Chelsea “vigorously deny” claims director Marina Granovskaia has tried to compile a dossier of potential weaknesses at Bayer Leverkusen which could be exploited in the pursuit of Kai Havertz.
Leverkusen star Havertz is believed to be Frank Lampard’s next top target this summer, after Chelsea signed Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech for a combined £89million ahead of the new season.
Rumours have circulated that Granovskaia has been speaking to contacts in Germany, seeking information on Leverkusen’s hierarchy that could help the Stamford Bridge side as they try to haggle over a transfer fee for the star midfielder.
But Chelsea have issued a firm denial of those claims.
“We vigorously deny these suggestions; these claims are a complete fabrication,” a Chelsea spokesman told the PA news agency.
Granovskaia is the most trusted advisor of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, and oversees the club’s transfer strategy – especially in terms of negotiation.
The 45-year-old Russian has been credited with playing hardball over the £130m transfer of Eden Hazard from Stamford Bridge to Real Madrid last summer.
And her renowned negotiating skills could come into play as the Londoners continue to chase Havertz this summer.
According to reports this week, Chelsea and Leverkusen are still about £20million apart in their respective valuations of the player, with the Bundesliga club seemingly determined to hold out for their full £91million price tag.
Havertz is understood to be intent on a move to Chelsea, with an agreement over the fee believed to be the final piece of the jigsaw as the Blues strengthen their squad ahead of a Premier League and Champions League assault next season.
However, Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller has insisted the 21-year-old must stay for the remainder of the club’s Europa League campaign, which may mean Chelsea cannot sign him until after the final on August 21.
Meanwhile, Lampard may be able to hand Havertz his “dream” number after the FA Cup final.
Willian is expected to leave Stamford Bridge after Chelsea’s Wembley clash with Arsenal on Saturday, as his contract is set to expire.
That will free up his No.10 shirt – something Havertz has publicly declared his “dream” to wear as he eyes his next move.