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Chelsea: Conte gives transfer update; Spanish defender targeted; Lazio man considered

Antonio Conte spoke after yesterday’s impressive victory over Burnley to provide an update on transfers as the deadline nears and additions still to be made. Conte has made no secret that he wants to at least add more depth to the defence of his squad, with a number of targets emerging in the media. He confirmed that the club is still working on deals, saying:

“The club and I are working very hard every day to find the right solution in transfer market because we all know that this transfer market is very crazy.”

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It has clearly been a difficult transfer window for the passionate Italian, and perhaps the most frustrating that Roman Abramovich has endured since his arrival at the club, with Conte having to abandon plans to add another striker to his squad as transfer fee inflation and the lack of European football at Stamford Bridge have proved to be difficult obstacles in their pursuit of key targets, such as Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku upfront, with Kalidou Koulibaly among the defenders to have not been allowed to talk to the club by their current sides.

One new name on Chelsea’s radar according to reports in the Mirror is Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso. The Blues have also considered offers for Cologne’s Hector Jonas and Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez, but the cheaper option at £17 million is Marcos Alonso and the former Bolton loanee is Conte’s preferred choice having monitored his progress over the past few years in Serie A.

Having proved himself at Fiorentina since returning from a loan spell with Sunderland in 2013/14, the 25-year-old would provide competition for Cesar Azpilicueta, and would also allow his fellow Spaniard to step in at right-back if needs be. The Real Madrid youth product is undoubtedly a quality player, but most Chelsea fans would probably be disappointed with the deal, having been linked with players from the very top level. This deal in itself may be symbolic of the readjustment of expectations in the transfer market as the club fails to compete with clubs on the European stage this season.

Another new target could emerge in central defence too as Italian journalists link the club with a move for Lazio man Stefan de Vrij. Having had various bids rejected for the likes of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, attentions could now turn to the Dutch centre-half to ease the pressure on John Terry and Gary Cahill whilst Kurt Zouma recovers from his knee injury.

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De Vrij is now back in action after missing out on the 2015/16 season with a knee injury of his own. The 24-year-old was one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and Antonio Conte has tracked his progress ever since, with Italian sources now claiming that his new club are preparing a £21 million move for the defender in an attempt to shore up a shallow looking defence at Stamford Bridge.

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