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The intertwined fates of Bakayoko and Matić as Chelsea and Manchester United butt heads again

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Gazump us once, shame on you. Gazump us, shame on ... shame on ... WE WON’T GET GAZUMPED AGAIN

According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea are confident that the rumors regarding a potential £40m bid for Tiemoué Bakayoko from Manchester United are nothing more than shady tactics from Monaco and United to a) get a higher fee out of Chelsea and b) to pressure Chelsea into selling Nemanja Matić.

All’s fair in love and war and transfers!

a) HIGHER FEE
Chelsea have, for a long time now, supposedly agreed a £35m (€40m) fee for the transfer of Tiemoué Bakayoko, and while Monaco don’t want to sell too many of their players from last season’s fun team, they had seemingly resigned to losing Bakayoko after selling Bernardo Silva to Manchester City. If that’s still the case, taking advantage of an opportunity to try to get more money out of Chelsea is an understandable, if underhanded, and risk-free move.

b) THE MATIĆ SITUATION
This is where it all gets a bit Machiavellian, but if we assume that Matić wants to leave this summer — and with two years left on his contract, it’s certain decision-time in that regard, for both him and the club — and that Mourinho also wants a reunion with his midfielder for the second time, then pressuring Chelsea into action is a logical move. As we saw with the Lukaku situation, Chelsea can be guilty of dragging our feet on certain transfer deals, so the idea would then be to leak this supposed United interest in Bakayoko, get Chelsea to finally wrap that all up, which then would make Matić surplus to requirements and allow him to leave.

So that sounds all rather complicated. A much easier explanation could be that United are simply jumping in and snatching Bakayoko away — especially with recent reported interest in Matić from Inter, which possibly appeals to Chelsea a lot more than selling to United — though Chelsea apparently remain quite confident that we’ll not get gazumped again. But the United story is an easy sell after the events of last week, and framed from a certain angle, it can look like an “echo” of the Lukaku coup.

Meanwhile, there’s the whole knee injury angle, too, which was reported yesterday and was perhaps the latest thing holding up the deal (previous things holding up the deal include: agents, Tolisso, flight changes, agents, mystery). But apparently Bakayoko’s now well enough to take the medical and the expectation is that he’ll be ready to join by the time Chelsea fly out for the Tour of Asia this coming weekend.

Let’s hope so.

P.S. That flight tracking thing from yesterday was debunked by people who actually know what certain airplanes look like. Boo! (h/t: @NotArpit)