Marseille have admitted that they will allow Chelsea-target Cesar Azpilicueta leave the club this summer. The Spanish right-back has emerged as a leading target for the Blues as they seek to fill their void at right-back.
After the departure of Jose Bosingwa this summer, the club only has Branislav Ivanovic--primarily a central defender--and veteran Paulo Ferreira as options on the right of their defense. While Ivanovic will not be banned following his sending off in the Community Shield, Chelsea are still said to be eager to bring someone in for the start of the new season.
While interest was shown in Inter Milan's Maicon, the attention now appears to have firmly turned toward Azpilicueta. It has been widely reported that Marseille already rejected a bid from the Blues. However, the chances of a deal transpiring look good, after the French club's chairman Vincent Labrune admitted that, after missing out on qualification for the Champions League, they need to ease the burden on their wage bill.
"For the next three weeks, as it has been since the start of the transfer window, our objective is very clear--we must sell players," he admitted, according to Sky Sports.
"We have three players we have agreed to let leave--Cesar Azpilicueta, Stephane Mbia and either Loic Remy or Andre Ayew," he added.
"However, we have changed our mind about Loic. We will see, but we would like to keep him. However, it is difficult to have a definitive position.
"If Chelsea makes a fair offer for Aspi, we will let him leave. If there is a good offer for Stephane Mbia, we will let him leave too. We are working in good terms both with Cesar and Stephane."
Despite having Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand in their ranks, Chelsea are also pursuing Southampton left-back Luke Shaw.
Reports last month suggested that the Blues were readying a £4 million offer for the 17-year-old, despite him never having started for Southampton's first team.
According to the latest speculation from the Sun, however, Southampton remain confident of hanging on to the latest product from their impressive youth academy.
Meanwhile, another player much heralded as a youngster, who Chelsea signed in controversial fashion five years ago, could be on the way out of Stamford Bridge. French forward Gael Kakuta has revealed that he may need to move in order to kick-start his career.
The 21-year-old arrived from Lens in what was deemed an illegal move, which led to Chelsea initially being banned by Fifa from signing players for two seasons. Since then Kakuta has struggled to establish himself at Stamford Bridge as he has been loaned out to Fulham, Bolton and Dijon.
Kakuta now appears to have decided his permanent future lies elsewhere, with Marseille thought to be interested.
"It's better for me to leave the club and find one where I could play matches," he said, according to the Daily Mirror.
"This is an important moment of my career. I need to play."
Finally, Chelsea look set to face strong competition should they pursue their reported interest in Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. The England international has just a year remaining on his contract at the Emirates and has been linked heavily with both Chelsea and Liverpool. According to the Daily Star, Inter Milan have now signaled their interest in the 23-year-old.
With a deal thought to be imminent for Victor Moses and interest still present in Hulk, Walcott appears an unlikely signing for Chelsea this summer.