Chelsea are putting the finishing touches on a deal to sign Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile, 90min understands.
Talks were opened with Monaco earlier this month after negotiations over preferred target Josko Gvardiol hit an expensive wall, leaving Chelsea forced to pursue other options for a January switch to Stamford Bridge.
A fee of around £30m has been discussed and sources have confirmed to 90min that negotiations are close to a complete agreement. A medical for Badiashile is already being booked in by the Blues.
Personal terms have also been finalised and Chelsea believe the 21-year-old will soon become their first official signing of the winter transfer window.
A left-sided centre-back has been high on Chelsea’s agenda since the summer, and despite the arriva of Wesley Fofana from Leicester, the Blues have continued to look for reinforcements at the back.
Gvardiol was the initial target but Chelsea’s attempts to negotiate an early deal, as they did with RB Leipzig teammate Christopher Nkunku, were rebuffed after the Croatian centre-back’s stock exploded following an excellent World Cup.
The focus then turned to Badiashile, who now appears set to become the second person to swap Monaco for Chelsea after technical director Laurence Stewart joined the Blues earlier this season.
Elsewhere, Chelsea are in talks with Benfica over a deal for World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez. The 21-year-old is ready to leave Portugal and is keen to join Chelsea in January, but his €120m release clause has proven problematic.