Chelsea step up bid to sign Roma pair Dzeko and Palmieri

Antonio Conte keen to add to his side’s strikeforce for the second half of the season

Chelsea will step up their pursuit of the AS Roma pair Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri today in the hope of persuading the Serie A club to sell the two players for a combined €50 million (£44m). Roma are holding out for £44m plus £13.2m in add-ons.

Initial talks were held between the two clubs last week and will resume today following the Italian side's game with Internazionale last night.

Chelsea are reluctant to agree to a potential £57.2m (€64 million) outlay but are confident that a deal can be reached.

The English Premier League champions made an inquiry for West Ham's Andy Carroll this month only for the striker to injure an ankle. Antonio Conte is an admirer of Dzeko, who scored twice against Chelsea this season as Roma drew 3-3 at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, and is desperate to add to his strikeforce for the second half of the season.

Dzeko, who played for Manchester City between 2011 and 2016 before joining the Italian club, won the Serie A Golden Boot last season and has nine goals in 19 games this campaign.

The 31-year-old Bosnian has indicated he is keen to join Conte's side, as has Palmieri. The Italian champions, Juventus, are also interested in signing the 23-year-old Brazilian left-back. Chelsea have offered Michy Batshuayi on loan as part of the deal but Roma are exploring other possibilities to replace Dzeko should he leave in this window.

Borussia Dortmund, however, view Batshuayi as a possible replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if the Gabon international joins Arsenal.

– Guardian