Antonio Conte has identified Andy Carroll as his preferred target to strengthen Chelsea's forward line in January but will have to meet West Ham United's £20m ($27.6m) valuation for the striker.

The Italian coach is keen to bring in an alternative to Alvaro Morata, who is currently undergoing a drought of sorts having scored just twice in his last 12 games. And Carroll will provide the Blues boss with an added avenue of attack with his physical presence.

Conte has Michy Batshuayi as a backup for the Spanish striker, but the Belgian is said to be keen to leave the club and Chelsea are said to be open to sanctioning a move for the forward. Conte wants to bring in a replacement and has made Carroll his preferred target.

According to The Telegraph, the England international is keen to move across London and join the reigning Premier League champions, but they will have to meet West Ham's £20m valuation after an offer of a loan deal was turned down by the West London club's hierarchy.

David Moyes denied any contact with Chelsea with regards to Carroll's potential transfer, but it is believed that the Hammers will sanction a move for any offer above £20m. The former Liverpool forward has 18-months remaining on his £100,000-a-week deal.

Chelsea are reluctant to spend big on a striker, who has had limited playing time in recent seasons owing to injury, but West Ham's reluctance to lower their valuation or sanction a loan deal could see them make an offer close to the club's valuation. The Hammers are interested in Batshuayi and could reduce their valuation if the Belgian is included in any deal that takes Carroll to Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international, however, is said to have his heart set on a move to Spain with Sevilla said to be interested in signing him. Apart from the La Liga outfit, Batshuayi has also been linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund. The German club are said to be eyeing him as a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal during the ongoing January transfer window.

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll is wanted by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte Getty