Aston Villa 25-year-old star rumoured with surprise January move to Chelsea

Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a move for Aston Villa defender Matty Cash.

The Blues have seen first-choice right-back Reece James spend a good chunk of the 2022-23 season in the treatment room, and his latest knee injury could keep him out until February.

Graham Potter has been left with Cesar Azpilicueta as his only senior right-back option as a result, but the Spaniard will turn 34 this year and is out of contract in 18 months’ time.

Chelsea could therefore try to swoop for a new right-back in the current window, with the likes of Denzel Dumfries, Josip Juranovic and Pedro Porro all thought to be on the Blues’ radar.

Now, journalist Simon Phillips claims that Chelsea are now considering a move for Villa and Poland’s Cash, who is also rumoured to have been targeted by Atletico Madrid.

Cash departed Nottingham Forest in 2020 to make the move to Aston Villa, where he has since registered four goals and six assists from 85 appearances in all tournaments.

The 25-year-old has started 13 Premier League matches for Unai Emery’s side this season, and he played three times for Poland as they reached the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup.

However, Chelsea could have trouble negotiating a move with Villa, who tied Cash down to a new long-term deal in April, and his current terms are not due to expire until 2027.

The Blues have already brought in three new faces to the club during a busy start to the January window, securing the signatures of David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos and Benoit Badiashile.

Gabriel Slonina has also joined up with his Blues teammates following the conclusion of his loan with Chicago Fire, but he could be set for another temporary spell away from Stamford Bridge alongside Datro Fofana and Santos.

Potter’s side are now thought to be closing in on their fourth capture of the January transfer window, with Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix set to arrive on loan until the end of the season.

Chelsea are understood to have reached a verbal agreement with Atletico over a short-term deal, which will see them pay €11m (£9.7m) to temporarily acquire the attacker’s services.

With Jorginho and N’Golo Kante both out of contract in the summer, Chelsea have also been on the hunt for a new midfielder this month, but Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has ruled out the prospect of Enzo Fernandez leaving the club.

“The Enzo story is closed, there’s nothing left. He’s our player. He’s in a good position, Enzo is happy, training well, he’s part of the team. He’s a key player. That’s all,” Schmidt told the press.

Chelsea will aim to avoid a sixth defeat in eight games across all tournaments when they meet Fulham at Craven Cottage in Thursday’s Premier League West London derby.