Across the vastness of football media on Friday, Chelsea were unilaterally reported to be either very close or very very close or even very very very close to finishing up the Tiemoué Bakayoko transfer business. The vast majority of the stories didn’t differ from what Mohamed Bouhafsi (of RMC) reported late Thursday, with Chelsea agreeing a €40m fee in principle with AS Monaco for the 22-year-old midfielder.
Some have said that personal terms are now done as well, and a medical is expected next week. With just a week to go until July 1st, when Chelsea are supposed to announce and reveal not only the new Nike kits but at least one signing as well — understood to be backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero, before you get too excited — this Bakayoko business appears to be moving along the right track.
One interesting tidbit comes to us via Robin Bairner, who’s relaying some of the latest details from L’Equipe, including the final fee that will tack on an additional €10m in potential bonuses and that Bakayoko apparently chose Chelsea over Manchester United thanks to Antonio Conte.
The €40m (£35m) previously reported in both France and England is a pretty good price in today’s market, and even with €10m (£8.5-9m) in potential bonuses (presumably performance- or appearance-related), the final fee remains reasonable, especially if Chelsea end up selling Nemanja Matić for anything close to our supposed £40m valuation of him. A Matić sale could also temper some of the Ray Wilkins-esque hot takes regarding playing time and prospects for Nathaniel Chalobah.
The Conte angle is also lovely to hear, and it just so happens to match the story around N’Golo Kanté as well, who famously resisted the Power of the Mourinho Phone Call once upon a time.
With Bakayoko all but done, we can get back to figuring out just what’s going on with Romelu Lukaku, deciding which of Bonucci and Van Dijk is less likely and which one is least likely to join us, and continuing to put pressure on Juventus for Alex Sandro.
Pre-season starts in two weeks. There isn’t much time to waste!