Adama Traoré has emerged as a surprise target for table-toppers Chelsea, who are keen to do a deal for the pacey Spanish attacker in the January transfer window. Antonio Conte is believed to be an admirer of the former Barcelona youth prospect, who joined Middlesbrough from Aston Villa last summer.
Traoré has made 14 appearances for Aitor Karanka's side this season, but has not managed to register a single goal or assist for the Teessiders as they battle to avoid relegation.
But The Daily Mail claims that Chelsea are eager to snap up the 20 year old, who is blessed with blistering speed, and have already enquired about his availability.
While Chelsea are attempting to pilfer one of Middlesbrough's young prospects, Karanka's men are looking to return the favour. The North Yorkshire outfit are currently negotiating a deal for Patrick Bamford and are currently wrangling over the transfer fee; they wish to pay an initial £5m ($6.2m, €5.8m) while the Premier League leaders are hoping to receive £10m for the 23 year old.
Bamford enjoyed a successful spell on loan at The Riverside Stadium in 2015, scoring 19 goals in 44 appearances as Boro just missed out on promotion via the play-offs. Bamford was sent out on loan to another newly promoted outfit in Burnley at the start of the season, but after making just five substitute appearances for the Clarets he was recalled by his parent club in the second week of January. Karanka is eager to bolster his side's attacking options after seeing them find the net just 17 times in 21 Premier League outings.
Chelsea have a lot of money to spend due to the sales of Oscar and John Obi Mikel earlier this month. The Blues recently recalled young defender Nathan Ake from his loan spell at Bournemouth and are hoping to integrate him into the first team. Conte's men are also set to keep troublesome forward Diego Costa despite interest from Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Quanjian.