• Reports suggest the champions have been given encouragement over agreeing a deal.
  • The champions will reportedly make a second bid for Danny Drinkwater this week.

Chelsea are edging ever closer to completing the signing of Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain according to latest reports.

The Premier League champions suffered a humiliating opening day defeat to Burnley on Saturday (12 August) where their limitations in the middle of the park were brutally exposed. Having sanctioned the exits of Nemanja Matic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Marco van Ginkel and Lewis Baker and with new summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko injured, Antonio Conte has just two options in N'Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas. Those options will dwindle further ahead of next Sunday's clash with Tottenham Hotspur with Fabregas suspended for one match after he was sent off in the 3-2 defeat to the Clarets.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates could help solve that problem. According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea have received "sufficient encouragement" over completing a deal for the 23-year-old. Although a fee has not yet been agreed between the two clubs, a £35m fee has been mooted.

The former Southampton midfielder sees his future in a central midfield role, where he has impressed for both club and country when given the nod in that position. Oxlade-Chamberlain started on a left-wing back role in Arsenal's season-opening victory over Leicester City on Friday and in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea.

While Wenger has previously indicated he wants to retain the player, the report states the Gunners boss is eager to trim his bloated squad and is now considering his sale.

Chelsea might not stop with Oxlade-Chamberlain, such is their dearth of midfield options for a campaign where they will once again have to find a balance between domestic and European fixtures.

According to the Daily Mail, the champions will move forward with a £20m bid for Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater this week. The Blues have already seen their opening offer of around £15m rejected by the Foxes but the midfielder is understood to be keen on making the move to London.

Chelsea's defeat on Saturday heightened their need for further summer recruitment. Antonio Conte recently remarked the club are in talks "every day" over bringing new faces to Stamford Bridge having already spent over £120m on Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata with defender Cesar Azpilicueta calling for more if the club are serious about defending their Premier League crown.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Chelsea want to bring the England midfielder over to west London. Getty