Jose Mourinho will go head-to-head with former club Chelsea as Manchester United rival their supposed interest in Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The Premier League pair are ready to lock horns and battle for the midfielder’s signature, the Sun claims, ahead of the January transfer window opening in just over a week’s time.
Bakayoko has been in fine form for the Ligue 1 side in both domestic and continental competitions, and is rumoured to be at the centre of a tug of war between the two English heavyweights as a result.
Mourinho, who was sacked by Chelsea before Christmas last season, would secretly love to get one over his former employers by snatching the 22-year-old from under their noses.
It is Chelsea who the Sun insist have made the first tentative enquiries as to his availability, while the Red Devils are rumoured to be holding out until the summer before making a move for Bakayoko.
However, if the Blues do make an official bid for the star midfield man once the winter window commences, it may end up forcing Mourinho’s hand earlier than expected.
The United manager has made it no secret that he wishes to strengthen his squad as soon as possible, with Benfica defender Victor Lindelof reportedly close to signing in a £38m deal, with Genk winger Leon Bailey has also been heavily linked with a switch to Old Trafford.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, meanwhile, will have a £60m transfer kitty burning a hole in his pocket if playmaker Oscar makes his January switch to the Chinese Super League. Providing the Brazil international completes his transfer, Blues owner Roman Abramovich will likely sanction a move for Bakayoko if Conte decides to prioritise midfield reinforcements ahead of other areas of his own squad.
Bakayoko moved to Monaco from fellow French outfit Rennes in July 2014 for a reported £7m. The six-foot star has become of Europe’s hottest properties this term after a series of commanding displays in the heart of Monaco’s midfield, with the club sitting second in Ligue 1 and finishing in first place in Champions League group E ahead of Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen.
Monaco would attempt to resist any bids for Bakayoko as early as next month, particularly as they go in search of another league title and with a Champions League last-16 encounter with United’s fierce rivals Manchester City to come in February, but if a substantial offer was made for Bakayoko the French side could find it hard to resist cashing in on the France Under-21 international.
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