Chelsea are expected to snap up the services of £35-million-rated Tiemoue Bakayoko in the coming weeks.
According to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, Chelsea are on the verge of completing the 35 million signing of AS Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, as manager Antonio Conte has identified the French international the ideal man to partner compatriot N’Golo Kante in midfield.
Bakayoko has been one of Monaco’s most influential performers this season, and has played the role of a midfield enforcer with aplomb. He has been an assured presence on the ball, guiding his team to the Ligue 1 title and to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
The 22-year-old is also an adept dribbler, and a ferocious presence in the air – attributes that make him the complete midfielder for Conte’s side. The Blues were second to none in the league this season, and the Italian will be looking to retain the title come the 2017/18 campaign.
With the signing of Bakayoko in the summer, Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic could be on his way out of the club. The Serbian was a regular in the last two title winning seasons at Stamford Bridge, but Conte sees the Monaco man as an upgrade on Matic.
Old Trafford appears to be a likely destination for the 28-year-old as Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is keen on working with the Serbian after their fruitful relationship in the 2014/15 season.
Then manager of Chelsea, Mourinho re-signed the Serbian from Benfica, and saw him play as a holding midfielder en-route to winning the league title that season. Matic was one of the Blues’ key figures, and already saw himself on the receiving end of increasing adulation from the Stamford Bridge faithful.
United craved for a physical presence in the middle of the park this past season as Marouane Fellaini’s erratic form continued and his tackling and overall reading of the game often let him down.
Fabinho and Eric Dier appear to be on Mourinho’s shortlist, but none of them have past experience of working under him like Matic does. The Serbian knows what the Special One demands from his midfielders, and on paper, is a perfect fit for the Portuguese tactician.
Thus, it remains to be seen whether Matic will be allowed to leave Chelsea in the summer, and if he is a top priority for Mourinho, or just another player that has been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer.