CHELSEA'S move for Kai Havertz may be edging closer after Bayer Leverkusen reportedly stepped up their interest in a replacement.
Roma forward Patrik Schick has become the subject of a transfer battle between the Bundesliga club and RB Leipzig.
After spending last season on loan at the Champions League semi-finalists, the 24-year-old striker is wanted for a permanent switch.
A price tag of £22.5million has been set by Roma, according to Sky Sports Germany, with Leverkusen also taking a keen interest.
Czech international Schick scored ten goals for Leipzig in 2019/20, coming off the bench in Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.
Should Leverkusen jump ahead of their German rivals for his signature, he could help assuage the loss of Havertz.
Chelsea remain determined to sign the 21-year-old star but are thought to be trying to negotiate down his transfer fee.
Reports in Germany suggest a bid of £72m is on the table yet Bayer are determined to stick to their £90m price tag.
Sporting director Rudi Voller has warned the Blues that there will be no coronavirus discount on the attacking midfielder.
He stated earlier in the month: "We know of the interest of a couple of clubs, especially Chelsea.
"But for us, the situation is quite simple; he has a two-year contract, if anyone wants him on our terms, fine, otherwise he stays here another year and we are happy."
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However, Havertz is said to desire a move with Chelsea able to offer Champions League football and a healthy wage.
A deadline of August 28 has reportedly been set by Leverkusen to complete the sale before pre-season training begins.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are described as likely to come in for Havertz next summer should Chelsea fail to buy him now, by which time his fee may be substantially lower ahead of his contract expiring in 2022.
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