Premier League champions Chelsea are set to offload Michy Batshuayi in a loan deal in January as manager Antonio Conte is targeting a replacement for the striker.
Batshuayi joined the club from Marseille in the summer of 2016 in a £32m ($42.8m) deal and notably scored the goal that clinched a second league title in three seasons for the Blues.
However, the Belgian forward only made 20 league appearances in his debut season and has not succeeded in breaking into the first team this season either, especially after the arrival of Alvaro Morata.
With two goals in seven league games this season so far, and having not featured in the club’s recent 1-0 loss to West Ham United, Batshuayi does not seem to be in Conte’s plans.
And according to The Sun, the £90,000-a-week forward will be allowed to leave on loan next month. Batshuayi was nearly loaned out in the January transfer window earlier this year itself and was close to exiting the club in the summer as Chelsea looked to sign Fernando Llorente. However, the Spaniard would eventually opt for Tottenham on transfer deadline day.
Meanwhile, Batshuayi believes that regular football in the second half of the 2017/18 season can assure him of a place in Belgium’s squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.
As for his replacement, it is not known who Conte will target as of yet, but with previous reports from October stating that the Italian wanted to replace the 24-year-old in the January transfer window, Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy were touted as potential replacements at the time.
Conte recently admitted that the title race was over for Chelsea following their latest setback at the Olympic Stadium.
“To speak about the title race after a defeat is a bit strange, especially if this is the fourth defeat of the season, after 16 games,” he said.
“When you have that it’s impossible to think you are in the race, my experience tells me if you want to stay in the race in the first part of the season you can lose once or twice.”