Former Chelsea midfielder and assistant manager Ray Wilkins has expressed disappointment with the club's rumoured summer pursuit of Tiemoue Bakayoko, suggesting that, in homegrown product Nathaniel Chalobah, Antonio Conte already has a player capable of hitting the same high standard.
Along with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, AS Monaco's Bakayoko, apparently seen as an ideal midfield partner for N'Golo Kante, has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge over recent weeks.
The latest reports from The Mail on Wednesday (21 May) suggested that the Premier League champions were close to completing a £35m ($44.3m) transfer that could strengthen Jose Mourinho's attempts to take Nemanja Matic to Manchester United.
Former Stade Rennais starlet Bakayoko enjoyed a stellar 2016-17 campaign under Leonardo Jardim, helping a young and vibrant attacking Monaco side win their first Ligue 1 title for 17 years and also reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. He made his senior international debut for France during a 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain in March.
However, despite those considerable achievements, Wilkins still believes that Chalobah, currently on duty with England at the European Under-21 Championship in Poland, can be just as effective given the opportunity.
"I was really disappointed to read they are looking at Bakayoko from Monaco," he told Talksport. "He is 22 years of age, French and doesn't get near the national side, but it was quoted Chelsea might be paying £32m.
"Well, in Nathaniel they have got a footballer that can play exactly the same but just needs an opportunity to get in there and play. You have seen already in the two games he has played up to now [at the European Championship] he looks a class act in and amongst people of his own age. Playing with the top quality players that they have at Chelsea, he can only improve week to week."
After a seemingly never-ending succession of mixed loan spells with Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli, Chalobah did enjoy something of a breakthrough campaign under Conte in 2016-17.
The versatile academy graduate, a veteran of almost a century of caps for England's youth teams, was retained and finally made his senior Chelsea debut six years after first appearing on the bench as a 15-year-old. He went on to make 15 appearances across all competitions, all but five of which came as a substitute. He also collected a Premier League winners' medal.