Chelsea are ready to up the ante in their bid to sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele.
Dembele has emerged as a major transfer target for the Blues this month as they get ready to splash the cash again.
Chelsea are free to spend after seeing a ban on new additions lifted – and Frank Lampard ’s side are prioritising getting a striker on board.
They’ve seen a £34m bid turned down for ex-Celtic and Fulham frontman Dembele but are prepared to again despite Lyon publicly insisting their man is going nowhere.
A cash-plus-player deal involving Olivier Giroud has been mooted, and that could now be their best chance of getting a transfer over the line.
Ian McGarry said on the latest episode of Reach plc’s Transfer Window Podcast : “My information is Chelsea are willing to increase their bid from €40m (£34m).
“It seems the Giroud option is still open, but not necessarily a game-breaker in terms of the transfer itself – Lyon would accept just cash only for Dembele.
“I think Chelsea would be willing to go up to €50m (£43m) for the player Lyon bought for £23m from Celtic two years ago.”
Moussa Dembele is a top transfer target for Chelsea
McGarry added: “Chelsea’s absolute priority is signing a centre-forward.
“The sticking point here is Dembele, at 23, feels he needs to go to a club where he’ll play and get game-time.
“And obviously Tammy Abraham is a favourite of Frank Lampard. And he would have to prove himself and take over that spot.”
Chelsea boss Lampard was grilled about his transfer plans at the end of last year.
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“I know we haven’t done anything yet so there is no proof in that but we are joined up.
“I have very close conversations with Marina [Granovskaia, the director], Petr Cech [the technical and performance adviser] and Scott [McLachlan], who is the head of our recruitment…