Chelsea make lavish offer for their next big target - reports

Conte needs a striker to replace Diego Costa
Conte needs a striker to replace Diego Costa

Chelsea have tabled an £88m bid for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, according to reports breaking in Italy.

With Chelsea chiefs eager to make a marquee signing after their somewhat chastening experience of losing out to Manchester United in their bid to sign Romelu Lukaku earlier this month, they appear to be ready to splash the cash to sign a 29-year-old striker who only moved to Juventus from Napoli for €90m last summer.

Higuain justified that huge investment as his goals eased Juventus towards the Serie A title and they also made it through to the Champions League final, where they lost to Real Madrid in Cardiff last month.

There has been no suggestion that Juve are ready to sell Higuain, but Chelsea must have been given some encouragement to believe a deal could be possible if they have made what would be close to a world record bid for the forward.

Chelsea are eager to push through Diego Costa’s transfer to Atletico Madrid as soon as possible, but they need to find a replacement for their lead striker before giving the green light on his departure.

After believing they were in pole position to sign Lukaku, they have now been forced to target alternative forwards, with Torino’s Andrea Belotti linked with a move to Chelsea in recent weeks.

If they have decided to turn their attentions to Higuain, it would be a huge investment in an experiencer player who is unlikely to have any credible resale value as he edges towards his 30th birthday later this year.

Juventus have already given the green light to one surprising transfer this week after allowing their central defender Leonardo Bonucci to join Italian rivals AC Milan in a shock £35 deal.

If they now also sanction the sale of Higuain, the Juventus team that emerged as one of the powerhouses of European football will need to be rebuilt by coach Massimiliano Allegri.