Chelsea run the risk of losing their Nigerian international centre-half, Kenneth Omeruo, on the cheap, after the youngster rejected their latest contract offer.
Omeruo, who has impressed under the tutelage of Aitor Karanka on loan at Middlesbrough, is out of contract in the summer of 2015.
His agent, Chika Akujobi, wants a better deal from Chelsea before he leaves for the World Cup in Brazil, where he is expected to star for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
“We want them to double the offer, but they said they have a new policy for young players who have yet to break into their first-team, and this ensures they do not go overboard with their offers,” Akujobi said.
“But Kenneth has already proved himself in the English Championship, which is even more forceful and physical than the English Premier League, which is more about tactics. Chelsea have to come up and they have to do so soon, before the club go on summer holidays.”
Omeruo has been capped 16 times for the Super Eagles, featuring in all bar the opening game of their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations victory.
He tops the Middlesbrough squad for both average tackles and interceptions per game, and his effect on their defence since joining on loan in January is noticeable.
Boro conceded 37 goals in 32 Championship games before the arrival of the Nigerian, but gave up a modest 13 strikes in 14 outings with him in the starting XI.
His performance at the Riverside won over fans and pundits alike; and according to the Daily Express, the Teesiders would love to take Omeruo back for another season’s loan in 2014/15.