Chelsea are closing in on appointing Maurizio Sarri as their new coach, after agreeing a £57.4million deal with Napoli for star midfielder Jorginho.
The Blues have been in discussions with the Serie A club for months over compensation for Sarri, who still has two years left on his contract.
But a breakthrough appears to have been reached after Chelsea decided to offer a bigger sum than Manchester City for Jorginho and effectively pay for Sarri as part of it.
City were the favourites to sign the 26-year-old Italy international but were only prepared to give Napoli £48.6m in installments.
However, Chelsea have significantly opted to pay £51.25m up front, with another £6.18m in add-ons. Sources in Italy suggest the fee for Sarri was included in the deal.
Jorginho is believed to have already said goodbye to his Napoli team-mates and will be given a five-year contract worth £102,000 a week, including bonuses. Napoli are said to have asked about Cesc Fabregas, who has one year left on his Chelsea contract, switching clubs in return but the midfielder is settled in London and is unlikely to leave.
It has been suggested in Italy that Sarri will be appointed at Chelsea within the next 48 hours but the Stamford Bridge hierarchy have to resolve the situation regarding coach Antonio Conte.
The Italian has been overseeing pre-season training at the club’s Cobham base since Monday and reported for duty as normal today. He wants the £9.5m due for the final year on his contract paid up front if they sack him.
Chelsea have also been in talks with Juventus over defender Daniele Rugani and CSKA Moscow for midfielder Aleksandr Golovin.
Former England coach Fabio Capello, meanwhile, is confident Gonzalo Higuain is heading to Chelsea.
Juventus striker Higuain was first offered to Chelsea in May as part of a deal to re-sign Alvaro Morata. The Italian champions are now keen to balance the books after buying Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for £99.2m yesterday.
Ex-Juve coach Capello said: “I think Higuain is heading to Chelsea, where Maurizio Sarri waits with open arms.”