Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Monaco central defender Benoit Badiashile for a fee of around £35m.
The 21-year-old has won two full caps for France.
Former Tottenham head of recruitment Paul Mitchell is sporting director at Monaco, who are open to a sale.
Head coach Philippe Clement has said of the prospect of losing the likes of Badiashile next month: “As a coach, we’re always happy when the transfer window shuts.
“We’ll see. It depends on the situations, if they’re interesting for the club or not. The most important thing for me is that the players have their minds here, and that’s the case.”
The 6ft 4in France international – a left-sided centre-back – has always wanted to play for a Premier League club contending for the Champions League, with West Ham and Sevilla reportedly having previously been interested.
Graham Potter is seeking flexibility in his back line with Chelsea currently sweating over the fitness of Wesley Fofana after the defender suffered a setback in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Brentford.
Potter said prior to the fixture against Bournemouth: “Wesley [Fofana] just had a little setback which can sometimes happen at the very last stage of the rehab. It will be a couple of weeks so he won’t be available for the game.”
Croatia’s 20-year-old World Cup star Josko Gvardiol has also attracted plenty of interest from Chelsea but The Sun claim his rising value and reputation has left the Blues considering more immediate options.
Chelsea’s January transfer plans assessed
Analysis from Sky Sports’ Paul Gilmour:
“It’s no secret that Todd Boehly is targeting the best young players in world football as they embark on building a squad that can compete for many years.
“It’s a policy that is consistent with giving Graham Potter a long-term contract and it’s an approach that will become normal practice at Stamford Bridge in the coming years.
“It’s already been evident with the pre-contract summer agreement for France international Christopher Nkunku but this January they are on the lookout for a midfielder and a striker.
“The injury to Armando Broja has left them light in forward positions and they are the lowest scorers in the top half with only 17. In midfield, N’Golo Kante has been regularly absent.
“Like Nkunku, Declan Rice is likely to be available for the right price in the summer, but Chelsea won’t want to give up their bid to qualify for the Champions League without a fight. I expect them to attempt to make signings this January.”
How much have Chelsea spent recently?
To put it simply – a lot. Chelsea were the highest spenders in the Premier League in the summer, paying £278.4m for 10 new players as the club’s new owners made their presence felt.
At £75m, Wesley Fofana was the Blues’ most expensive purchase, while £63m was spent on Marc Cucurella and £47.5m was paid to Manchester City for Raheem Sterling.
What issues do Chelsea need to address?
There would have been a number of issues troubling Graham Potter as he saw his side’s form collapse in the weeks leading up to the World Cup. However, there are two problems in particular that are hurting Chelsea – a lack of creativity and a lack of goals.
The Blues have an expected goals total of just 15.61 from their 14 Premier League games – only six other sides have recorded a lower figure – while they have scored only 17 times in those matches. For context, Manchester City have an xG total of 28.09 and have scored 40 goals over the same period.
The fact that no player has managed more than two assists in the league speaks volumes – as does Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling being the top scorers with just three goals each.
Chelsea were hardly the great entertainers under Thomas Tuchel but they will continue to go backwards under Potter unless they address their dysfunctional attack.