Chelsea lodge £34m bid for top defensive target as Antonio Conte’s pursuit continues

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Chelsea have reportedly made a bid worth £34m for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, with Antonio Conte desperate to sign him.

The Italian tactician will begin work at Stamford Bridge next week, and ahead of his first campaign in charge, he will hope to bring in further reinforcements.

Among that group of potential new arrivals will be a new defender, and according to The Telegraph, Koulibaly is emerging as the top candidate.

As noted in the report, having seemingly failed in their pursuit of Juventus ace Leonardo Bonucci, Conte has been forced to switch his focus elsewhere and that has taken him to Naples.

The former Italy coach is more hopeful of signing the Napoli star, and it is added that the deal would be structured with an initial transfer fee of £31.5m with a further £2.5m in bonuses.

While the 25-year-old was one of Napoli’s top performers last season, The Telegraph note that the club have insisted throughout the summer that despite tension over contract talks, they have no intention of allowing the Senegalese international leave.

In turn, it could be a difficult negotiation for Chelsea, and Conte will be wary of losing more time with pre-season fast approaching.

The Blues have already secured John Terry’s future with an extension, and although the likes of Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma will hope to play an influential role next season, speculation is evidently suggesting that Conte wants to bring in his own players in that department.

Following a turbulent season last year, the 46-year-old will be under immediate pressure to deliver, and so it’s no surprise that he wants to stamp his mark on the squad and bring in players that he believes he can rely upon moving forward.

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