Chelsea plot to hijack Newcastle’s move for Super Eagles-eligible Premier League star

Super Eagles-eligible defender Tosin Adarabioyo continues to be the subject of a transfer tug-of-war, with several Premier League clubs reportedly keen on signing him. The latest club to emerge on the radar of the talented centre-back is Chelsea, who appear to be trying to thwart Newcastle United’s advanced talks with the player.

Adarabioyo has seen his stock rise following an impressive campaign with Fulham last season. The 26-year-old was a key player for Marco Silva’s side as they ended the Premier League in a respectable 13th position. Adarabioyo has, however, refused to sign a contract extension and will be a free agent in June.

The defender joined the Cottagers from Manchester City in 2020 following successful loan stints with West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers in the English Championship. While at Manchester City, Adarabioyo was regularly invited by manager Pep Guardiola to the senior team but never got the chance to prove himself.

Chelsea plot to hijack Newcastle’s move for Super Eagles-eligible Premier League star
Photo by Icon Sport

Despite making his debut in the UEFA Champions League against Steaua Bucuresti in August 2016, he played very few matches under Guardiola and decided to join Fulham in 2020 in search of regular playing time.

Adarabioyo signed an initial three-year contract, with Fulham having the option to extend by a further one year. The Cottagers activated the 12-month extension clause in June 2023 but the defender’s reluctance to put pen to paper on fresh terms means he is set to leave as a free agent.

Chelsea keen to overtake Newcastle United in Tosin Adarabioyo chase

For months, Fulham have been trying to get Adarabioyo to extend his contract but the player’s mind appears made up on his next decision. Although he hasn’t yet signed a pre-agreement with any club despite being at liberty to do so since entering the final six months of his Fulham contract in January, the defender is not short of suitors.

He has been linked with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan in recent months but Newcastle United are said to be the closest to landing the centre-back. The Magpies missed out on Champions League qualification after finishing seventh in the Premier League, but have been in talks with Adarabioyo since March.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United are favourites to sign Adarabioyo and have been working on a deal for some time now. But with an agreement yet to be finalised between the defender and Eddie Howe’s side, Romano insists Adarabioyo’s transfer is still very open amid interest from Chelsea.

The Blues have also recently inquired about the defender and are looking to turn his head. Even though Newcastle United are in advanced talks with Adarabioyo and are pushing to wrap up the deal, Chelsea have also been keeping tabs on the Fulham man and could soon make their move as the Blues aim to revamp their squad ahead of next season.

“First of all, it’s an open situation. I still see Newcastle as favourites because Newcastle started to work on this deal in March. For Tosin, there are still discussions ongoing but I see Newcastle as favourites,” Romano said on The Debrief podcast, as quoted by TBR Football.

“Interest from Chelsea has been there since the final week of March, Chelsea are well informed on Tosin. I’m not aware of anything advanced with Chelsea. I’m not sure anything is decided with Chelsea, I think the situation is still quite open with Newcastle pushing to make it happen.”

Tosin Adarabioyo’s excellent campaign that has caught the eyes of Premier League clubs

A separate report by Sky Sports suggests Chelsea have offered a contract to Adarabioyo despite Newcastle being in talks with the player. The Fulham star has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League in the last four years despite playing for a side that is often on the receiving end of defeats.

Adarabioyo’s contract standoff with the Cottagers led to him being frozen out of the squad in the latter part of the season, but he remains a key target of several Premier League clubs. The 26-year-old was dropped for Fulham’s last five matches of the season, with his last game coming against Liverpool on 21 April.

Chelsea plot to hijack Newcastle’s move for Super Eagles-eligible Premier League star
Photo by Icon Sport

However, he completed the campaign with 22 appearances in all competitions while scoring two goals in the Premier League. Adarabioyo’s ability to pass from the back and initiate a controlled build-up has been his biggest asset, and that is the profile of a player that many Premier League clubs are currently looking for.

Manchester United are in the market for a centre-back, with Raphael Varane departing at the end of the season while Chelsea find themselves in a similar situation after Thiago Silva’s contract was not renewed. TBR Football reports that although Newcastle have stolen a march on their rivals in the race for Adarabioyo, Chelsea are in an advantageous situation due to the defender already living in London.

He may have initially been interested in moving up north but the Blues’ interest gives him the option to remain in the city where he has spent the last four years and continue enjoying his football without relocating.  

Tosin Adarabioyo still eligible for Super Eagles after England snub

Meanwhile, Adarabioyo’s impressive form in the just-ended season still couldn’t earn him a place in England’s provisional squad for Euro 2024. Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate announced a provisional list of 31 players last week with 11 defenders included.

Southgate, however, did not deem Adarabioyo worthy of a call-up, rather preferring Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Lewis Dunk, Liverpool duo Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez, Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi, Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and Manchester City’s John Stones as his centre-back options.

Super Eagles-eligible defender Tosin Adarabioyo
Photo by Icon Sport

Adarabioyo being snubbed once again means he remains eligible to represent Nigeria. The 26-year-old has played for England at various youth levels, including U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19. However, the Manchester-born defender, who has Nigerian roots, has never been capped by the Three Lions.

Now that he is reaching his peak, Adarabioyo might reconsider playing for the Super Eagles should England continue to leave him out of their squad. The defender is teammates with Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey, two players who were born in Europe but switched nationality to play for Nigeria, and that could be motivation enough for him to also consider a change of allegiance.

Although representing England remains an attractive proposition, Nigeria’s national team has also shown a lot of promise in recent times, with their second-place finish at the last Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) in Ivory Coast backed by a young, talented core. Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface and Ademola Lookman are just a few of the Nigerian players who have been dominating Europe. The Super Eagles, based on the quality of their squad, could potentially enter an era of success in the coming years and that could be a huge selling point for Europe-born players like Adarabioyo.  

Nigeria currently do not lack quality defenders and had the second-best defence during the AFCON, but captain William Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo have now entered their thirties, which means Adarabioyo would be a valuable addition to Finidi George’s squad for the future as they aim to dominate Africa and qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Chelsea plot to hijack Newcastle’s move for Super Eagles-eligible Premier League star
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.