Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko could be set to return to Italy in a transfer saga that has implications for an Arsenal target, according to reports.
Bakayoko was a £40m signing for Chelsea in 2017, but only spent one season at Stamford Bridge before falling into a cycle of loan spells away. He has had the most success in Italy, where he has played for AC Milan and Napoli either side of a return to Monaco in Ligue 1.
However, Napoli did not buy him permanently after the end of last season, leaving his future in question again.
One year remains on his contract at Stamford Bridge, where there were rumours that Thomas Tuchel would give him one last chance. In the process, a move back to Milan was blocked. But Bakayoko would prefer to return to Serie A than begin the season with Chelsea.
Now, another option for him to do so has emerged. According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Juventus would be keen to acquire his services.
After dominating the league for the best part of a decade, Juventus lost their grip on the title last season. But with Max Allegri returning as coach and champions Inter undergoing a transition, the Old Lady will be a force to be reckoned with again next year.
To reclaim their title, they need to fix their midfield, which has been a problem area in the couple of years since Allegri’s first spell in charge. They are aiming to sign Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo to do so, but talks have not been successful yet.
In the meantime, Arsenal are said to have made a superior offer for the Italy international. Therefore, if Locatelli leaves to London, Juventus could look elsewhere in the capital to reinforce their ranks.
Gazzetta believe Juventus are looking at Chelsea’s Bakayoko as a cheaper alternative to Locatelli, for whom the idea of staying at Sassuolo has not been ruled out either.
Thanks to his Serie A experience, the Frenchman would be a useful option for the Bianconeri.
The price Chelsea are looking for is not specified. But they are likely to make a loss on one of their costliest signings of the recent era. Perhaps now, the important thing is to recoup any kind of transfer fee before losing him for nothing next year.
Tuchel admits midfielder future in doubt
Another midfielder who spent last season away from Stamford Bridge is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was on loan at Fulham.
The 25-year-old has now returned to his parent club and is still trying to get his career back on track. He looked destined for the top until injuries derailed him, but at least he got regular minutes last season.
Chelsea still think one more loan spell could be beneficial for him to regain his form. In the meantime, coach Tuchel has been speaking about his future…