CHELSEA are set to complete the £23million signing of Matias Vecino in the summer, according to reports.
The Blues had their transfer ban lifted ahead of the January window – but boss Frank Lampard was left frustrated as no new arrivals came in.
Now, though, the West London club are already working on getting plenty of deals done for when the window re-opens in the summer.
According to the Sunday Express, Inter Milan midfielder Vecino is high on the list.
It is understood Antonio Conte is willing to let the Uruguayan go in order to help fund his own summer business.
Vecino, 28, started his professional career at Central Espanol and Nacional in his homeland before making the switch to Italy in 2013 when he signed for Fiorentina.
Vecino called the switch a dream come true. For many a player that is a simple platitude but for a player with Italian ancestry he appeared genuinely excited by the prospect of moving to Europe.
He said: “I have Italian origins and hope to soon register an Italian passport, even if I don’t speak the language well yet.
“Alvaro Recoba told me about Italian football and said Florence is a beautiful city. From what I’ve seen so far, it really is a place where you can live well.”
First-team football during his first year with La Viola was scarce. He made just seven appearances and spent the second half of the 2013/14 campaign on loan at Cagliari.
In the summer of 2014 came a turning point. Vecino joined Empoli on loan for the season and, under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri, established himself as an accomplished box-to-box midfielder.
He made 38 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice and assisting a further four goals, to convince Fiorentina to give him a chance in their side on his return to the club.
From that point Vecino hasn’t looked back. He became a key player for Fiorentina and received admiring glances from several different clubs – and in 2017 he joined Inter, where he is closing in on 100 appearances.
This season he has been a regular in midfield and netted three goals, including crucial strikes against Hellas Verona and rivals AC Milan.
However, he has always been interested in testing himself in the Premier League and that looks as though it could be his next step.
But now the reports suggest he is on course to link up with Lampard at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have already secured Hakim Ziyech from Ajax for next season for £37m – and the manager is understandably delighted to land a key talent.
Lampard said: “He first came to my attention watching him play in Ajax’s Champions League run last year and I thought he was one of their standout players, particularly in the games against Tottenham.
“This season, we’ve come up against him twice so I know a lot about him. He has a great left foot, plays generally off the right-hand side but can play in behind the frontman as well.
“When you look at us this season, there have been games where we’ve maybe struggled to unlock the door and he’s certainly a player who we hope can bring that bit of creativity.
“He will be something different for us so we’re excited. I know he’s not coming in now but I think it’s exciting for us as a club and for the fans to know that he’ll be here next year.”