Highly-rated centre-back rejects massive offer from Chelsea, Conte eyes new target

Sankha Ghosh / 10 August 2016

Blues boss Antonio Conte is keen to bolster the heart of his defence and has just been hit by the news that John Stones has opted to leave Everton for Manchester City in a deal worth £47.5million.

Conte will now look elsewhere, but finding the right player is proving to be easier said than done and he could also struggle to land Lindelof.

Manchester United believed to have made an approach for him last season but had it rebuffed by his club.

The 22-year-old was a revelation for Benfica as they won the title last season and his form caught the eye of Conte, who would now like him on board at Stamford Bridge.

The central defender is available for £25million but it looks as though he would prefer to stay where he is when saying: “I love Benfica, so I will stay.”

Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly and Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi also remain on Conte’s wanted list as he looks to push through a deal before the transfer window closes.

However, the Serie A giants are reluctant to let go of the Senegal centre-back despite the Stamford Bridge hierarchy reportedly being willing to spend £40m to secure his services.

And that blow has allegedly seen Conte set his sights on Lindelof instead.

From the number of positions the 21-year-old can play, it isn’t a surprise that some of the bigger clubs are out looking for him. Lindelof can play either as a centre-back or in midfield, something that Tottenham fans would be well accustomed to regarding the switch in position of Eric Dier this season.

The Swede made only 27 appearances for Benfica last season across all competition and played just 360 minutes in the league season, which states that he just might not be ready for the big time on a regular basis.

Lindelof for all his abilities would not end up going into the first team, but would be gradually brought into the side.