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:
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:
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):
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.