CHELSEA have stepped up their interest in Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule, according to reports.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is said to have prioritised a centre-back this summer and the £30million man is top of the club's wanted list with his future up in the air.
Sule, 25, has less than 18 months remaining on his Bayern contract.
And due to financial restraints brought about by the pandemic, the burly German centre-back could be sacrificed at the end of the season.
Sule has been heavily linked with a move to the Blues for months.
Interest seemed to cool when Thomas Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard but conversations have been revived behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, according to the Athletic.
Bayern boss Hansi Flick is 'reluctant' to sell Sule but other people within the club are 'not satisfied' with his 'attitude'.
Chairman and club legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, however, isn't one of them – and recently opened the door to handing Sule a new deal.
He said: "We want the good German national players at FC Bayern. Niklas still has one year of contract.
"We will hold talks and see where they lead. We will look at it seriously and calmly until the summer.
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"Corona [coronavirus] has also caused financial damage to FC Bayern.
"If we find a solution, we are generally happy to extend the contract, but that will only be possible under certain conditions."
The 29-cap defender has impressed since joining Bayern in 2017, but has seen his career already blighted by two cruciate ligament ruptures.
Sustained in the 2014-15 season, the first saw him miss half of the campaign as he was making his name at Hoffenheim.
And the second, suffered in October 2019, ruled him out of 35 games last season, only returning to action in August for the delayed Champions League run-in.
Things have been brighter this time around, with Sule so far managing 32 appearances in all competitions for Flick's side this season.
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