After a month of relative inactivity in this transfer window, Chelsea have suddenly sprung into action.
Antonio Conte’s side have a significant points cushion at the top of the Premier League table, but that seemingly won’t stop the manager from trying to bolster his squad – with Sky Sports (among others) claiming that they have expressed in, or are already in talks to sign, as many as four players before Tuesday night’s deadline – namely Moussa Dembélé, Craig Gordon, Sead Kolašinac and Jonathan Biabiany.
By far the biggest deal would be for Celtic striker Dembélé, whom the Scottish giants value at around £40m. Chelsea are reportedly mulling over a £30m offer for the young French forward, but prising him away from Parkhead in January could prove to be a huge challenge. Indeed, registering interest now simply be laying the groundwork for a summer bid.
With 20 goals in 38 games for Celtic this season, Dembélé has made a huge impact since joining from Fulham last summer, and keeping him at the club beyond this season may be a step too far for Brendan Rodgers.
Should Celtic hold firm on Dembélé, Sky Italia have reported that Chelsea sporting director Michael Emenalo as in Turin with a view to working out a deal for Torino striker Andrea Belotti. The Serie A side have already claimed to have rejected a €65m bid from Arsenal earlier this month, but the player’s head could be turned by a chance to link up with his compatriot Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s interest in Celtic goes beyond Dembélé, with the club making efforts in the past week to sign goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Two bids (of £3m and £4m) have already been rejected by the Scottish Premiership leaders – and while it is unknown if they will go back in for a third, they do have to find a goalkeeper before the deadline to allow Asmir Begovic to complete a £12m move to Bournemouth.
Schalke defender Kolašinac looked to be on his way to Juventus at one point earlier in the window, but the Bianconeri’s withdrawal from the race has left the way clear for Chelsea to recruit him in the next few hours.
The Bosnian international is out of contract in the summer, so while Schalke don’t want to lose him, selling him for some kind of fee now as opposed to losing him for nothing in June seems to be preferable to the Bundesliga club.
Finally, Biabany is apparently wanted on a loan deal until the end of the season. The Inter winger has not been part of the plans of either Frank De Boer or Stefano Pioli, but Conte is believed to be a big fan of the 28-year-old. Sky are reporting that deal, should it materialise, would be a loan deal with a view to a permanent move in the summer.
The Times have since claimed that Biabiany has turned down the approach as he awaits an offer from China, but Conte is unlikely to give up that easily.
One player who will almost certainly not be a Chelsea player on Tuesday night, meanwhile, is defender Branislav Ivanovic. His return to Russia with Zenit is set to be completed on Tuesday after a decade in West London.