Chelsea are reportedly hoping to complete the £35.1m signing of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, and it could be a done deal by next week.
The 22-year-old was a pivotal figure in Monaco’s Ligue 1 title success last season, while he made 51 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals and providing an assist as well as being a key defensive figure in the heart of the midfield.
In turn, it’s no surprise that he’s been attracting interest from around Europe, with the Evening Standard reporting that he’s now bound for Stamford Bridge.
A deal is said to have been agreed in principle with Monaco, while negotiations are expected to continue over the weekend with personal terms yet to be finalised.
That suggests that we’re not quite over the line as of yet, but this is the strongest indication yet that the Frenchman has chosen Chelsea and will complete a move to the Premier League champions.
The knock-on effect of Bakayoko’s arrival though is that it should set Nemanja Matic on his way to Manchester United, with his direct replacement set to be a perfect partner for N’Golo Kante.
The pair will be pivotal to Chelsea’s game next season as Conte has always placed an emphasis on having a strong midfield capable of dominating games, and with the two Frenchman sitting in there, he’ll hope that they can maintain their high level domestically while also making a big impression on their return to the Champions League.
It will be the first major summer signing for the Italian tactician, which will also start to silence the talk that tension had grown between the coach and the club over the summer transfer strategy.