Chelsea are in pole position to sign centre-back Nikola Maksimovic who is growing increasingly frustrated with life at Torino, according to latest reports in Italy.
Maksimovic has made 76 appearances for Torino since making his debut for the Serie A outfit back in 2013 but the 24-year-old is now being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
The exciting defender was also scouted by Manchester United previously but the Old Trafford outfits failed to strike a deal after few ambitious attempts.
Now Gazzetta dello Sport suggests the Blues are ‘in the front row’ for the Serbian defender after he skipped training with his current club recently.
It’s understood Maksimovic has switched his mobile phone off, halting all contact with Torino, after the Italian club blocked an imminent move to rivals, Napoli.
Chelsea have made several offers for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and it’s now believed the Premier League giants could go straight for their target Maksimovic instead.
The Torino defender has drawn comparisons with compatriot Nemanja Vidic and it’s easy to see why: his physicality and comfort on the ball ensure the similarities don’t end at nationality. Maksimovic could even claim to have the upper hand over his celebrated countryman, having settled in Serie A with far more ease than Vidic did during his injury-plagued spell at Inter.
Maksimovic is a battler, just like the Manchester United icon was, and his experience of playing in midfield means he has the technical ability required to excel at the top level.
His aforementioned technical skills are an asset, as Maksimovic is often seeing carrying the ball dangerously out of defense to unsettle opposition defenses that generally don’t expect to see a roaming centre-back coming in their direction.
At 6ft 3in, the Serb is a strong physical presence and always lets his marker know they’re in a game. His anticipation is excellent too: statistics show he makes an average of 4.1 interceptions a game, and 2.5 tackles.
He also has a decent turn of pace for a man of his size and can pick his passes well – he has hit the target with 84% of his balls last season.