Football: Chelsea open transfer talks with CSKA Moscow over Russia's £27 million-rated Aleksandr Golovin

Russia's midfielder Aleksandr Golovin takes part to a training session on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Uruguay at the Samara Arena on June 24, 2018 in Samara.
Russia's midfielder Aleksandr Golovin takes part to a training session on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Uruguay at the Samara Arena on June 24, 2018 in Samara.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (THE GUARDIAN) - Chelsea are in talks with CSKA Moscow with a view to making the much coveted attacking midfielder, Aleksandr Golovin, their first signing of the summer.

Golovin has impressed as Russia have progressed into a last-16 meeting with Spain at the World Cup, having had two assists in the group stage, and Chelsea have now moved to follow up their longstanding interest in the 22-year-old.

Juventus had been close to securing the player earlier in the summer, with Arsenal having also been linked with his signature, but Chelsea are now favourites to tie up a deal once his participation at the tournament has concluded.

CSKA are thought to want around £27 million (S$48.4 million) for Golovin, whose contract in Moscow runs to the end of the 2020-21 season, and the west London club would be willing to meet that valuation.

The club appear to be convinced he can settle and make an immediate impression in the English Premier League.

Golovin had been linked last season with Serie A team Napoli, who were then overseen by Maurizio Sarri, and the Italian is expected to replace his compatriot, Antonio Conte, as Chelsea's head coach before the start of the new campaign.

Leonid Slutsky, formerly Russia's national manager and a close friend of Roman Abramovich, had brought Golovin to CSKA from Metallurg Novokuznetsk and has championed his abilities in the period since.

Slutsky is currently in charge at Vitesse Arnhem, a club with whom Chelsea enjoy a close relationship, but, once secured, Golovin will not be joining the Dutch Eredivisie side on loan.

There are doubts over the futures of Willian and Pedro at Stamford Bridge, while Cesc Fabregas is entering the final year of his contract at the club. Danny Drinkwater will also be permitted to leave, though not for less than the £35 million Chelsea paid Leicester City to secure him last summer, while any bids for Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Ross Barkley will be rejected.

Elsewhere, Southampton have signed Norway forward Mohamed Elyounoussi from Swiss club Basel on a five-year deal for a reported £16 million.

The 23-year-old, who was born in Morocco, scored 23 times in 83 appearances for the Swiss Super League side.

Southampton manager Mark Hughes said on his club's website: "Mohamed is clearly another very exciting addition to our attacking options."