• Lukaku is keen to play in the Champions League and has asked to leave Everton.
  • Riyad Mahrez and Alex Sandro on Chelsea radar.

Chelsea are close to finalising deals for Tiemoue Bakayoko and Romelu Lukaku as Antonio Conte begins his foray into the transfer market.

The Italian manager is keen to bolster his squad in a number of positions ahead of their return to the Champions League next season. The Blues will be challenging on four fronts – Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and Champions League - next season, and Conte is keen to have quality backups in all the positions.

According to the London Evening Standard, the Chelsea boss wants to make six summer signings as he targets a forward, two midfielders, a centre-back and cover in the full-back positions. Lukaku and Bakayoko are two of the manager's priority targets and it is claimed that they are close to agreeing moves to Stamford Bridge.

The Everton forward has made it clear that he wants to leave the Toffees this summer and despite the club demanding a world-record £100m ($127.3m) fee, Chelsea are expected to complete a move for the striker for a fee in the region of £75m. Manchester United have also registered an interest in signing the Belgium international, but the reigning English champions are expected to win the race for their former player.

AS Monaco's Bakayoko, meanwhile, is said to have made up his mind over a move to Chelsea over other interested suitors which included the Red Devils, with the west London club ready to meet his £40m asking price. The French midfielder is said to be keen to work with Antonio Conte and he will be the Principality club's second departure after Bernardo Silva joined Manchester City earlier in the summer.

Apart from the aforementioned duo, Conte is keen to sign a centre-back to fill the void left by John Terry's departure. Southampton's Virgil van Dijk and Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci are said to be the manager's preferred options, but both clubs are unwilling to sell their main defenders.

The Italian champions rejected a bid from Chelsea for left-back Alex Sandro, but the Blues are expected to improve their offer as the Italian coach looks for an upgrade on current first choice Marcos Alonso.

Tiemoue Bakayoko
Romelu Lukaku
Bakayoko (L) and Lukaku are close to joining Chelsea from Monaco and Everton respectively

The Italian manager is keen to further strengthen his attack and the Blues are said to be keeping an eye on Riyad Mahrez, who has asked to leave Leicester City this summer. According to the report, Dries Martins was Conte's preferred option, but the Belgian committed his future to Napoli by agreeing a new long-term deal in May.