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Tiemoue Bakayoko Reportedly Chooses Chelsea Transfer over Manchester Clubs

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 16, 2017

Monaco's French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko kicks the ball during the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg football match Juventus vs Monaco, on May 9, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. 
Juventus secured their place in the final of the Champions League on Tuesday after beating Monaco 2-1 in their semi-final second leg to win the tie 4-1 on aggregate. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel MEDINA        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

Tiemoue Bakayoko's proposed move to Chelsea from AS Monaco is reportedly "likely to happen" this summer, as he's said to have chosen the west Londoners over both Manchester United and Manchester City.

French newspaper L'Equipe reported Bakayoko's decision was made after the Blues started to move on to other targets (h/t Sport Witness). Manager Antonio Conte is thought to be a key reason behind his choice.

The Manchester clubs may hold out some hope to cut a deal for that reason, however, because Conte could quit the Blues following a disagreement with the club's board over transfers, per Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.

The recent acceleration in movement between the two parties also appears to have been influenced by Bayern Munich's recent capture of Olympique Lyonnais' Corentin Tolisso, per Goal's Mohammed Ali:

Mohammed Ali @mohammedali_93

Chelsea likely to focus on Bakayoko now - previously put off by many intermediaries in discussions, but now that doesn't seem to be an issue

Chelsea already have a pair of capable, combative central midfielders in N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, but Bakayoko would provide an alternative skill set in an anchored role.

As for Conte's position at the club reportedly being in jeopardy, Chelsea have responded to the rumours of a rift between him and the board, per ESPN FC's Liam Twomey:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

Chelsea are not taking yesterday's Conte reports at all seriously & insist he has no issues with the club's strategy or structure #cfc

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That development will come as music to the ears of Bakayoko if reports of his eagerness to work under the Italian are true, with Conte having stormed his way to the Premier League title during his first season in England.

Monaco have already sold star playmaker Bernardo Silva to Manchester City this summer, and their players were always likely to attract major interest after the team won last term's Ligue 1 crown.

The 22-year-old Bakayoko started 44 of his 51 appearances across all competitions, starring as one of a number of young guns who proved once again that you can win trophies with kids.

However, Monaco will want to hold on to a certain amount of their assets instead of conducting a mass auction immediately after winning the league. However, L'Equipe reported another holding midfielder could leave (h/t Sport Witness):

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

In their look at Monaco transfers, L'Equipe say Fabinho could go, but don't mention Manchester United this time.

Bakayoko's prospects of starting at Chelsea are up for debate, as his arrival would create competition with Matic alongside Kante; the PFA Players' Player of the Year is largely considered undroppable.

The Blues appear to have played their cards right in reportedly convincing the France international a move to Stamford Bridge is for him, so City and United will need to divert their interest elsewhere.

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