CHELSEA have been told they must pay at least £34m to land Atalanta star Franck Kessie this summer.
The Blues have been chasing the Ivory Coast midfielder for months and had a verbal offer worth up to £27m rejected in January.
But Kessie’s representatives met with Roma last week and it is understood there is now an agreement in place to take him to the Italian capital.
The 20-year-old has also been scouted by Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton but in the Premier League it is Chelsea who have pursued him the hardest.
Kessie, who has been compared to countryman Yaya Toure, is a rising star and has made no secret of the fact he would love to play in England.
Antonio Conte remains an admirer but Chelsea feel his asking price is too high and are exploring whether to offer one of their army of loan players as a makeweight in any transfer.
Kessie almost joined Sunderland last summer only for the deal to fall through when he couldn’t get a work permit.
But he has since emerged as one of Europe’s hottest properties and has helped unfancied Atalanta’s march into fifth spot in Serie A this season.