Antonio Conte has identified Fernando Llorente as the ideal back-up striker for Diego Costa, with a deal believed to be close between Chelsea and Swansea on a loan arrangement until the end of the season.
The Spanish striker has performed reasonably considering the dire situation his current club are in, scoring six league goals from 17 appearances as The Swans struggle through a relegation battle littered with managerial uncertainty.
Llorente worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus in the 2013-14 season, securing a Serie A title and Italian Super Cup together. He would prefer not to become third choice after Costa and Michy Batshuayi, which is why the latter is being lined up for a loan move away from the club after failing to secure a starting role.
A swap deal between the two clubs has been discussed, with Llorente headed to Chelsea and Batshuayi to Swansea, but the Belgian striker would prefer a move to West Ham. The Hammers would surely jump at the chance to boost their attacking ranks amidst a miserable campaign, though they have already prioritised the position with the signing of Brentford’s Scott Hogan.
Conte has always preferred using a target man in his teams, doing so with Graziano Pelle to great effect for Italy in the European Championships last June. Chelsea appear somewhat thin on depth in the striker department, though the suspension of Diego Costa for the Bournemouth game showed The Blues are more than capable of posing an attacking threat with a fluid front three of Pedro, Willian and Eden Hazard.
Chelsea’s other transfer headline involves the return of Nathan Ake, who enjoyed a productive time on loan at Bournemouth. The Dutchman will compete with Gary Cahill and Marcos Alonso for a spot on the left side of Chelsea’s defence.