Chelsea will hijack Barcelona’s move by offering Batshuayi in £80 million deal

Chelsea’s interest in Monaco star Thomas Lemar could open the door for Michy Batshuayi to leave the club on loan in the January transfer window – potentially in the opposite direction.

Batshuayi was named on the substitutes’ bench for Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Huddersfield Town, despite the fact Alvaro Morata was ruled out with injury.

Head coach Antonio Conte preferred to go with a front three of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro, than give Batshuayi a rare start, and the move paid off as Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners with Willian and Pedro both on target.

Batshuayi is likely to get a chance in the League Cup quarter-final against Bournemouth next week, but Chelsea have now won each of the four games that Conte has deployed Hazard as a ‘false nine’ when he has been without an out-and-out striker.

Chelsea have been looking for a target man to help out Morata, but the club are also weighing up a big January bid for £80million-rated Lemar who would offer Conte a host of options.

One of those would be to play with a ‘false nine’ more regularly, as Lemar can operate on the left, right or in the centre and would allow Hazard even greater freedom.

Chelsea’s interest in Lemar also raises the prospect of Monaco asking for players in return and sporting director Michael Emenalo is known to be a big fan of Batshuayi, who he helped to sign for the Blues before his resignation.

Monaco were among the clubs interested in Batshuayi in the summer, but Chelsea decided to keep hold of the Belgian after missing out on Fernando Llorente.

Another Chelsea player who could be available for loan is winger Charly Musonda, who last week signed a new contract with the club. Conte has insisted Musonda would need to be replaced if he were to be allowed to head out on loan in January, which may explain Chelsea’s reported interest Bayer Leverkusen 20-year-old Leon Bailey.

Bailey is a player Chelsea have followed since his days at Genk and the winger is represented by the same company as Musonda.

One player who has claimed he is not looking for a way out of Chelsea in January is Willian, whose start against Huddersfield was just his eighth in the League this season. Asked about his future, having been linked with Manchester United, Willian said: “I am always happy at Chelsea. I really like this club a lot with my heart.

“The fans can be calm. I am a Chelsea player and I am very pleased with the way I have been playing in recent weeks.

“When I play I always try to do my best. I try to help the team to play well, to score goals and make assists. Against Huddersfield I did that with my team-mates.”

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