Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is reportedly urging the club to sign either Leonardo Bonucci or Virgil van Dijk this summer to bolster his defence.
Despite winning the Premier League title in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, the Italian tactician is seemingly far from satisfied with the squad at his disposal.
That’s more than fair given that he now has to prepare them for the club’s return to the Champions League, and he’s right to expect reinforcements this summer.
According to The Guardian, he’s not just after adding numbers though, as he wants either Juventus stalwart Bonucci or unsettled Southampton defender Van Dijk to be his marquee signing in that area of the squad.
Chelsea conceded 33 goals in 38 league games last season, enough to give them the third best defensive record in the top flight. Conte will know that improvements will be necessary especially in Europe, and he’s certainly looking in the right direction.
However, prising one of those two away from their current clubs will be the problem. Given that Bonucci is expected to cost around £50m, as per the report, that makes that deal highly unlikely given he’s 30 years of age and that would represent a departure from Chelsea on their usual transfer strategy.
Further, having seen Liverpool forced to give up their pursuit of Van Dijk, is it really sensible to pursue the Dutch international when the Saints are seemingly unmoved on their stance that he won’t be sold?
While he seems the more likely option at this stage, it’s anything but a straightforward pursuit, and so Conte may well be left disappointed and frustrated in that regard as he’ll have to focus his attention on different targets it seems.