Chelsea are interested in signing AS Roma's Miralem Pjanic—who is also thought to be intrigued by a move to Stamford Bridge—and the Blues' lead negotiator believes the midfielder has a £31 million release clause in his contract.
Per Matt Hughes of the Times, Chelsea's Marina Granovskaia—also a director at the club—has "established" the size of the buyout fee after holding talks with the Bosnian's advisers.
According to Hughes, the 25-year-old has been recommended by Italy boss Antonio Conte, who is expected to succeed Guus Hiddink at Chelsea and be confirmed as their new manager in March.
The midfielder would reportedly command a £60,000-per-week pay packet—something the club could easily afford as Hughes notes.
Pjanic is a talented playmaker who can play in central midfield or in an advanced role.
His versatility would allow him to provide an alternative to Cesc Fabregas or Nemanja Matic in the Blues' midfield two—a real problem area for Chelsea as they have few quality options there beyond the pair—or line up alongside them should Hiddink's successor change their formation.
Where do Chelsea most need to strengthen?
Of Fabregas and Matic, Pjanic would be a more natural replacement for the former due to his creativity and ability to contribute going forward. He could also join the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian behind Diego Costa should the need arise.
He has an excellent tally of 11 goals and nine assists for the season in Serie A and the Champions League—his best since arriving in the Italian capital in 2011—and as Squawka notes, he has created an impressive 59 chances in the former this season.
Indeed, as WhoScored.com reveals, Pjanic has stood out as one of the most creative players in the Italian top flight in recent seasons:
Miralem Pjanic: Has registered at least 3 more assists (24) than any other player in the last 3 Serie A seasons pic.twitter.com/b64BqAoXf6— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 29, 2016
Ahead of the Giallorossi's UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first leg with Real Madrid, WhoScored compared the Bosnia and Herzegovina international's European stats with those of Los Blancos maestro Luka Modric, and he came out on top in most regards:
Pjanic is a huge goal threat from distance, particularly as he is a dead-ball specialist. Here is one of several free-kicks he has found the net from this season, per BT Sport Football:
Indeed, journalist David Amoyal believes Pjanic is the best around at the moment, even ahead of Willian:
Pjanic, but don't take my word for it- even Juninho picked him as best now https://t.co/gK5OCEWOoi— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) November 4, 2015
@Mourinholic Willian is my favorite player in EPL but with my life on the line I take Pjanic— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) November 4, 2015
The midfielder, who has 65 international caps and fairly extensive Champions League experience with Roma and Lyon, would make an excellent signing for almost any Premier League side looking to add goals and creativity to their side.
Chelsea—whose midfield is lacking depth in the centre—would particularly benefit from his presence, so he'd be worth the hefty price tag as they look to return to challenging for the Premier League title next season.