Chelsea counter Nainggolan snub by turning focus to Roma teammate

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Chelsea to win Premier League: 2016-17

With Radja Nainggolan pledging his allegiance to AS Roma, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has shifted his focus to the Belgian’s teammate at I Lupi, the highly-rated Alessandro Florenzi.

The 25-year-old netted eight times for the Italian outfit last season, including a memorable equaliser against Barcelona in the Champions League. Florenzi was also a regular assist provider, with the versatile Rome native switching between right-back and his more natural central midfield position.

Having come through the youth ranks at Roma, the former Crotone loanee has seen his value increase year on year, with respected website Transfermarkt.co.uk now valuing the player at £17m, a £5.9m increase from his figure for summer 2014.

And new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been a clear admirer of Florenzi for some time, having started him in four of Italy’s five Euro 2016 fixtures, as well as featuring him six of their qualifying games en route to France – all six of which they won.

Conte would also benefit from having a player who can slot into a full-back position so easily. The 53 goals the Blues shipped in the Premier League last season was their highest total leaked since 1996-97, meaning the new gaffer would be wise to snap up a man who can also help shore up their backline.

Chelsea are 11/2 third-favourites to take the league title next season, though if they can bring in a player of Florenzi’s skill and versatility, those odds could be set to tumble significantly.

The Blues begin their title tilt at home to West Ham, where it’s 8/13 that they bring cheer to the Stamford Bridge faithful with a victory – but will they do so with this Italian ace in their ranks?.

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