Chelsea have slapped an eye-watering £80m price tag on N’Golo Kante as Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte targets three Stamford Bridge stars.
Conte is preparing to raid his former club as he bids to turn his Nerazzurri side into Serie A title winners and end the dominance of Juventus.
The Inter boss wants to be reunited with midfielder Kante, as well as left-back Emerson Palmieri and striker Olivier Giroud.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard does not want to sell Kante, but the club must raise funds after signing Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr already this summer.
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz is also expected to arrive at Stamford Bridge in a £90m deal.
But while there have been initial talks between Chelsea and Inter over Kante, the Premier League side will not sell the 29-year-old for anything less than £80m.
Conte, who was in charge at Chelsea between 2016 and 2018, led Inter to this season’s Europa League final as well as second place in Serie A – just a point behind nine-times consecutive champions Juve.
He has told the San Siro club’s board he needs a squad revamp to take Inter to the next level, and sees Kante, Giroud and Palmieri as part of that overhaul.
Conte tried to sign France striker Giroud in January, and could have landed him on a free transfer this summer had the 33-year-old not signed a new deal with Chelsea.
So the manager will have to stump up a transfer fee if he wants to land his man, while he is also keen on Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who would cost around £55m.
The Italian club must raise funds to finance the rebuild, with former Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen set to be unloaded after just six months in Milan.
Roberto Gagliardini, Matias Vecino and Marcelo Brozovic are also understood to be up for sale.