Chelsea are holding advanced talks with Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri.
RTL journalist Christian Ollivier has claimed that the 26-year-old is the “personal choice” of Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich.
Seri was close to agreeing a deal with Barcelona last summer, but the transfer fell through after Nice upped the asking price.
The midfielder is said to have an unofficial €40 million release clause in his contract, but his move to the Nou Camp collapsed after Paris Saint-Germain indicated they would offer €10m more.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have all previously been linked with a move for Seri, but it appears that Chelsea are in pole position to secure his services.
Nice bought Seri from Paços de Ferreira in 2015 for around £750,000 and he has appeared in almost every Ligue 1 match since.
His current contract expires in the summer of 2019 and Nice are believed to want to cash in this summer rather than risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time.
Seri, who made his international debut against Sierra Leone in 2015, has been capped 18 times by Ivory Coast.