Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard may not have the funds to bring in his top defensive transfer target Declan Rice this summer but he has given the green light for his superiors to press forward with a move for Brighton’s Ben White, according to reports.
The Blues are first trying to thrash through terms with Bayer Leverkusen to make Kai Havertz their third signing of the summer.
Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner have already arrived at Stamford Bridge from Ajax and RB Leipzig respectively.
Once Lampard has added sufficient firepower he will turn to fixing his leaky defence, which conceded more goals than any other club in the Premier League’s top 10 this season.
Rice was released by Chelsea’s academy in 2013 and has gone on to become one of West Ham’s stars as they retained their Premier League status.
Lampard was hoping to see the 21-year-old return to west London but it may be difficult as the Hammers are demanding around £80million.
The ex-midfielder has instead turned his attention to Brighton defender White and given the board his blessing to make a move.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan with Championship winner Leeds and is ready to make his mark in the top flight.
Marcelo Bielsa has already seen two bids rejected as he attempted to sign White on a permanent basis.
Leeds have apparently made an improved third offer of around £25m and although Brighton have yet to respond, it is expected to be turned down.
Chelsea are keeping an eye on the situation as they ponder how much the former Newport and Peterborough loanee is worth.
But they may not want to wait too long as Liverpool are also keen on White as they hunt for a back-up defender after selling Dejan Lovren to Zenit St Petersburg.
The Guardian adds that Chelsea have to sell at least one of their four centre-backs; Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger or Fikayo Tomori, before signing a new one.
The same report also suggests that midfielder Jorginho could return to Serie A side Roma to free up some more funds.
Left-back Emerson Palmieri is also expected to leave with Europa League finalists Inter Milan interested.
If Palmieri completes his move to the San Siro then Lampard wants Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell to replace him.
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