Chelsea have opened discussions over a possible deal for Lille star Jonathan Ikone, according to reports in France.
The 22-year-old forward racked up three goals and six assists in Ligue 1 this season before the coronavirus pandemic brought the French league campaign to a halt at the end of April.
Ikone’s impressive performances earned him his first call-up to the France national side in September 2019 and the attacker has since earned four caps under Didier Deschamps.
And Ikone’s talent has not gone unnoticed across the Channel, with both Tottenham and Newcastle heavily linked with the former Paris Saint-Germain youth player.
According to Le 10 Sport, Chelsea have joined the race for Ikone’s signature and tentative negotiations have begun over a potential agreement this summer.
Inter Milan, managed by ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, are providing stiff competition for Ikone and are also in talks to sign the France international ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
Lille are yet to receive a significant offer for Ikone but are taking the interest from Chelsea and Inter ‘very seriously’.
Chelsea could be eyeing Ikone as a possible alternative to Kai Havertz, with Frank Lampard recently playing down speculation linking the club with the Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid.
‘He’s obviously a top player but I’m certainly not going to comment on other teams, and it cannot be our focus,’ the Chelsea head coach said.
‘So I’ve got nothing to say.’
Asked whether Chelsea had made an £80million offer for Havertz, Lampard replied: ‘No, no bids have gone in.’
Chelsea have made up for lost time in the wake of their two-window transfer ban by completing deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner in recent months.
Ajax agreed a £33.6m deal with Chelsea for Ziyech in February and Leipzig’s Timo Werner followed the Moroccan to Stamford Bridge in a £47.5m move on July 1.
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