Rumour Reel: Verratti and Bakayoko bound for Blues, Batshuayi on West Ham radar?
Holly Thackeray | 17 December 2016
Coral’s rumour reel
Forget Christmas and Hanukkah, holiday season is really all about what the winter window will bring Premier League clubs, as January 1st edges ever closer. So, Coral’s Saturday rumour reel features plenty of potential Chelsea transfers with the Blues set to be busy bees in the upcoming market.
Who is Antonio Conte eyeing? And which star will your side find in their stocking? Read on for your fill of all the latest football gossip…
Marco Verratti January switch to Stamford Bridge?
The Blues may be leading the English top-flight, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to rest on their laurels. Coach Conte is widely expected to reinforce his rearguard at the next opportunity, but rumour has it midfield is also an area the Italian is seeking to improve.
Conte’s compatriot Verratti, 24, is believed to be Chelsea’s top target to take charge of the scheming at Stamford Bridge, with Cesc Fabregas continually linked with an exit and Oscar supposedly set for a big move to Shanghai SIPG.
Italy international Verratti made just a handful of appearances for the Azzurri during Conte’s tenure due to injuries, but has been pulling the strings for club PSG with aplomb. The Blues are believed to be trying to land the midfielder for under £40m, but the Ligue 1 club are unlikely to allow one of their main men to depart so easily.
Tiemoue Bakayoko to Blues too?
Another name plying their trade in Ligue 1 said to be on Chelsea’s wishlist to partner N’Golo Kante is Bakayoko, 22, of Monaco.
Manchester United fans will remember that the Principality club don’t allow future stars to leave on the cheap, so Chelsea may have to dig deep to land this more defensive-minded midfield man.
Highly-rated Bakayoko could again cost around £40m, with his bullish physicality apparently appealing to Conte as he continues to build a title-challenging squad.
Meanwhile, in outgoing Chelsea news, big Belgian frontman Michy Batshuayi is said to have been the subject of a loan bid by West Ham United.
The Hammers have been struggling this season, and landing the striker, who has found it tricky to break into the Blues’ XI thanks to the form of Diego Costa, would be a real coup as Slaven Bilic battles to avoid relegation.
While, in other January mooted moves, Manchester City’s long-standing interest in Southampton centre back Virgil van Dijk could see the Sky Blues foot a bill of £50m to land the Dutchman.