Aston Villa are ready to spend up to £40million to take Tammy Abraham from Chelsea.
The 23-year-old striker has been told he is free to leave Stamford Bridge as he does not feature in Thomas Tuchel’s long-term plans.
And that has opened the door for Villa boss Dean Smith, under whom Abraham had a successful loan spell three seasons ago.
Abraham’s goals helped Villa win promotion back to the Premier League via the Championship play-off final and his return would be welcomed with open arms by supporters.
Also by Smith, who wants to get his transfer business wrapped up early this summer to give himself as much time as possible to work with his squad.
As such, Chelsea are expecting a bid imminently.
Crystal Palace and West Ham have both been credited with an interest in the player, although Hammers boss David Moyes made it clear early on that Chelsea’s valuation of Abraham would likely prove prohibitive.
The fee is not a problem for Villa’s wealthy owners who have money to spend with or without the potential £100m Manchester City want to give them for Jack Grealish.
And, with Abraham open to a move back to the West Midlands, they are ready to pounce.
Abraham, who has been capped six times by England, would become Villa’s record signing, breaking the current £34.5m record they paid Norwich this summer for Emi Buendia.
Villa have signalled their ambitions already this summer by making an audacious bid for Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe.
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The approach was politely turned down by the Gunners, who have no intentions of selling the midfielder, but it is a sure sign of intent from Smith that his side mean business next season.
Losing Grealish would be a bitter blow to their chances, though the club are confident they can ward off the advances of Man City, despite their captain’s desires to play in the Champions League.
The 25-year-old only signed a new five-year contract with his boyhood club last September but Villa are planning on opening fresh talks to boost his salary again in a bid to convince him to stay.
Villa have already sealed the return of former England international Ashley Young on a one-year deal which will add some welcome experience to Smith’s squad.
Speaking in June, Smith outlined a clear strategy by the club in their dealings this summer, stating: “In terms of our recruitment, we talk about the sweet spots that we’re looking for, which is that the players have Premier League experience and are [ideally] British because there is no adaptation risk at all.
“Then you’re looking at experience of the top-five leagues. That’s the kind of process we got through when we’re looking to recruit.”