguments though as he will be challenging for trophies with the Blues and will be surrounded by world-class talent which will help him improve.
Nevertheless, Brighton will surely be keen to keep him and claims last month suggested that he will be rewarded with a new deal to commit his future.
Elsewhere, the Evening Standard report that Conte’s hopes of signing Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata as possible replacements for Diego Costa could be under threat thanks to Jose Mourinho.
Costa is linked with a £76m exit to Tianjin Quanjin, and in his absence, Chelsea will need to replace his goals with Lukaku and Morata on their radar, with the Standard noting that they are valued at around £100m and £50m respectively.
United’s interest in both could be problematic though as although Lukaku may feel as though he has unfinished business at Stamford Bridge and with Morata searching for more playing time and a second chance to work with Conte, Mourinho also holds major appeal for both individuals and will likely rival his old club for both in the summer.
Morata moved to Juventus the same summer that Conte left to take the Italy job, although the Spaniard has fond memories of Mourinho as he gave him his debut at Real Madrid and so there is a real tug-of-war on the horizon.