Stuff that matters

Chelsea are moving closer to signing Marc Cucurella from Brighton & Hove Albion for £52.5m, with the 19-year-old centre-back Levi Colwill set to move in the opposite direction.

Cucurella, who was a target for Manchester City, has already agreed personal terms and the Spanish defender’s imminent arrival will be a significant boost for Thomas Tuchel as he looks to rebuild Chelsea’s defence.

However Brighton, whose hunt for a new left-back has seen them fail with moves for Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilón and Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi, have not made it easy for Tuchel to sign the former Getafe player. The south coast club are under little financial pressure to sell and have made it clear that a deal for Cucurella is dependent on them bolstering their defensive options.

Chelsea have been reluctant to sell Colwill, who is one of the brightest prospects in their academy, and initially told Brighton that they were only willing to give them the defender on loan.

That arrangement did not appeal to Brighton, though, and talks between the clubs are ongoing over a permanent deal for Colwill. It is expected that Chelsea, who have approached Barcelona about a deal for the Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong, have insisted upon a buyback clause being inserted in the youngster’s contract.

The deal will be seen as a win for both sides. In Colwill, who impressed on loan at Huddersfield last season, Brighton are getting one of the most exciting young players in the country. As for Chelsea, who are looking to strengthen their defence after losing Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger, they are about to sign a player who was one of the Premier League’s breakthrough stars last season.

Cucurella, who is expected to sign a six-year deal, caught the eye after joining Brighton last season. The 24-year-old was expected to join City, only for the champions to refuse to meet Brighton’s asking price, opening the door for Chelsea.

Tuchel, who has been chasing a left-footed defender, admires Cucurella’s strong defending, technical ability and threat in the final third. The former Barcelona youth product will provide competition for Ben Chilwell at left-back and left wing-back, though there is an option for them to play in the same side – Tuchel also sees Cucurella as a good option at left centre-back.