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Chelsea trying to sign Assane Diao after ‘speaking to La Liga star’s family’

Chelsea have joined the race to sign Real Betis youngster Assane Diao after speaking to his family about a potential move to Stamford Bridge, according to reports. Diao has been attracting attention due to his impressive displays so far this season, with the 18-year-old having scored two goals in seven La Liga appearances.

Diao’s strong performances for Betis have reportedly piqued Chelsea’s interest, with the Blues said to be keen on bringing him to west London in the near future. They have already discussed the possibility of a move with his family, according to Estadio Deportivo, who claim that his agent has also been involved in the preliminary talks.

The report adds that Betis are trying to increase Diao’s release clause, which currently stands at £30million, in anticipation of clubs firming up their interest in January. Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester United have also been credited with a desire to land the winger, which could see a bidding war take shape if he ends up signing a new deal over the next few weeks.

Chelsea have moved for a large number of high-potential players since Todd Boehly took over from Roman Abramovich as the club’s owner last year. The likes of David Datro Fofana, Lesley Ugochukwu and Carney Chukwuemeka have all been signed with a view to the future and Diao could seemingly be the next young star to join if things go well over the coming months.

He would almost certainly need to go out on loan to develop into a first-team player at Chelsea, with several of their existing stars likely to be ahead of him in the pecking order. Cole Palmer has nailed down his spot on the right flank in recent weeks, while Raheem Sterling, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Noni Madueke have also featured regularly since their respective arrivals.

It remains to be seen whether Diao will end up leaving Betis in January or at the end of the season, with the Spanish club determined to recoup a hefty fee in exchange for their teenage starlet. Academy director Miguel Calzado has already underlined his belief that Diao will only keep getting better if he continues to develop at his current rate in the years to come.

“He’s a player with huge growth potential, that’s clear to see from his first matches with Betis,” said Calzado in an interview with El Desmarque. “We could see it when he was in the academy, too. He learns very quickly.”

Diao was also recently hailed by former Real Betis captain Joaquin, who said: “He’s young and we have to give him time, we don’t have to put pressure on him. He is doing things very well, Manuel Pellegrini is counting on him and he is feeling comfortable. That is the way, because with the important projection that he is having, we have to free him in every way.”

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