CHELSEA have received a boost in their pursuit of Lucas Gourna-Douath with St-Etienne reportedly prepared to accept £22million.
The centre-midfielder, 17, has been heavily linked with a move to the Blues and the Ligue 1 outfit may be forced into selling at the end of the season because of the financial impact of coronavirus.
Gourna-Douath is one of the hottest prospects in French football.
He has played 23 times in Ligue 1 this season earning praise for his performances from a deep-lying role.
St-Etienne boss Claude Puel wants him to be the future of his team.
The youngster is also said to be keen on continuing his development with his boyhood club.
But St-Etienne face being forced to sell at the end of this season as part of a mass player cull, according to FootMercato.
William Saliba and Wesley Fofana were sold to Arsenal and Leicester in 2019 and 2020 respectively and Gourna-Douath is set to follow to help balance the books.
But the Blues could face stiff competition as RB Leipzig and AC Milan are also said to be interested.
Gourna-Douath’s representatives are said to be preparing for all eventualities – including a move to England.
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Elsewhere, it emerged AC Milan also want to sign Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori on a permanent transfer.
The West Londoners sent the English defender to the San Siro in January to gain first-team experience in the Serie A title race.
After Milan beat Roma 2-1 on Sunday, 23-year-old Tomori came in for huge praise in only his fifth start for the team.
And talk is already turning to Italian legend Paolo Maldini trying to sign him permanently.
Chelsea accepted a purchase option reportedly worth £27m when sending Tomori on loan.
And Milan chief Maldini hinted his team will try and reduce that fee ahead of any bid.
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