Football

Mourinho set 
for second hijack on Chelsea

In what appears to be a war on his former club, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is threatening to deal a second blow to Chelsea's transfer plans.

After hijacking a Chelsea deal for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, United have enticed Monaco with a bid of over £40 million (S$71m) for Blues target Tiemoue Bakayoko, reported the Daily Mail and the Times yesterday.

That would match the French champions' valuation of the 22-year-old midfielder, topping Chelsea's opening bid of £37m.

Monaco had asked Chelsea to improve on their offer. However, as of yesterday morning (Singapore time), the EPL champions have not showed any intention of increasing their bid but appeared confident of landing the France international.

The Stamford Bridge camp has been expecting the Bakayoko signing for some time despite revelations of a knee surgery which may see him miss the start of the season.

Bakayoko had gone for a keyhole operation on a knee which has been causing pain since February.

The situation surrounding Bakayoko's destination is tied to the fate of Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, who did not take part fully in the Blues' first day of pre-season training on Monday.

MATIC STALEMATE

Mourinho was keen to take the Serb to Old Trafford, but that looks unlikely now that relations between both clubs have been soured by the Lukaku hijack.

Inter Milan are also interested in Matic but are unwilling to pay more than £30m.

Having missed out on Lukaku, Chelsea will turn their attention to Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata.

The Blues have tabled a 
£62m bid for the 24-year-old striker but Real are reportedly asking for around £80m.

Chelsea also retain an interest in Torino's Andrea Belotti, who has a release clause of £88m.

Last season, Belotti became the first player under the age of 24 to score 24 goals in a single Serie A season since Andriy Shevchenko did in 1999/2000. - WIRE SERVICES

eplCHELSEA (EPL)Manchester United