• Chelsea is considering Philippe Coutinho as an affordable alternative for top prospect Kai Havertz, a report said
  • Bayer Leverkusen insists on no discounts for Havertz and gave Chelsea a deadline to make an offer
  • The Blues are said to have already made a bid for Coutinho

Chelsea may have drawn up a significantly affordable plan B of pursuing past prospect Philippe Coutinho, a report said, amid the looming possibility of missing out on Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz due to the German side’s demands.

Chelsea is viewed as the frontrunner to sign Havertz over suitors from across Europe’s top five leagues. And following Bayer Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro’s admission that the German rising star wants to part ways with his club this summer, another big revelation has been made by the Bundesliga side.

Bayer has now set a deadline for Chelsea to make a concrete offer for Havertz’s transfer, German outlet Bild reported. Bayer’s executives are expecting a formal bid from the Blues as soon as possible.

Leverkusen is set to return for pre-season training on Aug. 28, while Chelsea returns on Friday. Both parties involved will be looking to try and reach an agreement “in 10 days,” or just before Bayer starts its preparation for the new campaign.

Despite being given a deadline for landing Havertz, Chelsea remains in “pole position” as other suitors, such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, can’t afford to splurge €100 million ($119 million) on a new signing, the report added. Bayer has stood firm on its asking price for Havertz’s release.

It can be recalled that Frank Lampard’s side had just spent a lump sum for the recent transfers of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Chelsea’s opening bid for Havertz is believed to be around €65 million ($78 million).

But with Bayer insisting that the player will not come at a cheap price, the Blues could face a major setback in bringing in its third possible big signing this summer.

The massive signings of Werner and Ziyech are said to have urged Chelsea to draw up a plan B in case Bayer will not be open to negotiating Havertz’s current value. While still hoping to be granted a cut-price deal, Chelsea has now considered Barcelona flop Coutinho as an “affordable” alternative for Havertz, Don Balon reported.

The Blues offered a €60 million ($72 million) fee for Coutinho's transfer, according to the report.

Prior to being the favorite to sign Havertz, Chelsea was strongly linked to a move for Coutinho, who is currently loaned by Barca to Bayern Munich. His agent, Kia Joorabchian, has also said that his client is keen on a return to England.

However, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently said that Coutinho could stay on at the club if new head coach Ronald Koeman wants him on the squad, Goal reported.

"The head coach will make the decision," Bartomeu said when asked about Coutinho's future. "If he wants him to continue, next year he will play with us."

Germany midfielder Kai Havertz sat out Leverkusen's 2-1 win over Bayern Munich last November due to injury
Germany midfielder Kai Havertz sat out Leverkusen's 2-1 win over Bayern Munich last November due to injury AFP / Ina Fassbender