Raheem Sterling came close to joining Chelsea from Manchester City and agreed to the personal terms of a deal that would make him the highest-paid player.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is a huge fan of Sterling, and new owner Todd Boehle was soon working on a deal for the England international.
Talks continue over a fee for Sterling, who has one year left on his City contract and is said to be in the region of £45m.
Romelu Lukaku’s loan to Inter Milan means midfielder N’Golo Kante is the highest earner at Stamford Bridge at around £290,000 a week. The sources said ESPN Sterling will earn more than that.
Chelsea are hoping to seal a deal soon and there is hope that Sterling will be part of their pre-season tour to the United States when they leave on Saturday.
The 27-year-old held talks with City at the end of last season and agreed the move was the best, although Pep Guardiola would have preferred to keep the winger.
Sterling started 23 times last season but has seen a decline in its impact in the big games. Neither of the two Champions League semi-final first legs with Real Madrid has started, and only six of the last 11 Premier League matches have started.
This story is developing, and more to follow…