Chelsea are lining up a late move for Lazio centre-back Stefan De Vrij as Antonio Conte looks to bring in two new defenders during the closing stages of this transfer window, according to the Mirror.
Conte has signed just two players since arriving in west London with midfielder N’Golo Kante and striker Michy Batshuayi being signed last month but the Italian tactician has admitted he needs to further strengthen his squad over the next 18 hours.
Defence is a particular area of concern as Chelsea have had just four senior defenders available for selection during their opening four games this season with youngster Ola Aina drafted into the squad as cover.
Kurt Zouma is on the road to recovery following a serious knee injury and there have been talks of a potential loan move to Germany but Conte is expected to veto that idea as the last thing he needs is to lose another defender.
The former Juventus coach has been linked with moves for a number of centre-backs in recent weeks but the Mirror claim that after struggling to agree on deals for AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, the Blues have now set their sights on De Vrij.
The 24-year-old has been capped 30 times by the Dutch national team and has been one of the most consistent defenders in Serie A since joining Lazio from Feyenoord in the summer of 2014.
The newspaper doesn’t indicate any potential fee for De Vrij but he should cost significantly less than Chelsea have already bid for the likes of Koulibaly and Romagnoli so his purchase would leave Conte with plenty of funds left over to sign the second defender he desperately wants.
And while the Blues boss is continuing to struggle in his search for a centre-back, it seems he’s had more luck finding a new full-back as the Mirror claim that Chelsea are expected to complete a £23m move for Fiorentina’s Marcos Alonso.
The 25-year-old has been strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent days and he’d bring versatility to the Chelsea squad as he’s able to play as a defensive midfielder as well as in his primary left-back position.
If Conte can get the deal over the line before tomorrow night’s deadline, it would allow Cesar Azpilicueta to move to right-back, freeing up Branislav Ivanovic to play a more central role if needed.
So it looks like it’s going to be a busy few days in west London as Conte looks to bring in two new defenders before the transfer window slams shut until January.