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Chelsea finally secure major deal, now need to focus on a striker

Chelsea fans would have been forgiven for breathing a huge sigh of relief yesterday as the Blues finally completed a deal to bring Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko to the club, after weeks of speculation and alleged delays in the deal.

The French international arrives at Stamford Bridge to partner compatriot N’Golo Kante and will fly out with the squad tomorrow for Chelsea’s pre-season tour in the Far East, where the Blues tackle Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

Bakayoko’s arrival strengthens Chelsea in a key area, although he doesn’t add significant depth as the impending exit of Nemanja Matic means the Blues will have around the same sort of midfield numbers as they did last season, but Antonio Conte’s summer business is far from done.

Manchester United beat Chelsea in the race to land Everton forward Romelu Lukaku and the Blues have had problems in their quest to sign a top-class midfielder to replace the ousted Diego Costa, who has been informed he’s surplus to requirements and is poised to return to Atletico Madrid.

That leaves Chelsea’s current striking options standing as just Michy Batshuayi, a player who struggled to make an impact in his debut season in the Premier League and has also seen question marks on his future fly about, and the Blues approach for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata seems complicated.

Chelsea do have alternative options though, with Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Torino’s Andrea Belotti named as potential targets, but the Blues are running out of time to get deals complicated before the start of the new season.

Any signings made now by Chelsea are unlikely to make their Blues debut until the Community Shield clash against Arsenal at the beginning of August, which comes just a week before the Blues kick-off the defence of their Premier League title at home to Burnley.

New signings won’t have an easy time settling in either as the Blues tackle last season’s Premier League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur in a huge London derby on the second weekend of the season, with games against Everton, Leicester, Arsenal, Stoke and Manchester City to follow.

Any fresh arrivals will need to hit the ground running and Chelsea will need an immediate impact from them, which means signings will have to be secured swiftly to allow them to settle into the squad and be prepared for the rigours of English football.