In this morning’s Sunday Express, the Blues are also intent on raiding Southampton for the trio Ryan Bertrand, 28, Virgil Van Dijk, 26, and Cedric Soares, 25. Completing the shopping list is Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater, 27. All this for £200m and presumably including an offer of ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ from Southampton.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is their top priority from the list though but they face strong competition from Liverpool who are 2/1 favourites to land the England international who is in the last year of his current deal with Arsenal.
So far, the Ox as Arsenal fans know him, has shown no inclination to sign a new deal with the north London club as he seeks reassurances that he will feature more regularly in his preferred central midfield role.
He may not get that chance at Chelsea. The club recently had an offer of £20m for Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater, 27, rejected but are set to return with a fresh bid which takes them closer to the £30m The Foxes are determined to hold out for.
The surprise is the raid on Southampton’s squad. Van Dijk is set on leaving St Mary’s this summer but with a welter of clubs interested in him, including Italian champions Juventus, the Blues face a struggle to take him to south-west London.
It’s unlikely that Chelsea would land Van Dijk, Soares and former player Bertrand at the same time, with the Saints intent on challenging for the Europa League places. Having secured new backers from China, Southampton are not in a position where they need the money on offer for the players.
With time running out before the window closes and Chelsea struggling to close out deals, the prospect of Conte strengthening his squad significantly are receding.