By Liam Twomey and Vladimir Bianchini
Chelsea are interested in signing Atletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes this summer, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
Guimaraes was watched by a Chelsea scout as well as Jose Boto, chief scout of Shakhtar Donetsk, during Paranaense’s 3-0 victory over Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores group stage on Wednesday, though no offer for him has yet been made.
Chelsea are planning for a busy summer of recruitment despite not yet knowing whether they will be able to delay, reduce or overturn the two-window transfer ban imposed on them by FIFA in February.
Their appeal against the sanction is set to be heard by FIFA’s Appeal Committee on April 11, while Chelsea also reserve the right to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if their efforts are stymied by world football’s governing body.
Though primarily a defensive midfielder, Guimaraes has impressed with his ability to find forward passes from the base of midfield at Paranaense and the 21-year-old’s rapid progress has attracted scouts from across Europe.
Inter saw an offer for Guimaraes rejected by Paranaense at the start of 2019, while Napoli, AC Milan and Lille are also understood to have watched him play.
Guimaraes has Spanish citizenship and the release clause in his contract with Paranaense is €40 million (£34m), putting him within Chelsea’s price range this summer regardless of whether or not the club secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.
He is also a player whose skill set would fit well into Maurizio Sarri’s tactical system, though the Italian coach’s future at Stamford Bridge beyond this season remains far from certain.