Foxes overtake Chelsea in race for £8m Croatia striker Kramaric

Frank Dalleres
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Kramaric has scored two goals in four appearances for Croatia
TABLE-TOPPING Chelsea are poised to lose out to Premier League basement-dwellers Leicester in the race to sign of one of Europe’s hottest properties, Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric.

The Blues had looked set to land Kramaric, who has scored 28 in 31 games for Rijeka this season, for around £8m in the January transfer window with a view to loaning him out immediately.

Leicester were mooted as the recipients, but Premier League rules prohibit clubs from signing players and then loaning them out to top-flight rivals during the same window.

Dutch side Vitesse, who enjoy a close relationship with Chelsea and have three Blues stars on loan already, were another possible destination, but Kramaric, 23, is thought keen to move to English football now.

Goal-shy Leicester are believed to have offered Rijeka £7m upfront with a potential further £2.5m in performance-related fees. Kramaric has scored two goals in four international appearances.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are thought to have consulted the architects behind Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium as they explore options for redeveloping Stamford Bridge. Swiss-based firm Herzog and de Meuron also designed Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, which features distinctive colour-changing panels all around its exterior.