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Chelsea set for transfer battle with Barcelona over 22-year-old international to solve defensive issue

Chelsea have reportedly been joined by Barcelona in the hunt to sign talented Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo from Valencia.

Sport have linked the Premier League outfit with making a move as they look to find a long-term replacement for Branislav Ivanovic as the Blues stalwart looks set to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.

Cancelo would certainly fit the bill in that regard and Antonio Conte is still looking to add the missing pieces to perfect his 3-4-3 system.

However, according to Mundo Deportivo, it’s going to be difficult for the Italian tactician to get the deal over the line with Barcelona now also looking at Cancelo as a solution to their issues at right-back.

Aleix Vidal is set to leave the club, as noted in the report, and Barca have ultimately struggled to find the right long-term solution to Dani Alves.

The Catalan giants have accepted that it will be difficult to prise him away from their La Liga rivals in January, and so a summer assault looks more likely with Chelsea also given time to assess the market and prepare their bid for the talented defender.

Having left Benfica for Spain two years ago, Cancelo has established himself as a key fixture in the Valencia line-up and has broken into the Portugal team too as he continues an impressive ascent for both club and country.

A move to a major club such as Barca or Chelsea will undoubtedly help him take that next step up, but it remains to be seen where his future lies as the two clubs will have to battle each other it seems to solve their respective problems in that area of the pitch.

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