Chelsea are ready to pay £10.7 million for the services of Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti, but are facing opposition as the Ligue 1 club prepare to offer the France U21 international a new and improved contract.
The 21-year-old has been in impressive form at Stade de Gerland over the past couple of seasons, prompting admiring glances from the newly-crowned Premier League champions.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho believes Umtiti could have the same kind of positive impact at Stamford Bridge that fellow Frenchman Kurt Zouma enjoyed following his £12.5 million switch from Saint Etienne last year.
And, according to the London Evening Standard, the Portuguese coach is determined to secure the versatile star's signature in the forthcoming transfer window which reopens in a little over a week's time.
Umtiti's ability to play at both left-back and centre-half is an attractive quality for Mourinho, particularly as there are question marks surrounding the long-term future of Brazil international Filipe Luis in west London.
The former Atletico Madrid man endured a frustrating first season in England following an £18 million move last summer, and has been heavily linked with a return to the Vicente Calderon where manager Diego Simeone is keen to be reunited with the South American.
With two years still to run on his contract with Hubert Fournier's side, Lyon are under no pressure to cash-in on Umtiti this summer, meaning Chelsea might have to wait until next year before successfully negotiating a deal that would see the highly rated star move to the English capital.
The Blues have been linked with several other defensive reinforcements as the rumour mill begins to gather pace, with former Southampton loanee Toby Alderweireld - now back at Atletico Madrid - mooted as a potential option.
Mourinho is understood to be a long-term admirer of Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane as well, but his hopes of luring him from the Spanish giants have effectively been dashed by Rafa Benitez following his appointment as Carlo Ancelotti's successor at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Chelsea fans: Do you think Samuel Umtiti would be a decent acquisition during the summer window? Is £10.7 million too much to pay for a player hardly heard of before in west London? Share your thoughts below…
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