Chelsea’s hopes of offloading Tiémoué Bakayoko this summer have received a boost after Milan commenced talks over a deal to sign the midfielder.
Bakayoko has struggled since joining Chelsea from Monaco for £40m three years ago and does not have a future at the club under Frank Lampard. The Frenchman spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Milan and, having seen a return to Monaco fail to materialise, has his heart set on another spell at San Siro.
Negotiations are at an early stage and it is unlikely Chelsea will accept Milan’s opening offer. The Italian club want to pay €3m (£2.7m) to sign Bakayoko on loan, with an option to buy him for €35m next summer. However Chelsea want to arrange a permanent deal for the 25-year-old, who has two years left on a contract worth £100,000 a week, and are willing to sell him for £20m.
It remains to be seen whether Milan will be willing to meet Chelsea’s asking price for Bakayoko, who spent last season on loan at Monaco. The French club had an option to buy Bakayoko for £37m, only to back out of the deal after the Ligue 1 season was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bakayoko, who scored once in 21 appearances for Monaco last season, has failed to settle at Chelsea. He joined them after helping Monaco win the title and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2017 but he has found it hard to adjust to the pace of English football.
Chelsea, who have already signed Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, are still in talks with Bayer Leverkusen over a deal for Kai Havertz. Leverkusen, who lost to Internazionale in the last eight of the Europa League on Monday, are holding out for £90m for the winger. Chelsea, who have agreed personal terms with Havertz, hope to pay a lower fee.
Lampard’s priority after buying Havertz will be strengthening his defence, though he has been told that he will need to sell players first. Chelsea are monitoring Declan Rice but are yet to make a bid for the West Ham midfielder. The west London club are also weighing up a move for the Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell.