Fenerbahçe defender Szalai set to join Chelsea, Hungary coach claims

Fenerbahçe defender Attila Szalai is set to move to Chelsea in the upcoming transfer window, Hungary’s national team coach claimed on Monday, in remarks that come amid speculations that have been building over the recent weeks.

The 23-year-old has been impressing for the Istanbul powerhouse in Turkey this season and has been previously linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

Marco Rossi, who coaches Szalai at the international level, was cited as telling Italian media after a local awards ceremony in Turin that the highly-rated center-back is likely to join the English Premier League club in January, claiming that a move is “imminent.”

Rossi was reported by Italian website Calciomercato to have been asked to name an impressive player for his side that could make an impact in Serie A.

“It’s hard to name just one player, but right now I see very well Attila Szalai, who plays for Fenerbahçe, but I think he is joining Chelsea,” the coach said.

“Clearly, he has been followed by important clubs in Spain, but apparently his move to Chelsea is a done deal. He would be a great player also for Italian football.”

Last month Turkish Sabah daily claimed that Szalai was among substitutes at Fenerbahçe in recent weeks because a 20-million euro ($22.5 million) deal with Chelsea may fall through if the Hungarian central defender suffers any injury.

But Fenerbahçe rejected the claim, calling the story a “flat-out lie.”

Szalai only moved to Turkey in the winter transfer window of 2021, but another switch could be on the cards just 12 months on.

He became one of the main pillars of the Yellow Canaries, making a large impact on the pitch.

Szalai scored three goals in 43 matches for the Turkish club. His contract at Fenerbahçe will expire in 2025. A Hungary regular, he has piled up 23 international caps for his country.

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