Chelsea are preparing fresh talks as they aim to land top-class Liverpool target Aurelien Tchouameni, according to reports.
The 21-year-old currently represents Monaco but looks set for a big-money move next summer. He appears destined to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Paul Pogba by moving to the Premier League.
Defensive midfielder Tchouameni is admired by chiefs at Anfield, but Chelsea are keen to beat the Reds to his signature.
They held discussions over his capture during the summer, and even considered buying him before sending him straight back to Ligue 1 on loan.
Chelsea eventually opted to bring Saul Niguez in, while keeping tabs on Tchouameni’s development.
But with Saul’s loan proving to be far from successful, the seven-time France international could arrive at Stamford Bridge as his replacement.
90Min claim Chelsea are ready to re-open negotiations with Monaco and are in ‘pole position’ to sign him.
The starlet would have cost £30m this summer, but his signature will require upwards of £50m in the new year.
Chelsea have Neves & De Ligt in crosshairs
Chelsea need help in the midfield, while their hopes of signing De Ligt have drastically improved.
That fee does not put off Thomas Tuchel’s side as they see Tchouameni as a long-term investment.
Monaco’s sporting director, Englishman Paul Mitchell, recently spoke about the player and his future.
“He is a complete midfielder, very fast and physically strong, he reminds me of Steven Gerrard. He is already a top player despite being only 22, but if we want to become a top club, then we should not sell him,” Mitchell told Tuttosport.
“We are an ambitious club. Everyone from president to coach is ambitious here.
“However, we’ll assess the situation at the end of the season. The player is under contract until 2024 and his value is the one of a top player.
“Everything is expensive in Monte Carlo, let’s say that Tchouameni is as expensive as the Grand Casino.”
Chelsea stalwart ‘likely to leave’
Meanwhile, new reports claim Antonio Rudiger is ‘likely to leave’ west London when the transfer window re-opens on January 1.
ESPN, citing Sport Italia, state Real Madrid are set to ‘intensify’ talks with Rudiger and his camp in the next few weeks.
They are confident of capturing the German on a free transfer, similarly to David Alaba’s move from Bayern in July.
Rudiger’s exit would be a huge blow to Tuchel, as the manager has built his team around a sturdy backline.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are also out of contract come the end of the season.