Chelsea are set to make a "surprise bid" for Swansea City forward Fernando Llorente, with doubts emerging over the future of Michy Batshuayi.
That's according to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, who has stated Blues boss Antonio Conte is looking to add depth to his squad in defence, midfield and attack; to address the latter, the Italian is said to be ready to swoop for Llorente, with the two having previously worked together at Juventus.
It has also been reported by Gianluca Di Marzio that the striker and Conte "could be reunited at Chelsea," with Batshuayi said to be a loan target for West Ham United and Crystal Palace.
Llorente would be an intriguing option for the Blues. Here is a look back at some of his best moments for Juventus in 2013-14, his only season playing for Conte:
Since then, Llorente's form has plummeted. He struggled for playing time during a one-season spell with Sevilla before joining Swansea in the summer. During his time in south Wales, there has been a slight upturn in form, netting six goals in 17 Premier League appearances.
It's easy to see why Conte may want to bring in the Spain international as a back-up option. Not only is the 31-year-old experienced and a player he knows well, but stylistically, he offers something different to Batshuayi; Llorente is an expert at holding the ball up and bringing team-mates into the game.
Per FourFourTwo’s Seb Stafford-Bloor, although Swansea have struggled this season, the forward has shown the right type of attitude:
When asked about a possible transfer recently, the Spaniard played down any speculation. "The truth is that I know nothing," he said, per Law. "Today I focus solely on Swansea in the complicated situation ahead."
If Llorente did come in, it would paint an even bleaker picture for Batshuayi at Stamford Bridge. The striker has failed to start a single Premier League game since joining from Marseille in the summer, and even when Diego Costa was recently suspended for the clash with Bournemouth, Conte opted not to use his only other senior centre-forward.
According to Law, despite interest in Llorente, Chelsea do not want to send the Belgium international out on loan as they "believe it would be better for his development to stay with their first-team squad."
Early on in the campaign, Batshuayi impressed with some brilliant cameos off the bench. However, ESPN FC’s Liam Twomey can understand why Conte has chosen not to utilise the 23-year-old in the current 3-4-3 setup:
While Llorente is not a direct replacement for Costa, it is easy to see how he could have an impact under Conte. The Blues have not been in losing positions often this season, although late in games, the Spaniard's physicality and poaching instincts would be difficult to handle if they were chasing a goal.
Should Chelsea swoop for him, Llorente has a big decision to make. At his age, getting regular football is surely important, and slowly there are signs of him warming to the challenge at the Liberty Stadium. With the Blues, he would spend a lot of time on the fringes, although he would be part of a squad pushing for the Premier League title.