Chelsea will reportedly be forced to give up their pursuit of Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, and instead will focus on Virgil van Dijk.
Given the close relationship that he would have built up with Bonucci during their time together at Juventus and with Italy, it’s no surprise that speculation continuously linked Conte with a reunion.
Combine that with the fact that the Italian international and defensive stalwart remains one of the best in his position in Europe, he would have been the ideal addition to further solidify the Chelsea backline.
However, according to the Evening Standard, Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri has ruled out the chance of seeing the 30-year-old leave Turin this summer, and hinted at the likelihood that he will take the captain’s armband from Gianluigi Buffon when the legendary goalkeeper calls time on his playing career.
As for Chelsea, that presents them with a problem as to who they should sign instead to bolster their backline, with the report going on to suggest that Southampton ace Van Dijk will now be the subject of their focus, despite the fact that the Saints are valuing him at £70m.
Following the controversy with Liverpool and the complaint lodged against them for tapping up the Dutch international, Jurgen Klopp is no longer considered competition for Van Dijk’s signature. In turn, that should open up a window of opportunity for Conte and Chelsea, but it remains to be seen whether or not they have the summer budget to include such a signing.
The Evening Standard add that Alex Sandro and Romelu Lukaku are also on the transfer shortlist for the Premier League champions, which could be a combined £161m. Adding another £70m on top of that for Van Dijk coupled with Tiemoue Bakayoko who is expected to sign this week, and it’s starting to stack up.