Chelsea have now turned their focus on Stefan de Vrij after failing to complete a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Neil Moxley of Sunday People.
The Dutch defender is next on Conte’s top-priority list as their battle to sign the big Napoli defender has stalled. Former Manchester United manager van Gaal also scouted the defender over the past two transfer windows.
Lazio wants to offload De Vrij for around £15million, and that seems better value than fellow centre-half Koulibaly, who is also chased by Everton.
Chelsea, who have been in discussions with Napoli since the end of last season, are growing frustrated with the amount of cash being asked for the 25-year-old Koulibaly has rocketed to over £45m.
So De Vrij – who has worked his way back to full fitness following a knee injury – has come into contention.
Chelsea will press ahead quickly, and the Rome outfits are not in as strong a position financially to reject a cash offer from Roman Abramovich.
As far as his playing style goes, De Vrij has very much earned a reputation of being a reliable Centre back who can also fill in at Right back if needed. He’s incredibly composed with the ball at his feet and is a fine passer too as he often likes to switch play from one end to the other.
At 6’2 , he stands as an imposing presence at the back and wins a high percentage of headers in his own half. He’s remarkably good at dealing with teams who press high up the pitch and often brings the ball out of defence on his own in a serene way.
Tackling is an area De Vrij excels at. He’s a classic no-nonsense old school tough tackler who shines out in one on one situations. Moreover, De Vrij is blessed with great positional sense as he has a tendency to be in the right place at the right time in the penalty box when it comes to clearing crosses put in the box, be it at ground , or in the air. This is one his biggest assets.