Bakayoko's $72m move to strengthen Chelsea midfield

LONDON • Chelsea have completed the £40 million (S$71.9 million) signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco, but now face competition from Manchester City for another of their close-season targets.

Brazil international Danilo is wanted by both English Premier League football clubs and is expected to cost a minimum of €25 million (S$39.4 million).

Chelsea and Juventus were thought to be leading the way for the Real Madrid defender but City have now made an approach as they seek to meet Pep Guardiola's lavish demands for a full cohort of new full-backs.

If City were to pay the expected asking price, it would take their summer spending on transfer fees for right-backs alone to more than £70 million, after the recruitment of Kyle Walker for what could amount to £50 million.

In October last year, Guardiola asked his employers for two new right-backs and two new left-backs in the current transfer window.

At the tail end of last season, the Catalan publicly expressed his frustration with the players he has been using to fill positions of significant importance to his tactics - most notably Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Aleksandar Kolarov - stating that "they have no talent in the legs to go up and down".

Guardiola's first choice for the role of right-back had been Brazilian Dani Alves, with whom he won two Champions League titles and three Spanish crowns at Barcelona.

He had met the 34-year-old in the expectation that a verbally agreed free transfer from Juventus was about to be completed.

Instead, Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain inquired about gazumping City's deal, with the French club ultimately persuading Alves to turn his back on Guardiola by means of a series of persuasive phone calls and a lucrative financial package worth around 60 per cent more than the offer from City.

In addition to their pursuit of Danilo, City have also gone head-to-head with Chelsea for Juventus left-back Alex Sandro, who is valued by the Italian champions at £60 million.

Other candidates for the left side of Guardiola's defence include Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand, who is also coveted by Liverpool and priced aggressively by the south coast club, and Benjamin Mendy, for whom Monaco have asked €65 million.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'Bakayoko's $72m move to strengthen Chelsea midfield'. Print Edition | Subscribe