Manchester United have agreed personal terms with Mason Mount and are now expected to sign the Chelsea midfielder.
At the same time Chelsea have also granted permission for Manchester City to talk to Mateo Kovacic ahead of another significant summer move away from Stamford Bridge.
The deals signal the start of a huge overhaul at Chelsea with the club first concentrating on moving players on before new head coach Mauricio Pochettino can add to his squad.
Mount is also wanted by Liverpool and Arsenal and it would be a serious blow for Jurgen Klopp, in particular, if he joins United. The Liverpool manager has targeted Mount and Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister as he rebuilds his midfield, while Arsenal are pushing for Mount’s best friend, West Ham United captain Declan Rice, who is also wanted by Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel.
A transfer fee is yet to be agreed by United for Mount, but Telegraph Sport revealed on Tuesday that United manager Erik ten Hag is confident he can persuade the 24-year-old to join and is pushing the club’s hierarchy to get the deal over the line.
Ten Hag regards Mount as one of two key signings in the forthcoming window and will play him as a No 8. The other signing he desperately wants is a striker and his dream transfer still remains Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane.
Talks have progressed positively in recent days over Mount and accelerated after the two clubs played each other last Thursday with personal terms not an issue and settled. It means it would be a big set-back for Ten Hag if Mount did not now sign.
Mount, who is currently injured, appeared to be saying his goodbyes as he joined in Chelsea’s end-of-season lap of appreciation after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United that ended a dismal campaign.
The England international has one year left on his contract at Chelsea and appears certain to leave with the club wanting to exact as high a fee as possible rather than lose the academy product on a free transfer next summer. Chelsea need to balance the books and reduce their squad size.
Meanwhile, City have held discussions with Kovacic’s representatives after Chelsea gave them permission to talk to the player.
Telegraph Sport reported in February that Kovacic was one of the midfielders on City’s target list. Again a fee has not yet been agreed for the 29-year-old, who also has just one year left on his contract.
Bayern also hold an interest but Kovacic’s preference is thought to be to move to City. The Croat has been an influential player for Chelsea since arriving from Real Madrid, initially on loan, in 2018 and, like Mount, would be a loss to Pochettino.
Kovacic is in a strong position to determine his next move and the midfielder – part of a golden generation of Croatia players – would still fetch a sizeable fee.
Pep Guardiola wants to freshen up his midfield and is a keen admirer of Kovacic, who is considered an attractive option given his experience, quality and price.
The extent of the surgery City make in that area during the window is likely to be influenced by the futures of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva.
Having almost certainly lost out to Real Madrid over signing Jude Bellingham – United also held an interest – Guardiola wants to keep both players and they have been offered new deals.