The Blues have have held talks with French club Lille over the signing of France Under-21 international Boubakary Soumare but no decision is expected to be made before Lille play Paris-Saint-Germain on January 26.

ESPN’s French football analyst Jonathan Johnson has provided an insight into why Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is keen on signing Soumare.

Speaking to Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk Podcast, Johnson said: “The main reason why Boubakary Soumare is interesting clubs, not just in the Premier League, is that fact that he is performing well in Ligue 1 – traditionally known as somewhere where you can source good, young affordable talent. Players the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea could add value to.

“The thing that helps a lot with Soumare is that he plays in quite an unfashionable position. Defensive midfield is not one of those positions where too many players across Europe stand out, and for this reason he has managed to stand out.

“If you think of the top defensive midfielders in European football – N’Golo Kante who is already at Chelsea, the likes of Idrissa Gueye who of course spent time in the Premier League – there are not many others who you could say are really top class defensive-minded midfielders. Soumare has the makings of being a very, very good one.

“I’ve seen him being talked about as perhaps adding some attacking prowess to a team – I don’t see him as that kind of player, I don’t think he has that creativity or goal threat.

“He is surprisingly technical and is a good passer of the ball. He’s also physical and gets stuck in, that does result in yellow and red cards from time to time. He is somebody that would add a lot of mettle to a club’s midfield, that’s why you have these clubs after him. The idea that he is a deep-lying midfielder is not correct. He’s more of a defensive midfielder.”

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