Chelsea’s pursuit of Tiemoue Bakayoko continues as they look to land the midfielder for £43million and also offer Michy Batshuayi as sweetener.
According to a report by The Sun, the Monaco midfielder looks increasingly likely to become Antonio Conte’s first summer signing ahead of the new season. Conte will begin negotiations with the French club soon as he attempts to improve his squad.
Bakayoko’s purchase will be a part of the £200 million guaranteed to Conte by owner Roman Abramovich, and the Blues have also been eyeing Bakayoko’s team-mate Thomas Lemar.
However, Monaco might not agree to sell both players after their emphatic Ligue 1 victory, and hence Chelsea are focusing solely on signing Bakayoko, who was also targeted by Manchester United earlier since Jose Mourinho has been looking for options to solve his midfield woes.
Bakayoko has emerged as one of Chelsea’s top targets in a bid to improve their midfield conditions, and also can offer more options in terms of player rotation to Conte. The 22-year-old midfielder has been instrumental in Monaco’s title win, and Conte has been impressed with what he has seen.
The Chelsea target is a solid defensive midfielder and has transformed at Monaco ever since he was signed from Rennes in 2014. Lemar, on the other hand, who plays as a wide midfielder-cum-winger, can also prove to be a good signing for Chelsea.
Bakayoko has made 18 league appearances for the Ligue 1 title winners this season – scoring twice. He generally plays in a deeper midfield role using his physicality to break up attacks. The Frenchman is also adept at surging forward with the ball at his feet.
As far as Chelsea’s defenders are concerned, Kurt Zouma has been receiving a lot of offers lately. The Blues are willing to loan out the French international who has recovered from a crucial ligament injury.
Earlier reports also suggested that Antonio Conte was interested in signing Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, and that Chelsea are one of front-runners in doing so. Sanchez has given Arsenal an ultimatum and will not sign a new contract if they do not qualify to the Champions League.
Conte has been targeting Sanchez for quite some time, and considering how well the Blues have fared this season, the Chilean is likely to take up their offer. Also, he will be able to play in the Champions League like he wants to since Arsenal’s qualification seems unlikely at this point.
Meanwhile, Batshuayi scored the crucial goal against West Brom that gave Chelsea the title. However, he might be loaned to Monaco in an attempt to convince them to release Bakayoko since the French winners are greatly impressed by Batshuayi’s style of playing.
His future at Chelsea is all the more uncertain after a lackluster season wherein he scored only two league goals after a £33 million transfer from Marseille last summer.