By Wayne Veysey

7th Jan, 2017 | 1:11pm

Chelsea on verge of agreeing sensational striker swap deal - reliable journalist

By Alex Stevens

Chelsea are on the verge of agreeing a sensational striker swap deal, according to a reliable journalist.

Sky Sports Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed on his website that the league leaders are in talks with Swansea about signing Fernando Llorente this month.

It is said that Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, who joined from Marseille last summer in a £30million-plus deal, is set to head the other way as part of what would be a remarkable player exchange.

Di Marzio, who is renowned as a transfer expert and the best connected football journalist in the world, reports that “an agreement is worked on” to take Llorente from the Liberty Stadium to Stamford Bridge and that “it looks like” the transfer will be agreed.

In return, Batshuayi could spend the remainder of the campaign on loan at Swansea, who are battling to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has given the green light to sign Llorente as he looks to strengthen the squad for a full assault on the title in the second half of the campaign.

The London giants top the table by five points after the festive break despite their remarkable 13-match league winning run being ended by Tottenham in midweek.

Chelsea have the Premier League’s leading scorer Diego Costa in their ranks but Conte’s does not appear to be satisfied by the back-up to his main striker.

Batshuayi has scored three goals since joining from Marseille but has not started a Premier League match and, tellingly, was overlooked against Bournemouth on Boxing Day when Costa was suspended and the manager chose to deploy Eden Hazard as the spearhead.

Llorente, 31, joined Swansea last summer from Sevilla and has scored six goals in 17 league games for the Welsh side.

Football Insider verdict

Conte is pulling a rabbit out of the hat with this deal. Llorente has had a mixed Premier League debut campaign and, at 31, appears to be a stop-gap signing at best. But the manager knows him well from their time at Juventus, where he scored 27 goals in 92 matches, and clearly regards the former Spain international as a better option than the raw Batshuayi. 

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