Chelsea weigh up £40m bid for Celtic star Moussa Dembele
Chelsea have been quoted £40m by Celtic for Moussa Dembélé after making a surprise pre-transfer deadline inquiry for the striker.
They must now decide whether to make a formal offer for Dembélé, with two deals they had hoped to complete, for defender Sead Kolasinac and goalkeeper Craig Gordon, in doubt.
Chelsea have been in talks with Celtic regarding Gordon, for whom they have made two bids, and registered an interest in 20-year-old Dembélé.
Celtic do not want to sell Dembélé this month, but are understood to have told Chelsea that it would take £40m to get him. The Hoops signed the French youngster for just £500,000 from Fulham last summer.
Chelsea are deliberating over whether to follow up their inquiry with a bid for Dembélé or whether to shelve their interest until the end of the season.
Signing Dembélé for such a big fee would seem to be a difficult deal for Chelsea to complete on the final day of the window, but it would not be the first time they have produced a shock having re-signed David Luiz for £30m in August.
Antonio Conte has looked at various ways of strengthening his forward options, having expressed an interest in Swansea striker Fernando Llorente. He is also a fan of Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke.
Chelsea had been confident of signing Kolasinac (23) from Schalke to offset the departure of Branislav Ivanovic to Zenit St Petersburg, but the German club do not want to let him go. Talks could still reopen before the deadline passes, but last night, there was a growing fear that Schalke will refuse to sell - even though Kolasinac can leave on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Kolasinac has won 17 caps for Bosnia, having previously played at U-20 level for Germany, and can play at left-back, centre-back or even in central midfield.
Zenit offered Ivanovic a two-and-a-half-year contract worth around £80,000 a week to beat off Premier League interest in the defender.
Despite his form declining over the past 18 months, Ivanovic will go down as one of Chelsea's best signings in the Roman Abramovich era.
After joining for £9.7m, Ivanovic became one of the best right-backs in Europe and won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, the League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League with Chelsea.