Raheem Sterling flying out to USA to join Chelsea tour as Blues pursue Kalidou Koulibaly

Raheem Sterling is jetting out to join his new Chelsea team-mates as Thomas Tuchel steps up his bid to land Kalidou Koulibaly.

Mirror Sport revealed on June 29 that the Blues want to replace Antonio Rudiger with the 31-year-old Napoli defender, whose contract expires in 12 months. Tuchel is now set to make decisive strikes for a string of players to reinforce his squad ahead of the new season.

An announcement from Chelsea confirming Sterling’s capture is expected within the next 24 hours. He will not play in Saturday’s game in Las Vegas against Club America but he could feature in the Blues games in Charlotte next Wednesday or against Arsenal on Saturday week in Orlando.

Tuchel is also progressing his move for the England winger’s ex-Manchester City team-mate, defender Nathan Ake.

Serge Gnabry is in the Chelsea boss’ sights with the Bayern Munich winger considering his options at the club while the Blues remain big fans of Robert Lewandowski and are waiting to pounce if the Poland international fails to secure his move to Barcelona.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Chelsea are also pursuing Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly
Getty Images)

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Koulibaly has no interest in signing a new deal at Napoli, leaving them with no option but to sell him. Talks over a long-term deal worth £7m a year plus £1m in bonuses are ongoing But Chelsea also retain an interest in classy Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde as a long-term successor to 37-year-old Thiago Silva.

Once the club sort out their defensive reinforcements, they will allow Cesar Azpilicueta to join Barcelona.

The Spanish skipper is keen to join the Xavi overhaul at the Nou Camp but has so far been blocked from doing so with Chelsea so short of numbers at the back. That is likely to change within the next week.

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