Bayern Munich have taken the lead in the race to sign Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso after they identified him as the perfect replacement for Xabi Alonso, who has hung up his boots and called time on his football career.
Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the midfielder, who has in the past expressed an interest to play in the Premier League. The Blues had turned their attention to the French midfielder after cooling their interest in primary midfield target Tiemoue Bakayoko.
"Many clubs make me dream like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and England with teams like Arsenal," he is quoted as saying by France Football. "I love the Premier League and I think I have the profile. This is the championship that also offers more competition, which is the most open, the most contested and most spectacular."
Tolisso impressed the Ligue 1 outfit during the recently concluded campaign, and is well versed in playing the midfield anchor role Alonso excelled at during his time with Bayern and former clubs Real Madrid and Liverpool. The 22-year-old, with 14 goals and seven assists, has attracted interest from a number of clubs across Europe.
According to French publication L'Equipe, the Bundesliga champions have begun formal negotiations with Lyon over a move for Tolisso and are looking to wrap up the transfer at the earliest. Bayern have offered the France international a long-term deal and ready to make him the biggest sale in the French club's history by agreeing a €40m (£35m, $44.7m) transfer, which is €2m more than Chelsea paid for Michael Essien in 2005.
Apart from Bayern and Chelsea, the report claims that Premier League clubs Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were also monitoring the situation, while Italian giants Juventus had also indicated an interest in signing the midfielder. The German champions, however, are favourites to land his signature after accelerating talks with the club and the midfielder's representatives.