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Chelsea push to hijack £26m transfer of most realistic target, £20m ace set for axe

Chelsea are reportedly considering making a fresh move for Roma defender Kostas Manolas as his move to Zenit looks to have hit the rocks.

The 26-year-old looked set to secure his switch to the Russian outfit in a £26m move this week, as noted by the Evening Standard, but due to late interest from Chelsea, it appears as though he’s backed out of the move.

It makes sense from a Chelsea perspective given that it’s unlikely they’ll be able to land top targets such as Leonardo Bonucci and Virgil van Dijk due to a combination of price-tags and an unwillingness to sell on the part of their current clubs.

In turn, swooping for Manolas would be the best option, especially now if they can convince him to snub Zenit, who will undoubtedly be left far from impressed, and move to Stamford Bridge instead.

In many ways, it makes much more sense for the Greek international too. Given his quality and consistency in Serie A over the last three years since his arrival from Olympiacos, it would be a shame to see him go play in Russia.

His attributes make him an ideal signing for a Premier League side, and it appears as though Conte has seen that just in time, although they’ll surely have to work fast now to ensure he moves to London this summer instead.

Meanwhile, the Standard also confirm Nathan Ake is flying back to England to compete his switch from Chelsea to Bournemouth in a £20m deal, and so it’s good business all round from the Premier League champions who need defensive reinforcements.

Ake will likely welcome the move too as his lack of first-team football in west London would undoubtedly have been a source of real frustration, while he returns to work with Eddie Howe after an impressive spell together in the first half of the campaign last year.

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