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Chelsea: Contest for forward hots up; Fabregas is top earner; defender discusses potential move

Chelsea are bracing themselves as they prepare for Manchester United to enter the race for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, claim the Mirror. The club have monitored the 25-year-old for two years, dating back to when he initially moved to the Vicente Calderon to join with Diego Simeone, and it is expected that he may depart when his manager does, which is expected to be in summer 2018, with Jose Mourinho also preparing a bid.

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There has been speculation over whether or not the Blues would be able to afford to make a move for the Frenchman given his £85 million buy out clause included in his contract, but given that the club made offers of up to £60 million for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata and Everton man Romelu Lukaku, it seems that it would not be too far for Roman Abramovich to stretch if Champions League qualification can be secured.

The Times claim that the club could use the wages from the sale of Cesc Fabregas, with his pay packet the biggest at the club once image rights and bonuses are included. Worth a reported £220,000 per week, that is believed to be the reason why Chelsea are so desperate to get rid of the Spaniard and are not prepared to be patient as the former Arsenal man remains determined to fight for his place.

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AC Milan appear to be the most likely destination, with a January loan move seemingly on the cards ahead of a permanent move in the summer, but Abramovich wants him to depart as quickly as possible so that his wages can be cut down and spent elsewhere.

One of Conte’s top priorities is believed to be to bring in defenders, with 23-year-old Roma defender Antonio Rudiger said to be one of the club’s top targets after being scouted by the club. However, the Germany international, currently recovering from a knee injury, discussed the speculation, saying:

There’s a lot of talk about changes in the squad, but I’m really happy to play for Roma. I’m not bothered about transfer rumours.

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With a £35 million price tag on his head, it seems that Rudiger could be a possible option for the Blues and would be cheaper than alternatives like Alessio Romagnoli or Leandro Bonucci, both of whom have valuations of over £50 million by their clubs as Conte continues to scout Serie A for top defensive talents.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Serg Hoholok.

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