Chelsea are set to test Napoli’s resolve with a huge £40m bid for midfield talent Amadou Diawara.
The 19-year-old has been courted by Blues boss Antonio Conte since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in the summer, while Tottenham have had a £34m offer rejected by Gli Azurri earlier this week.
Diawara caught the eye of scouts across Europe last season with a string of impressive performances for Bologna.
Napoli won the race in the summer, signing the defensive midfielder for £9m, and after being eased into the squad, he’s now become a first-team regular.
The Guinean has started three of the Naples outfit’s last four games, playing the full 90 minutes in each, and held his own in a fierce contest with Juventus.
Touted as one of the next big midfield stars, Diawara is tied down to Napoli until 2021, but it appears neither Chelsea nor Tottenham want to wait that long.
Conte already moved to sign N’Golo Kante from Leicester in the summer, while David Luiz made a return to west London from PSG.
With Nemanja Matic also filling the DM role, the Blues have no shortage of quality names in that position, which only adds weight to how highly they rate Diawara.
The teenager has only been playing senior football in Italy for a little over two seasons, starting with San Marino in 2014-15, before Bologna came calling.
It’s believed Chelsea could be willing to go as high as £43m to secure the midfielder’s services.
In the meantime, Conte will be hoping his side can continue the form they showed before the international break when the Premier League resumes this weekend.
The Blues are on a five-game winning streak – they haven’t conceded in that run either – ahead of a trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday.
The bookies make it 1/2 Conte’s charges continue their winning ways at the Riverside.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing