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Chelsea locked in transfer battle with Serie A giants for defensive ace

Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing Zenit Saint Petersburg defender Ezequiel Garay, with Antonio Conte still searching for defensive reinforcements.

The Blues have been linked with a number of defenders from around Europe since the end of last season, even though John Terry eventually signed a contract extension.

Incoming boss Conte is clearly keen to add quality and depth in that area of his squad, with Garay emerging as a solid yet cheaper option to other targets who Chelsea have failed to agree terms with.

According to Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianlucia Di Marzio, the Blues and Inter are now set to square off for the 29-year-old’s signature, as he continues to be linked with an exit from Zenit.

It is claimed that he could cost around £8m, and given his experience, both at club and international level, that could well be a wise move for Conte ahead of his first year in England.

The Italian tactician has proven with the Azzurri at Euro 2016 this month that a lack of star names doesn’t necessarily hold him back from being successful.

As proven during his time with Juventus in particular, he is tactically astute and makes the most of what he has at his disposal, and if he fails in his big-money bids to sign the top players in Europe, he’ll certainly be confident of still being successful without them.

It could be tough to compete with Inter though, as the Nerazzurri confirmed on Tuesday that the Suning Group had bought a 68.55 per cent stake in the club and are ready to invest significantly in the squad.

That in turn means Roberto Mancini will have money to spend, and finances to offer attractive contract proposals to targets.

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