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Chelsea linked with a pair of Olympique Marseille midfielders

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Reports in France are alive with the sound of Chelsea.

Giuseppe Bellini

Neither of these names are new when it comes to Chelsea transfer rumors, but they're making fresh rounds in the French media and some of that is starting to filter over the channel.

First up, it's Guy Hillion-endorsed Giannelli Imbula.  The 21-year-old, Belgium-born French midfielder of African descent (so that checks most of our xenocentric boxes) joined Marseille just last summer from Guingamp (a la Didier Drogba), but after a hot start, has fallen well down in the pecking order behind the older duo of Benoit Cheyrou and Alaixys Romao.  Lately, he's also been eclipsed by 19-year-old Mario Lemina.  Then again, maybe that will all just result in a discount from the previously rumored £25m asking price - a price at which, unsurprisingly, Chelsea balked earlier - for the reigning Ligue 2 player of the year.

Imbula's teammate Florian Thauvin has also popped on the radar, though it is Spurs who are thought to be in the driver's seat for his inevitable move abroad.  Local reports claim that both London clubs have had a regular scouting presence to monitor the soon-to-be 22-year-old who is also rumored to be in line for his first senior French cap.  Thauvin does have a slightly tarnished reputation in France after forcing a move from Lille to Marseille last summer, but I doubt that's something we'd truly care about if the opportunity presented itself to get a good deal on the promising, left-footed attacking midfielder.

As always, this may be little more than just idle, worthless speculation.  A few months ago, Imbula looked to be a smart buy, but his dip in form as well as the arrival of Nemanja Matic for less than Imbula's rumored price has certainly shifted the landscape a bit.  Similarly, Mohamed Salah fills the role of a young, left-footed attacker quite well already. Stranger things have happened though, and we do try to collect all the attacking midfielders we possibly can.  Gotta catch 'em all!