Chelsea: £35m move for German; Romagnoli talks Chelsea; defender returns from injury
As Antonio Conte continues to implement his new system to devastating effect, he is believed to have identified Germany and Roma defender Antonio Rudger as an addition. The central defender is valued at £35 million by his club according to the Daily Mail and is currently on the comeback trail after a cruciate ligament injury cost him a place in his national team squad at Euro 2016 and seen him miss the opening weeks of the season.
Both Manchester clubs are also reportedly monitoring the situation of Rudiger, who is believed to be open to the move as Roma consider cashing in on their 23-year-old asset despite being reluctant to weaken their team in such a way.
Another target from Italy is Alessio Romagnoli, the AC Milan defender who was subject to bids from the club in the summer with more offers expected in January, but the 22-year-old appears to have cast doubt over the move as he told Mediaset Premium:
“I am happy at Milan and in Italy, so I hope to remain here.”
Romagnoli is believed to be Conte’s first choice central defender as he seeks to find long term solutions to the central defender position with the likes of John Terry and Gary Cahill already past their best and nearing what is likely to be the end of their Stamford Bridge careers. Milan are stubborn in their refusal to part with the recent Italy debutant and it will be a blow that the player seems unlikely to demand the move.
However, Conte could soon have a solution from within as Kurt Zouma played 45 minutes for the Chelsea under 23s side last night after eight months out with a knee injury suffered against Manchester United last season. Zouma came through the clash unscathed and is now expected to join first team training next week as he continues to rebuild his fitness.
It seems that a challenge to any of the current back three is still a few weeks away, but it will be a huge relief for Conte to finally have such a wealth of defensive options available to him after being stuck with just David Luiz and Gary Cahill with John Terry also sidelined with his own ankle injury.
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