Chelsea are said to be in a battle with Manchester United to sign Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko in the summer.
There have been conflicting reports about who currently leads the race for the defensive midfielder’s signature, with repected journalists on both sides all giving different views.
However, Antonio Conte will no doubt be doing all he can to try and secure one of Europe’s hottest talents.
So, who is he? Here’s all you need to know.
Tiemoue Bakayoko spent parts of his youth career with many clubs in France after being rejected by the famous Clairefontaine academy.
Following breaking his leg, the midfielder found that Rennes were one of the only clubs interested despite being highly rated in his childhood – and he would go on to spend six years at the club.
During that time, the Frenchman was playing predominantly for the club’s B team at first – before making his full debut in a 2-1 away win at Evian.
However, after just one full season at Rennes, it was already time to move to Monaco.
Time at Monaco
Aside from this season, Bakayoko’s time at Monaco hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly so far.
The midfielder was replaced after just 32 minutes on his debut for the club in August 2014, in a game which Monaco eventually went on to lose.
In fact, Bakayoko’s first two seasons in the principality have been difficult, following his €8 million move to the club.
His debut performance set up a bad relationship with his manager before suffering a serious thigh injury in January 2015 which kept the midfielder out for four months.
The start of the following campaign was going the same way until Claude Makelele joined the club’s coaching staff and changed not just Bakayoko’s playing style, but his lifestyle too.
The 22-year-old has grabbed his opportunity this season with both hands – securing his place in the centre of midfield with some commanding performances which have helped Monaco in to the quarter finals of the Champions League.
Why do Chelsea want him?
You only need to watch Bakayoko in a couple of Monaco matches to see exactly why.
He’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s quick – essentially he’s a real athlete in the middle of the park.
Whilst being good at tackling and interceptions, Bakayoko could also bring the ball forward very well and dribble with ease – which has created comparisons with Yaya Toure.
Imagine someone like that paired with N’Golo Kante…
Is he likely to move?
Well, if Bakayoko is to leave Monaco this summer, you can bet they’re going to get a hefty price for him.
The Ligue 1 side are well renowned now for their tough negotiating skills – and they value their man at £55 million.
So yeah, big money involved here.
Who are the competition for his signature?
Well, as previosuly mentioned, Manchester United are the big ones.
However, Premier League interest doesn’t stop there – with Arsenal and Liverpool also reportedly monitoring the midfielder’s situation.
Further afield, Juventus are still said to carry an interest too.