With Oscar all set to leave Chelsea in January, Antonio Conte has already identified his replacement.
According to a report from the Times, Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is the man Conte wants to sign.
Conte is looking for midfielders who can operate within his unique 3-4-3 formation, and while Oscar doesn’t fit in the system, Bakayoko seemingly does. The French youngster’s physical strength can be a huge plus point for the Blues manager as he continues to reshape the Chelsea squad.
The 22-year-old has been a consistent performer for Monaco, who are in contention for the Ligue 1 title this year, having already qualified from top spot from their Champions League group, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur.
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Bakayoko, currently in his third season with Monaco, has seen his reputation rise step by step since joining them from Rennes in 2014. The past summer, he was linked with a move to Manchester United, but now, Chelsea’s interest seems to be more concrete.
The report also states that Bakayoko’s value could rise to as much as £40m, but Chelsea are expected to cash in huge money by offloading Oscar.
The Brazilian is almost certain to join former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas at Shanghai SIPG next year, a deal which will reportedly make the 25-year-old midfielder the third-highest paid player in the world.
The move for Bakayoko, if it finally happens, would definitely see Conte dropping his long-standing interest in Roma’s Radja Nainggolan. Chelsea made several unsuccessful attempts to sign the Belgian midfielder in the summer, but the Serie A outfit rejected all of them.