In what’s been an enthralling and busy transfer window, one more unexpected saga is now at the forefront of all the gossip.
The future of Marc Cucurella is the subject of huge speculation with the Brighton full-back heavily linked with a move to Manchester City earlier this summer.
But a lack of progress in talks between the Premier League champions and the Seagulls has seen Chelsea enter the race for the 24-year-old.
And it looks like the west Londoners will get their man with Chelsea understood to be willing to pay the Seagulls’ £50million asking price for the player.
A year ago it would’ve seemed crazy to see two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs in a tug of war for the defender who was plying his trade at LaLiga side Getafe until deadline day in the summer of 2021.
But Cucurella’s impressive form last term has seen many turn heads in his direction. So what’s all the fuss about?
Marc Cucurella Brighton stats 2021/22
Chances created: 3rd
Tackle success: 3rd
Duel success: 4th
The stats show he’s an assured defender but it’s what he offers going forward that undoubtedly gives him an edge.
Cucurella created 40 goalscoring chances from open play in the Premier League last season, which is more than any other Chelsea player apart from Reece James (42).
Stats don’t paint a full picture of a player’s performance – one goal and one assist all season isn’t exactly a glittering return for a modern day full-back.
But any Brighton fan will give a glowing review when asked about Cucurella’s performances last season, which reached its peak when he scored in the Seagulls’ 4-0 thumping of Manchester United, the goal making the player cut an emotional figure.
Cucurella himself probably couldn’t have imagined having to choose between City and Chelsea but comments previously made by the player suggest he’d snub both sides in a heartbeat for Barcelona, where he started his career.
Cucurella, who has just one senior Barca appearance to his name, told Spanish publication Sport in November 2021: “In the end, I have been there for many years at Barca and we could say that it is my house and my family or that of my wife, who is from Barcelona.
“I have a thorn in my side because I made my debut in the first team but I was never able to play at the Camp Nou and I think it’s something I would like to do before retiring or leaving football.”
With Chelsea already missing out on the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinh and Jules Kounde, they’ll be praying Barca don’t make an 11th hour bid for their former player.