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Lewandowski holds key to Blues move for Leverkusen striker

Chelsea are hoping to beat Bayern Munich to the signature of Robert Lewandowski as owner Roman Abramovich steps up his pursuit of new striker.

Strengthening the attacking arsenal at Stamford Bridge is priority number one for the Russian oligarch after he seized control of the clubs summer recruitment plans until a new manager, thought to be Jose Mourinho, is appointed to fill the void left by interim boss Rafael Benitez.

Abramovich has identified several potential targets from his shortlist that will come under consideration. Atletico Madrid’s prolific front man Radamel Falcao is thought to be at the fulcrum of his focus alongside Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, with both expected to depart their respective clubs before the start of next season.

However, it now seems unlikely that the pair will pitch up in west London after Falcao moved a step closer to becoming the next big money recruit for Monaco. The Colombian is set to undergo a medical at the French club before tying up a €60 million (£51m) deal that will see him join recent recruits Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez, who were signed for a combined £60m from Porto last week.

Cavani, meanwhile, is being chased by Premier League rivals Manchester City and they are hoping to conclude a swap deal for the 26-year-old Uruguay international that will see Edin Dzeko move in the opposite direction to Naples.

Losing out on his two primary targets has forced Abramovich to switch his attention further afield and he is now reported to be plotting a daring bid to snatch Lewandowsi from Bayern’s clutches as the Poland international prepares to leave Borussia Dortmund.

The newly-crowned Champions League winners beat Dortmund in Saturday’s final at Wembley and are leading the procession of clubs hoping to sign the 24-year-old, who appears to have played his last game for the Jurgen Klopp’s side and is attracting interest from clubs around Europe.

Dortmund, however, are hesitant to do business with their Bundesliga rivals following the defection of star midfielder Mario Gotze to the Allianz Arena last month after Bayern activated his €37 million (£31.5m) release clause, and would prefer to sell Lewandowski to Chelsea.

The Blues also hold a trump card over their German counterparts as they are willing offer striker Romelu Lukaku and winger Kevin de Bruyne to Dortmund on loan for the season to ease the blow of losing Lewandowski and Gotze in quick succession.

But, should De Bruyne agree to make the move to the Westfalenstadion it would scupper Chelsea’s move for Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle.

The deal for the talented 22-year-old is already at an advanced stage to the point where terms have been agreed with the player and a fee has been settled with Leverkusen with the stipulation that De Bruyne makes the switch to Germany in exchange.

But with Chelsea now focusing their efforts on signing Lewandowski, and offering Lukaku and De Bruyne to Dortmund, the transfer is now on hold until an agreement is reached for the former Lech Poznan hit man.

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