Centre-back addicts Chelsea chase Lazio star in January

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It is becoming increasingly clear that Chelsea will not rest until they’ve bought the world’s supply of centre-halves, or at least been linked with them.

Blues fans couldn’t go a day over the summer without finding their club chasing a new defensive addition in gossip columns.

Eventually, Antonio Conte’s search for back-line cavalry took him to France, where David Luiz made a Deadline Day return to Stamford Bridge from Paris Saint-Germain.

Before the Brazilian international signed on the dotted line though, names like Leonardo Bonucci, Kalidou Koulibaly, Nikola Maksimovic and Alessio Romagnoli were bandied about.

Completing the car-load of potential recruits was Lazio star Stefan de Vrij, who the Daily Star believe coaxed a £30m-odd bid from the Londoners only to be rebuffed by the Biancocelesti.

Not taking no for an answer, Chelsea will return with improved terms once the January window opens for business, so the Star say.

If the 24-year-old Dutchman comes on board, it will take Conte’s centre-back tally to five and make playing a three-man back line unavoidable.

The Italian has his first big test since taking the reins at Stamford Bridge on Friday night, when Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool arrive in the capital.

With John Terry absent through injury and Luiz set to deputise, the match could convince Conte that more defensive recruits are needed.

De Vrij, who has made 30 appearances for the Netherlands since 2012, switched to Serie A from Feyenoord in 2014 but was hampered by injury for most of last season and only made two outings. He has already made three this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.