Chelsea are ready to sanction a permanent move for Tiemoue Bakayoko this summer, but know they will have to accept a fraction of the £40m they paid for him in 2017.
The midfielder arrived from Monaco four years ago, but failed to have the impact Chelsea officials were hoping for. Signed on the back of a dominant season for Monaco, the 26-year-old failed to replicate his form at Stamford Bridge.
Bakayoko never managed to impress at Chelsea and has had a series of loan moves to AC Milan, back to Monaco and last season with Napoli.
Marina Granovskaia is tasked with the job of trimming down Thomas Tuchel’s squad this summer and she would have been hoping to sell Bakayoko to Napoli.
The midfielder featured in 30 Serie A matches for the Italian side. However, they have decided not to pursue the player with coach Gennaro Gattuso leaving. Gattuso has taken over at Fiorentina, while Luciano Spalletti is the new man in Naples.
According to Gazzetta Dello Sport last month, Napoli have “no intention” of signing Bakayoko permanently. The €18m asking price they were quoted in November was said to be still in place, but they were not willing to meet it.
Instead Bakayoko returned to Chelsea at the end of the season leaving Granovskaia with a problem.
The Paris-born enforcer has just 12 months remaining on his contract meaning Chelsea can expect a reduced fee for the player.
He is not understood to be in the thinking of Tuchel for next season.
However, Milan, where he enjoyed his best loan spell to date are interested in bringing him back.
Gazzetta dello Sport via Sport Witness explain Bakayoko is “ready to move again, although this time the one-way ticket would make everyone happier”.
What is more Bakayoko “wishes to return to the Rossoneri, and above all stay”. That could mean a loan with an obligation to buy next summer.
Granovskaia stood firm over £25m transfer
Granovskaia is understood to have bargained hard recently to get a £25million fee for centre-back Fikayo Tomori.
AC Milan wanted a deal but were hoping to see the purchase price lowered. The Chelsea transfer chief though was steadfast and the Rossoneri were forced to agree on her terms.
However, Granovskaia will know she is not in a strong position to negotiate over Bakayoko with his contact coming to an end in 2022.
Whether or not Chelsea have set their sights lower after initially demanding €18m (£15.4m) for Bakayoko is unclear. What is clear is that a sale would “obviously make Chelsea happy”.
The west London club may though be forced to take closer to £10m for the player. That would mean swallowing a near £30m loss on him over four years.