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Antonio Conte dealt transfer blow as defender rules out reunion at Chelsea

Juventus ace Leonardo Bonucci has rejected interest from Chelsea despite the chance of potentially working with Antonio Conte again.

As reported by The Express earlier this month, the Italy boss has already agreed a deal to take over at Stamford Bridge in the summer, with his contract with the FIGC set to expire after Euro 2016.

While there has yet to be an official announcement on his future with regards to the Blues, it hasn’t prevented speculation from linking various players with a move to join him in west London.

Bonucci had been tipped to be one of those individuals, but the Italian international seemingly ruled out the possibility.

“He’s the coach who took me onto the next level, right from the day he arrived at Juve,” Bonucci said in a press conference, as reported by The Mirror.

“We had a few disagreements at the very start, partly because I wasn’t in good shape, but he taught me a lot on a tactical level. If I am one of the best today, part of that is down to him.

“The most I’ve followed him to is to get a coffee. I don’t know what the boss will do, but I’ve signed a renewal with Juventus and they are all I am thinking about.”

Bonucci signed a new deal with the Turin giants in July last year, which will keep him with the club until 2020. After three years with Conte with the Bianconeri, the pair continue to work together in the national team set up, but it doesn’t appear as though he has any intention of making their meetings a more regular occurrence.

It will certainly be a blow for Conte as one of the first areas he may have to strengthen upon arrival at Chelsea is the defence, with John Terry’s contract set to expire this summer.

The veteran defender has been a highly influential figure for the reigning Premier League champions for over a decade, and although the door remains ajar for a new agreement, there has yet to be much progress.

In turn, Conte will have to identify a replacement capable of filling those big shoes that Terry will leave behind, and Bonucci would arguably have been an ideal successor. However, that search looks as though it will have to continue, although the priority for Chelsea will be to firstly ensure that Conte signs a contract to join them after Euro 2016.

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