Chelsea are now working on the signing of a wide forward, who can potentially play as a No 10 for Mauricio Pochettino after landing Romeo Lavia from Southampton. The Belgian arrives from St Mary’s for an initial £53million plus around £5m in add-ons – signing a long-term contract at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were dealt a rare blow on Thursday as target Michael Olise unexpectedly committed his future to Crystal Palace by inking a new four-year contract.
The Blues had triggered his £35m release clause but they are now pursuing other targets after being threatened with legal action by the Eagles over what they considered to be a potential case of tapping up.
Lyon’s 20-year-old winger Bradley Barcola is now of interest and the Frenchman is a player that has also been tracked by Manchester City.
The silky dribbler, who created eight goals in Ligue 1 last season after also finding the back of the net five times, is regarded as one of the hottest talents in his homeland.
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Chelsea have a smooth relationship with Lyon having recently negotiated the signing of Malo Gusto in the January transfer window.
Barcola could cost up to £40m although Chelsea are looking to get a deal done at closer to £35m – even though he is not the only attacking target the Blues have in mind.
Brennan Johnson is also of firm admiration but Nottingham Forest are looking for around £50m in order to agree to a sale.
Other clubs are also keen but Chelsea’s hand has been strengthened by the fact they have a number of players within their squad that would be of interest to Forest.
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Ideally, the Blues will land multiple forward targets particularly after losing Christopher Nkunku for around four months due to a knee injury.
The Blues are still trying to find buyers for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Romelu Lukaku while Hakim Ziyech is now putting the finishing touches on a switch to Galatasaray.
Montpellier’s Elye Wahi remains a player of admiration but the Blues would be looking to loan him the Strasbourg if they were able to agree a deal for the Frenchman.
Again, he is another player of interest to other clubs including West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, new boy Lavia has been registered in time to face West Ham on Sunday.
The 19-year-old has told Chelsea’s official website: “I’m really happy to join Chelsea and be a part of this exciting project. It’s an amazing football club with a great history and I’m really excited to get started.
“I can’t wait to meet all my new team-mates and build a chemistry together to achieve great things together.”
Chelsea are expected to be active in the transfer market right up until the September 1 deadline as they continue to make tweaks to their squad.
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