Chelsea made panicked £51m bid for West Ham star but were rejected | Football

The Blues tried desperately to secure the signing but were rebuffed (Picture: Getty)

The agent of West Ham midfielder Edson Alvarez has revealed that Chelsea made a last-ditch offer to sign him for a mammoth fee when he was still at Ajax but were rebuffed by the Dutch giants.

Then manager Thomas Tuchel, who was effectively acting as head coach and sporting director at the same time, had been desperate to bring in another midfielder before the summer window of 2022 closed.

Chelsea made nine major signings that summer under their new owners, bringing in the likes of Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just before the window closed.

They also made a late bid for Alvarez but, despite offering €60million (£51m), Ajax refused to let him leave as they had already sold Ryan Gravenberch, Sebastien Haller, Lisandro Martinez and Antony among many others.

A year later, the 26-year-old moved to east London for a fee in the region of £35m – some £16m less than Chelsea had offered.

Now Alvarez’s agent, Nathan van Kooperen, has opened up on just how close the Mexican midfielder came to moving to Stamford Bridge and hit out at Ajax for not taking the offer at the time.

‘Chelsea were prepared to go very far,’ Van Kooperen told ESPN’s Goedemorgen Eredivisie show. ‘They wanted to do everything they could to bring him to Chelsea.

West Ham United midfielder Edson Alvarez

Alvarez joined West Ham as a replacement for Declan Rice (Picture: Getty)

‘But Ajax had no replacement ready, so they weren’t prepared to cooperate. They thought [qualifying for] Champions League football was very important.’

He added: ‘Chelsea went up to €60million!’

On how Alvarez reacted when other Ajax players were allowed to leave but he wasn’t, Van Kooperen continued: ‘That made it extra difficult for Edson.

‘He saw his friends leave the club and it was Chelsea [who wanted him], where he could instantly become the most expensive Mexican football in history. It was difficult for him.’

While Alvarez was disappointed at the time, he has since suggested it might have been a blessing in disguise not to join Chelsea, who are on their third different manager since Tuchel was sacked and are only 11th in the Premier League table.

Asked if the failed move had played on his mind, Alvarez told Voetbal International last year: ‘At first, because it felt like a mental challenge. Still, I turned the switch again afterwards, because Ajax is also a big club.

‘I also believe that everything in life happens for a reason. If you see Chelsea’s season now, for example, also with all kinds of problems, then maybe it should have been that way. And this season, however difficult, has also been educational for me.’

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