According Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea have agreed personal terms with Malo Gusto and have already submitted a verbal offer to Lyon for the right-back.
The London giants have spent significant fees since their takeover from Clearlake Capital group last summer and the spree looks set to continue in the coming days.
Chelsea have been touted to sign a right-back for the past few weeks and Romano claims they have now opened formal talks to sign highly-rated Gusto from Lyon.
The Italian journalist says Chelsea have already agreed personal terms with the player over a long-term contract and Gusto is open to moving to Stamford Bridge.
A verbal opening offer has been put on the table but Lyon have knocked it back and they are reluctant to lose him this month as they want the youngster to stay until the summer.
Chelsea are in direct contact with OL for Malo Gusto. Understand personal terms are already agreed on long term deal, player open to the move. 🚨🔵 #CFC
OL have turned down Chelsea opening verbal bid, as @sebnonda reported — they want Malo Gusto to stay at least until June. pic.twitter.com/mAMz422kbu
- — Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 23, 2023
Gusto has just 18 months left on his contract and Chelsea will hope to tempt Lyon into a deal this month.
Reece James is currently on the road to recovery from his knee injury and he could make his comeback when Chelsea entertain Fulham in the Premier League on February 3.
Despite this, manager Graham Potter may want competition for the right-back spot, considering the club have struggled when James has been out injured in the season.
Potter has been forced to play Trevoh Chalobah in a makeshift right-back role with Cesar Azpilicueta no longer in his prime. Gusto would be an ideal addition to the squad.
Similar to James, he is an attacking right-back who plays higher up the field. However, the 19-year-old has good defensive awareness and likes to tackle and win duels.
The big question mark is whether Chelsea can persuade Lyon to sell him. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas is difficult to negotiate with and does not do business easily.
Gusto is currently priced at £13 million by Transfermarkt but Aulas could demand twice the fee due to Chelsea’s desperation.
Chelsea are facing a humongous challenge ahead to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four league finish. They are 10 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.
The club have to start winning games to catch up with United. The big gap to the next fixture against Fulham should allow Potter to work with his January signings on the training pitch.