Fenerbahce have denied that Hungarian defender Attila Szalai is close to joining Chelsea after his national team manager suggested that a deal was almost complete.
Reports surfaced in Turkey in November linking the Blues with a £ 20m move for the midfielder, although speculation had subsided until Hungarian boss Marco Rossi referred to it earlier this week.
Asked which of his players he knew would do well in Serie A, Rossi replied: “It is difficult to name just one player, but right now I see very well Attila Szalai, who plays for Fenerbahce, but I think that he’s coming to Chelsea.
“It is clear that he has been followed by important clubs in Spain, but apparently his move to Chelsea is a clear deal. He would be a fantastic player for Italian football as well.
But the 23-year-old’s current employer Fenerbahce has perhaps unsurprisingly taken exceptions to the comments and moved to ignore them in a statement.
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“The allegations regarding the transfer of our player Attila Szalai, which have been made public in recent days, based on foreign press and social media, do not reflect the truth,” it was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“Our club has not made any transition negotiations regarding our successful football player Attila Szalai. Our player continues his work to fully concentrate on our team’s goals. We present it to the public.”
Where the truth lies with this is not exactly clear. The Telegraph also reports that Chelsea do not have an agreement to sign the highly ranked Szalai and that he is not even of interest at this stage.
Chelsea will probably have to chase a new midfielder in the near future. The club has resigned to lose Antonio Rüdiger on a free transfer in 2022 with talks about a new contract in a dead end, even though Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Sevilla’s Jules Koundé are higher on their shopping list.
Szalai is highly regarded by those who work with him and has been tipped for a big move for a while now. Compared to Virgil van Dijk, Szalai – who quotes Thiago Silva as his idol – has impressed both club and country and has been linked with the likes of Juventus and Atletico Madrid.
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