Chelsea plot another hijack as Potter eyes his own Caicedo in Mbamba

Potter excited to work with Joao Felix after Chelsea loan move

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter will be hoping he can bring his own Moises Caicedo to the club in January, as they look to hijack Bayer Leverkusen’s deal for Club Brugge midfielder Noah Mbamba. The 18-year-old has attracted interest from a host of top clubs across Europe following his impressive displays in Belgium and could be set for a move to England.

At Brighton, Potter signed Caicedo in 2021 from Ecuadorian club Independiente del Valle when the midfielder was 19 and nurtured him into a Premier League star. The south coast side were prepared to let Yves Bissouma move to Tottenham partly due to the potential they saw in Caicedo, who has lived up to that promise and been one of the club’s key players so far this campaign.

Chelsea and Potter have been attempting to bolster their midfield options in January, as they were made to walk away from a £103million deal for Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez and have also been linked with a move for Caicedo himself. However, the boss may be looking for the next version of the Ecuadorian.

German outlet Kicker claim that Leverkusen had been close to agreeing a summer move for Mbamba, as his contract at the Belgian club expires at the end of the season. However, there is interest from both Chelsea and Crystal Palace who are prepared to pay a fee to bring the teenager to England this month.

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Whether the Blues would see Mbamba as a first-team player for the remainder of the season or loan him to give the starlet more experience remains to be seen, as Potter did send Caicedo out on a temporary basis to Beerschot in Belgium, though a lack of quality in depth has been highlighted in their dismal form under the ex-Brighton boss.

Potter has struggled to find a settled team at Stamford Bridge amid form and fitness issues, though plans to sign a midfielder may accelerate after loanee Denis Zakaria was forced off in the 2-1 defeat to Fulham on Thursday.

He became the latest star to spend time on the treatment table after Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic picked up injuries against Manchester City, though Potter could not provide a prognosis on the midfielder who had become increasingly more influential after the World Cup break.

“The only assessment is it’s at the top of the quad,” Potter said. “He felt it when he cleared the ball. In terms of the extent, it’s too early to say.”

There is a chance that Mbamba could come straight into the Chelsea squad if the Blues do beat Leverkusen and Palace to the young Belgian, and Potter gets his next Caicedo.

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