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Chelsea swoop in Batshuayi race; set to sign striker for $44 million

Hungary v Belgium - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - JUNE 26: Michy Batshuayi of Belgium celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Hungary and Belgium at Stadium Municipal on June 26, 2016 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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In a surprise turn of events, Chelsea are now set to sign Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi.

Only yesterday Marseille accepted a $42 million bid from Crystal Palace, but Chelsea came in with a bid of more than $44 million on Tuesday, with Batshuayi preferring a move to Stamford Bridge over Selhurst Park.

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L’Equipe is reporting that the 22-year-old will sign a five-year contract with the Blues, as The Guardian reports that he will be allowed to leave Belgium’s camp at EURO 2016 to undergo a medical in London.

The $44 million transfer fee will make Batshuayi the most expensive sale in Marseille history, surpassing Didier Drogba’s $42 million transfer in 2004, also to Chelsea. However, 35-percent of that fee will go to Standard Liege, the striker’s original club in Belgium. In 78 games with Marseille, the Belgian international has scored 33 goals.

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Both West Ham and Tottenham were also pursuing a deal with Marseille for Batshuayi, with West Ham reportedly having an agreement for $43 million just before Chelsea swooped in.

The signing would be Antonio Conte’s first as Chelsea manager and would provide immediate help to the Blues’ thin group of strikers.