Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Augsberg full-back Baba Rahman after the Ghana international was left out of his side's opening Bundesliga fixture against Hertha Berlin. Manager Stefan Reuter says the club were forced to sell the player after the Premier League champions made a substantial offer.
The 21-year-old is primarily a left-back and will provide competition to Cesar Azpilicueta for a starting position. The Evening Standard understands the Blues will pay £17.7m for Rahman, after the German club signed a replacement in the form of Daniel Opare from FC Porto.
After starting the season with just five recognised senior defenders, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to sign a replacement let-back after Filipe Luis was allowed to re-join Atletico Madrid. "We didn't want to sell Baba, but for the fee Chelsea have paid, we were in no position to reject the offer," Reuter said, according German broadcaster DW Sports.
Rahman will join a Chelsea squad who amid the off-the-field distractions regarding the demotion of team doctor Eva Carneiro, have endured a difficult start to the season. The Community Shield defeat to Arsenal was followed by the opening day draw against Swansea, during which goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was dismissed. Mourinho has revealed the possible reason for their slow start to the campaign, admitting he gave his squad extra time off after they won the title last term.
"We made a decision which was to give the players a proper holiday," the Chelsea boss stated according to the club's official website. "At that moment we knew the start was not going to be the same kind of start we had last year.
"Last year we started early, we worked in different periods of pre-season, we played a lot of matches before the start of the season, and we had a fantastic start, but I think we paid for that quick start at the end of the season.
"The team was tired, but we managed to control our destiny in the Premier League with the advantage we had in our pocket, which was not normal in this league. This season we tried to go in another direction. We went for a slower start, with a short pre-season. We know what we are doing, but clearly some didn't react as well as we expected."