Chelsea swoop in Batshuayi race; set to sign striker for $44 million

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In a surprise turn of events, Chelsea are now set to sign Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi.

Only yesterday Marseille accepted a $42 million bid from Crystal Palace, but Chelsea came in with a bid of more than $44 million on Tuesday, with Batshuayi preferring a move to Stamford Bridge over Selhurst Park.

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L’Equipe is reporting that the 22-year-old will sign a five-year contract with the Blues, as The Guardian reports that he will be allowed to leave Belgium’s camp at EURO 2016 to undergo a medical in London.

The $44 million transfer fee will make Batshuayi the most expensive sale in Marseille history, surpassing Didier Drogba‘s $42 million transfer in 2004, also to Chelsea. However, 35-percent of that fee will go to Standard Liege, the striker’s original club in Belgium. In 78 games with Marseille, the Belgian international has scored 33 goals.

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Both West Ham and Tottenham were also pursuing a deal with Marseille for Batshuayi, with West Ham reportedly having an agreement for $43 million just before Chelsea swooped in.

The signing would be Antonio Conte’s first as Chelsea manager and would provide immediate help to the Blues’ thin group of strikers.