Lyon star Nabil Fekir has agreed personal terms with Chelsea and wants a deadline day transfer to Stamford Bridge.
CaughtOffside understands Chelsea are a step closer to a superb late signing to bolster their attack, which has been identified as something of a problem area by manager Maurizio Sarri.
This, however, may yet be enough to persuade Lyon into selling their star player as the Ligue 1 giants are holding firm at the moment in hope of fighting off Chelsea’s interest with just hours to go in the Premier League transfer window.
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The Blues have until 5pm to bring in new players, though the European transfer window will remain open for the rest of August for most leagues.
CaughtOffside understands that while Fekir is keen on leaving Lyon, he will not necessarily push hard to force an exit, and could of course bide his time and wait for a move to another league later this month.
There has been plenty of interest in the talented 25-year-old this summer, following a superb campaign in France last term that saw him shine as one of the most complete forward players in Europe.
Fekir scored 23 times in all competitions from an attacking midfield role, and CaughtOffside understands he is seen as an alternative to Mauro Icardi up front by CFC manager Sarri – a position that the club look in urgent need of strengthening.
The Italian tactician notably turned Dries Mertens into a striker at his old club Napoli, with the Belgian having started out as a winger before becoming extremely prolific in his new role.
Fekir looks to have similar potential to change positions and would surely be an upgrade on the struggling Alvaro Morata, though efforts to sign Icardi from Inter Milan look dead in the water due to his high asking price.
CaughtOffside were told yesterday that Sarri was eager to land the Argentine striker, though he looked to be having trouble persuading club chiefs to come up with the cash.
Fekir would likely cost closer to £60million, though CaughtOffside understands the west Londoners are only offering £54m plus potential add-ons at the moment.
It remains to be seen if some kind of compromise can be reached in the next couple of hours, but as it stands there is an agreement between the player himself and Chelsea.