Chelsea won’t relent in quest to land a Serie A centre-back

Having worked so closely with one of Italy’s most celebrated cohorts of centre-backs for club and country, Antonio Conte will have developed a keen eye for the attributes which made them great.

Upon leaving his post as Azzurri manager to answer Chelsea’s call after Euro 2016, the widespread assumption was therefore that Conte would soon look to former club Juventus to provide the Blues a similar backbone.

Of the holy defensive trilogy featuring Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the focus centred on the latter, also the youngest member of Juve’s triple Scudetto-scooping defence under Conte’s stewardship.

That the Old Lady wouldn’t budge for less than £60m for the 29-year-old’s signature appears to have suspended the interest for now, although that doesn’t necessarily mean Chelsea will be denied an Italian defender altogether.

Another name bandied about the gossip columns freely this summer has since returned for another airing.

The Sun suggest that the Blues are willing to stump up a whopping £49m to tempt AC Milan into selling Alessio Romagnoli in January, after having a £35m offer rejected in the last transfer window.

At only 21, this seems like a vast sum of money, but then in just over 12 months at the San Siro the left-footed defender has drawn comparisons to legendary Milan centre-half Alessandro Nesta.

An extremely cool customer and technically excellent in possession, Romagnoli is also blessed with Nesta-esque timing in the tackle and at his tender years has already racked up 77 Serie A appearances for Roma, Sampdoria (loan) and the Rossoneri.

Chelsea are sure to have a battle on their hands to force the resurgent Italian giants to sell their most precocious talent.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.