Aurelien Tchouameni will be staying put this month but the Blues reportedly have the edge over their rivals as they look to seek out their long-term N'Golo Kante replacement
AS Monaco have reportedly decided to keep Aurelien Tchouameni this month as Chelsea would prefer a summer deal for a player they view as their long-term N'Golo Kante replacement.
Tchouameni alongside West Ham's Declan Rice, are the two main targets for the Blues as they look to reshuffle the midfield in the summer with Saul Niguez set to return to Atletico Madrid at the end of the season, despite his late recent resurgence.
Ligue 1's young player of the season - who has been recommended to Marina Granovskaia and Scott McLachlan by Cesc Fabregas - was linked in the previous summer window but on that occasion, the Blues hierarchy decided to give the player an extra season to develop in his home country to the try and avoid the same £50million Tiemoue Bakayoko mistake coming to the fore once again.
Eplpage understood that there were talks between the Blues and the midfielder's entourage, but nothing materialised in the end and Saul indeed was the player brought in on deadline day to provide that extra depth.
Initially, the midfield was set to be on the agenda as Thomas Tuchel planned his mini squad rebuild in January to catch up with Man City but the hapless situation in the full-back situation changed all of that.
Emerson Palmieri is touted as the main man to comeback temporarily from his loan in France to replace Ben Chilwell who is missing the rest of the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear, whilst one of Sergino Dest or loanee Dujon Sterling could comeback as a short-term fix for Reece James who is set to miss 4-5 weeks due to a knee injury sustained in the December draw against Brighton
This change of chance can be seen with the latest update on Monaco's No.8 can be seen in the latest update on his future that has been provided by reliable French outlet L'Equipe (via GFFN).
They have reported that the midfielder will not be leaving Monaco in January, but Chelsea are among the clubs "positioning themselves" for a summer move.
Liverpool are among other Premier League rivals such as Man United who are tempted to go big on the young Frenchmen, as per the Athletic, but the Blues' prolific nature in signing Ligue 1 players over th years could give them the slight advantage here.
Plus, just like Liverpool, Chelsea have previous history and a business relationship with Monaco, with the names of Bakayoko and Fabregas coming to mind.
One aspect that will make good reading for the Blues faithful if they were successful in signing the £50million rated midfielder is the backing he has received to be the right successor to Kante.
"In terms of being the potential future fulcrum of Chelsea's midfield, yes," French football expert Jonathan Johnson told football.london when asked if Tchouameni could be the long-term successor to Kante.
"However, I would argue that Tchouameni has the potential to do more than just replace Kante. The Monaco man has the makings of a rare complete midfielder whereas Kante has not built his reputation upon attacking prowess. Tchouameni could ultimately be the player Chelsea fans hoped Bakayoko would develop into.
"Tchouameni at the top of his game is a force of nature and has the potential to be the player that Tuchel builds his new-look midfield around.
"My impression is that Kante is closer to the end of his Chelsea story than the start, so it would make sense that Tuchel looks to blend Tchouameni more with Jorginho and Kovacic than his fellow Frenchman."
This update on a move not looking at all remotely possible as per the latest isn't a surprise to the French footballing expert who added context as to why a move was not possible in the mid-season market.
He said: "I doubt a January move, especially with a new manager in charge after Philippe Clement replaced Niko Kovac. Instead, I expect Monaco to use potential funds from a Tchouameni sale to substantially rebuild in the summer."