Chelsea move to hijack Newcastle target and close in on first signing of Enzo Maresca era

Chelsea have hijacked Newcastle United’s move for Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo and are set to complete the first signing of Enzo Maresca’s reign.

The Blues are on the verge of announcing the Italian as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor, having parted company with the former Spurs and PSG boss last month.

Despite Maresca’s appointment still to be officially rubberstamped, Chelsea are ploughing ahead with their summer transfer activity.

Defensive reinforcements were regarded as a priority following Thiago Silva’s decision to leave upon the expiration of his contract.

Chelsea have spent lavishly on central defenders over the course of the last two years but with limited success.

Kalidou Koulibaly was earmarked as Antonio Rudiger’s natural replacement but he lasted just one season before he was sold to the Saudi Pro League.

Wesley Fofana was unable to play a single game last season due to injury, while French youngsters Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile have shown only glimpses of potential.

Trevoh Chalobah, meanwhile, appears destined for the exit door with his homegrown status meaning he will represent pure profit once his departure is confirmed.

Chelsea are expected to demand a fee in the region of £25million for the 24-year-old, who is understood to be interesting Manchester United.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea have already lined up a move for Adarabioyo, who is available on a free transfer, as Chalobah’s replacement and are confident of winning the race to sign a player who is also on Liverpool’s radar.

The 24-year-old began his career at Manchester City but failed to make a single top flight appearance for the Premier League champions.

Adarabioyo move to Chelsea’s west London rivals four years ago and has established a reputation as a solid top flight performer during his time at Craven Cottage.

Chelsea will now also seek to boost their summer warchest with the sales of more academy graduates such as Armando Broja and Ian Maatsen.

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