Chelsea are braced to secure the signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko this week – even though the midfielder is expected to miss the start of the season. The France international is due to become the Blues' second major signing of the summer but there are major concerns that the knee surgery he underwent at the end of last season will delay the launch of his career at Stamford Bridge.
The procedure had reportedly risked the move not going through at all, but The Daily Telegraph report Bakayoko will complete his switch from Monaco before the end of this week. The extent of the injury and talks over payment structure had delayed the announcement but a deal should be unveiled before the Premier League champions leave for Asia on their pre-season tour.
Whether the 22-year-old is among the squad which travels for Chelsea's three games in China and Singapore, which sees them face Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, remains to be seen. Bakayoko has been working alone in order to improve his fitness however he is some way behind his new teammates who returned to pre-season training on Monday [10 July].
Manager Antonio Conte expects that Bakayoko won't be available until the second month of the season and as well as missing the club's three friendlies in July he has all-but been ruled out of the first four games of the campaign. Chelsea face Arsenal in the Community Shield on 6 August, the season's annual curtain-raiser, before the defence of their title begins against Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.
Despite the risk around signing Bakayoko, who according to Transfermarkt has missed 28 matches due to various fitness problems in the last three seasons, Chelsea are desperate to add depth to their midfield with Nemanja Matic keen to leave. The Serbian has been training away from the main group since the squad assembled this week and wants to join Manchester United. Inter Milan are also interested in a deal which could be worth £40m.