Chelsea to seal Edouard Mendy transfer to challenge under-fire Kepa as Rennes target Areola as new keeper

CHELSEA have moved a step closer to signing Edouard Mendy after Rennes made contact to replace him with Alphonse Areola.

Blues boss Frank Lampard wants Senegal international Mendy to provide competition for the inconsistent Kepa Arrizabalaga.

And according to Lequipe, Rennes have already targeted PSG stopper Areola as their prime target to replace the Chelsea transfer target.

The Frenchman, who is under contract until 2023, spent last season at Real Madrid providing back up for Thibaut Courtois.

But he has been sent back to the French champions, who already have Keylor Navas as their No1.

Areola is keen to move on as he bids to keep his place as France's third-choice stopper for the European Championships next summer.

The 27-year-old favours a move to the Premier League, having brought a house in London, but PSG are understood to be in talks with Rennes.

A loan move is an option, which would allow Mendy to make the move to Chelsea.

Lampard was said to be looking to replace Kepa with a mega-money moves with the likes of Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen initially reported.

But as he prepares to make his sixth signing this year, with the impending arrival of Kai Havertz for £90million from Bayer Leverkusen, cheaper alternatives in goal are now being discussed.

And SunSport revealed Kepa has had a change of heart and will now fight for his place between the posts at Stamford Bridge.

Mendy was identified as a more affordable option for Chelsea, and will go head to head with Kepa, instead of instantly replacing the 25-year-old.

He helped Rennes qualify for the Champions League for the first time, with the modest French club finishing third in Ligue 1.

Mendy kept 13 clean sheets, and conceded just 31 goals in 33 games last season.

Chelsea's French head of goalkeeping Christophe Lollichon recommended Normandy-born Mendy to Lampard.

And the Blues are believed to have had an opening bid of £15m turned down by Rennes – with an improved offer due to be returned.

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