Chelsea are ready to pursue Houssem Aouar in the summer and will reportedly lodge a £42million (€50m) for the Lyon midfielder. The Blues are on the hunt for reinforcements and are expected to be busy in the upcoming transfer window as Frank Lampard puts his stamp on the squad.
Chelsea have Aouar in their sights and are set to battle Juventus for the 21-year-old, who is an integral part of the Lyon first-team.
The Blues have already made contact with the Ligue 1 outfit over a potential move, according to a report from Tuttomercatoweb.
And Chelsea are said to be keen on forcing through a deal as they look to beat Juventus to Aouar’s signature.
Lampard was unable to sign new players prior to the start of the season due to a transfer ban imposed by FIFA.
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This was lifted in January but Chelsea did not take advantage and failed to welcome any new arrivals for the second half of the campaign.
The Stamford Bridge club therefore have funds to spend, having so far failed to reinvest the profits from the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
And Lampard could well require extra bodies in midfield with Jorginho’s future at the club now in doubt.
The Italian’s agent admitted the 28-year-old would be open to reuniting with former manager Maurizio Sarri at Juventus.
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The Serie A club would therefore not need to pursue Aouar as well, with Miralem Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentancur, Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey and Blaise Matuidi already in Turin.
The latest report suggests Chelsea are ready to submit a serious bid for Aouar, who has nine goals and seven assists across all competitions this season.
Lyon will be unwilling to sell, but their prized asset has been attracting attention from major clubs around Europe for several seasons now.
Aouar is under contract until 2023, so this is likely to be a key factor in defining the youngster’s eventual price tag.
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Even if Jorginho moves on, competition in midfield will still be fierce with Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley and Mason Mount all on Chelsea’s books.
Lampard is also set to have Ruben Loftus-Cheek available in the near future, with the youngster closing in on full fitness after 10 months on the sidelines due to an Achilles injury.
Aouar would be most likely to line up as the third midfielder in Lampard’s 4-3-3 set-up, therefore vying with Mount and Barkley for a starting spot.
Chelsea will also welcome Hakim Ziyech to Stamford Bridge this summer after a £37m fee with Ajax was agreed in January.
The move will not take place until after the current campaign, with the Moroccan joining on a five-year deal.
Speaking to the Chelsea website, Ziyech said: “Lampard played a big role.
“We had a lot of contact in the last couple of weeks and he gave me a good feeling and that was also big to do with the decision.
“[I am] happy, proud, I am excited and I cannot wait.
“It [Chelsea] is a big club in a big competition. I like the style of play, they play really attacking football, and that is something that fits me and that is one of the biggest reasons I chose therefore.”
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