CHELSEA are ready to slash their asking price for unwanted midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The French international has been told he has no future at Stamford Bridge after spending the past two seasons out on loan.
Now Chelsea are trying to strike a cut-price £20million deal with AC Milan to take him off their hands for good.
Bakayoko, 25, cost Chelsea £40m when they bought him from Monaco three years ago as Antonio Conte’s first signing for the club.
But he struggled to cope with the pace and intensity of the Premier League and was allowed to join AC Milan on loan after just one season when Maurizio Sarri replaced Conte in 2018.
The Italians paid a £4.5m loan fee but decided not to trigger the option of a permanent £32million signing at the end last season.
And though Sarri was quickly replaced as Blues boss by Frank Lampard, there was still no room for Bakayoko in Chelsea’s plans.
He was sent back to former club Monaco on another season-long loan.
But the player once again failed to impress and Monaco have now passed on the opportunity to re-sign the defensive midfielder for an agreed fee of £37.5m.
Now he is back at Stamford Bridge, but with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Matteo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Billy Gilmour all competing for a place in central midfield he knows that he is surplus to requirements.
He still has two years of his £100,000-a-week contract to run.
But he has indicated that he would be willing to take a pay cut to help accelerate his departure before the new season starts next month.
And fallen giants Milan are ready to throw him a lifeline after securing Europa League qualification with a 12-match unbeaten run under new boss Stefano Pioli.
It is understood that Milan are preparing a £13.5m bid, which is some way short of Chelsea’s valuation.
But the Blues have already spent £84.5m to sign Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
They are closing in on Bayer Leverkusen forward Kai Havertz, too - who could cost them as much as £90million.
Now Milan are banking on Chelsea settling on a compromise figure of around £15m just to get Bakayoko off their bloated wage bill.