Antonio Conte is reportedly keen to shore up the Chelsea backline following the club’s leakiest Premier League campaign since 1997, and reports suggest the Italian boss has his sights firmly set on Valencia centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.
The tough-but-talented defender has impressed during two impressive years at the Mestalla, helping Los Che secure Champions League football with a top-four finish in 2014-15.
And the 24-year-old’s stock has continued to rise, with individual displays like his outstanding performance in last season’s 2-1 win at Barcelona in La Liga, and a superb goal and overall offering in Germany’s defeat of Ukraine at Euro 2016.
Snapping up a centre back of Mustafi’s quality would certainly be smart business from the Blues, with John Terry some way past his invincible best and Kurt Zouma likely to be eased back into first-team action, having been ruled out with a cruciate ligament rupture since February.
There’s also the benefit of the Bad Hersfeld native having prior experience of life in English football, having come through the Everton academy and tasted first-team football with the Toffees in 2009 – so chances are he’d need little time to adapt at Chelsea.
The Blues are currently 11/2 third-favourites to lift this season’s Premier League title, but drafting in a talented defender who can tighten their leaky backline could well see the west London outfit’s odds of title glory tumble.
They begin the season by welcoming West Ham to Stamford Bridge, with 3/5 for Chelsea to win – a result which would continue their 11-game unbeaten home streak against the Irons.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing