Chelsea have reportedly agreed a deal with Swansea City to take Spanish striker Fernando Llorente on loan until the end of the season.
According to Jack Wilson and David Woods in the Daily Star, Blues manager Antonio Conte sees the 31-year-old "as the ideal deputy" for first-choice striker Diego Costa, and Llorente's move to Stamford Bridge has already been agreed.
Chelsea's current back-up forward, Michy Batshuayi, has barely played in the Premier League this season, and he will likely be pushed further down the pecking order should Llorente sign for the Blues.
Swansea have agreed a deal to sign Batshuayi’s brother, Anderlecht's Aaron Leya Iseka, as a replacement for Llorente, per Wilson and Woods.
Llorente's potential surprise move to Chelsea has been reported widely recently, and he is eager to reunite with Conte, according to Matt Law in the Telegraph. The Spain striker played under him at Juventus.
As well as using him as cover for the in-form Costa, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes Conte may want to deploy the two strikers together in a 3-5-2 system:
Llorente has hardly lit up the Premier League since moving to the Liberty Stadium from Sevilla in the summer.
He has netted six goals in 17 appearances as part of a Swans side struggling near the bottom of the table—and who are now on their third manager of the season—per WhoScored.com.
However, Conte knows him from their time together at the Old Lady and clearly believes he can be more prolific in his far superior Chelsea squad.
The Italian manager has the comfort of knowing he has a firing Costa to rely on as well—the Spain international has netted 14 goals so far in the 2016-17 Premier League, starting 19 of Chelsea's 20 games, per WhoScored.
In the only top-flight match Costa has missed so far—Boxing Day's 3-0 win at Bournemouth—Conte opted against starting Batshuayi, 23, and fielded no genuine No. 9 in his starting XI.
The Chelsea boss does not seem to trust the young Belgian striker and perhaps feels Llorente will be more reliable in the short term, per football writer Dan Levene:
There is a long way to go yet in the 2016-17 season, and Chelsea's key players are sure to pick up injuries or lose form at some point—a situation Conte is now trying to legislate against.