LONDON • Chelsea are on the verge of agreeing a £61 million (S$107 million) deal for Alex Sandro with Juventus that would make the left-back the most expensive defender in the world.
The Premier League champions would also break their transfer record, set when they signed Fernando Torres for £50 million from Liverpool in 2011.
The fee would eclipse the £50 million that Chelsea received when they sold David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain three years ago.
Sandro, 26, indicated to Juventus on Sunday that he was keen to move to London after the Italian champions attempted to persuade him to stay.
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Juventus have offered the Brazil international an improvement on his £75,000-a-week deal, which runs until 2022, but are unlikely to keep him against his wishes.
He can expect to be paid at least twice his present wage by Chelsea, who have met the asking price set by Juventus.
CHELSEA’S MOST EXPENSIVE SIGNINGS
Fernando Torres (Liverpool, 2011)
Michy Batshuayi (Marseilles, 2016)
N’Golo Kante (Leicester City, 2016)
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, 2014)
Eden Hazard (Lille, 2012)
WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE DEFENDERS
David Luiz (Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, 2014)
John Stones (Everton to Manchester City, 2016)
Eliaquim Mangala (Porto to Manchester City, 2014)
Thiago Silva (AC Milan to Paris Saint-Germain, 2012)
The Blues hope to be able to agree terms with Sandro this week, and he would be expected to become the first-choice left-back ahead of Spaniard Marcos Alonso, who was superb in his first season at the club.
Sandro's signing would be significant in manager Antonio Conte's plans to shape his squad for the additional demands of the Champions League next season.
The BBC also reported yesterday that the club are also close to signing midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from French champions Monaco after agreeing a £35 million deal.
Talks over personal terms with the 22-year-old, who was a member of the Monaco squad that reached the Champions League semi-finals last season, should be completed this week.
Willy Caballero, a free agent after being released by Manchester City, has passed a medical examination, and the goalkeeper is expected to be back-up for Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea are also expected to step up their interest in centre-back Virgil van Dijk and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, who could cost a combined £170 million.
They hope to persuade Southampton to change their mind and allow van Dijk to leave.
Southampton have insisted that they do not need to sell the Dutch defender, who has five years left on his deal, and reported Liverpool to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach last month.
Chelsea will raise some of the money through player sales. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has agreed to join Bournemouth for £10 million, forward Bertrand Traore is on the verge of a £16 million move to Lyon and midfielder Nemanja Matic, defender Nathan Ake and striker Diego Costa could all leave.
According to The Guardian, Jose Mourinho is intent on signing Matic for around £40 million, with Manchester United hopeful of completing the transfer this week.
The 28-year-old is understood to have agreed personal terms with United and the two clubs have agreed his price.
Matic, who will earn around £155,000-a-week, is expected to take a medical examination in the coming days, though the death of Mourinho's father, Felix, on Sunday may slow the deal.
The manager is in Portugal for the funeral, but Matic is expected to become a United player before the club travel to the United States for a pre-season tour on July 9.
When in charge at Chelsea, Mourinho signed the Serb for £21 million in January 2014.
The Portuguese wants Matic as the replacement for Michael Carrick, who has signed a new one-year contract, but will be 36 next month.
THE TIMES, LONDON