Chelsea’s pursuit of Kai Havertz is likely to run on after his Bayer Leverkusen side saw off Rangers in the Europa League.
The Germans had a 3-1 aggregate lead heading back to the BayArena and won 1-0.
It means they are now into the last eight of the competition and the club’s sporting director Rudi Voller had previously said it was “set in stone” that Havertz would see out the campaign.
The Europa League final is on August 21 in Cologne meaning Chelsea may have to wait at least another fortnight before sealing the deal.
Even if the Blues completed the signing of Havertz on the day after the final – should Leverkusen get there – it will only give the forward three weeks until the start of the Premier League season.
The 23-year-old has been in sparkling form this season scoring 17 times.
It meant a host of leading lights around Europe were eyeing his services and he told the Leverkusen hierarchy that he wanted them to sanction his exit.
Chelsea have wasted no time in adding new talent this summer as they make up for lost time following their transfer ban 12 months ago.
Frank Lampard has finally been able to bolster his options and has welcomed Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner to Stamford Bridge.
Havertz’s capture would add more firepower, but it was at the back where Chelsea’s issue lied last term.
The Blues boss is expected to offload some of his defenders as he seeks improvements.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, the club’s record signing who only arrived two years ago, could also be axed having fallen out of favour.
England pair Dean Henderson and Nick Pope has both been linked as replacements.