5 August 2022

Chelsea Make A Dig At Brighton As Cucurella Deal Confirmed  (Sky Sports)

Marc CucurellaChelsea have confirmed an agreement for the transfer of left-back Marc Cucurella from Brighton in a deal worth in excess of £60m.

The 24-year-old, who has agreed a six-year deal, was registered in time to feature against Everton on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports.

Chelsea took a dig at Brighton when announcing the deal, repeating the format of their Tweet earlier this week denying reports that an agreement had been reached for the defender.

He follows the arrivals of Raheem Sterling from Man City (£47.5m), Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli (£33m), Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire (£12m) and Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa (£20m) for a total expenditure of £172m so far.

Cucurella will be vying for minutes at left-back with Ben Chilwell, who was signed from Leicester for £50m two seasons ago - but head coach Thomas Tuchel says his new signing provides versatility across the backline.

"It helps for [fit-again] Ben to escape the pressure of 'I have to deliver and we need you absolutely now'," said Tuchel.

"We also have Marcos Alonso and Emerson but Marc is the option on this position and he can play very well in the back three. He has the profile of Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta) with a left foot. He gives us many options.

"Ben is very ambitious, he couldn't wait to come back to team training. It seems he needs a bit more time to adapt to the rhythm and physicality of the match itself, which is normal. It's a demanding league, and we have to take care with him and not throw him in."

Manchester City tried to sign Cucurella but were unable to meet Brighton's valuation of the Spain international.

The transfer of Cucurella is Brighton's record sale, surpassing the £50m Arsenal paid for centre-back Ben White last summer.

It is also a record-equalling fee for a full-back, matching the £60m deal City agreed to bring Joao Cancelo from Juventus to the Etihad in 2019.

Chelsea's business is far from done, with the Blues working on a deal for Leicester defender Wesley Fofana.

They are also understood to be in the running for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, Manchester United's priority target this summer.