Chelsea are in talks with Manchester United target Koke, and could be about to land the player in a £48million deal, according to The Times.
Times journalist Matt Hughes claims that the Blues have made a formal attempt to get ahead of their rivals by way of beginning negotiations with the Spain star, as Jose Mourinho looks to find a permanent successor to the departing Frank Lampard. Chelsea have already agreed a £32million deal for team-mate Diego Costa, and so Koke has now jumped to the top of the Special One’s list of priorities. With the a release clause of £48million he's expensive, but it would seem that the Stamford Bridge boss sees him as worth the money.
The decision to enter talks will have dealt a blow to United, who are also said to be hot on the idea of luring the 22-year-old to the Premier League this summer following another impressive campaign with Atletico Madrid. However a deal for the youngster is far from done, and the Red Devils could yet inadvertently have the final say on where he ends up, even if it isn’t Old Trafford.
It’s believed that Catalan giants Barcelona are the third club to be heavily interested in Koke, and are desperate to offload Francesc Fabregas in order to generate the funds needed to finance any potential deal. Coincidentally Louis van Gaal is ready to pay around £32million for Fabregas, which would allow Barca to then officially register themselves as a rival for Chelsea in the race for Atletico’s star midfielder.
All very complicated, it would seem. One thing is for sure though, Mourinho will not wait around for his rivals to play catch up, and unless United and Barca move quickly they could find themselves missing out on one of Europe’s most precocious playmakers.