Chelsea are in the market for a defender who would upgrade their backline and could be available even if he signs a new contract with his current club, it has been claimed.
Last summer, Chelsea had to make some changes to their defence after losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers. To help fill the void, they signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli and Wesley Fofana from Leicester City.
In January, they increased their depth further by bringing in Benoit Badiashile from Monaco. However, they now seem to be eyeing an additional reinforcement at centre-back.
According to a report from Inter Live, Chelsea are pursuing Italy international, Alessandro Bastoni.
About to enter the final year of his contract with Inter, Bastoni is facing an uncertain future. He is yet to come to an agreement with his club about how much he should earn if he stays there.
And Inter Live suggests that Bastoni might even leave Inter if he signs a contract extension, because they will still need to raise funds by selling important players.
Aware that he could be available, Chelsea are “strongly” pursuing the 23-year-old, it is claimed.
In fact, they could be willing to make an offer of €35million (£30.7m) plus the services of Trevoh Chalobah. Chelsea’s academy graduate has made 52 appearances for first team, including 22 this season. He remains of interest to the Serie A side.
It isn’t clear how much Chalobah would be worth in the part-exchange deal. However, Bastoni has better pedigree so would be the more valuable part of the operation.
Suitors queue up for Bastoni
Other than Chelsea, Bastoni is said to still be of interest to Tottenham Hotspur, despite their similar uncertainty about who their manager is going to be next season.
Further afield, Bayern Munich are considering taking him to the Bundesliga.
But Chelsea have existing dialogue with Inter after allowing Romelu Lukaku to return there on loan last summer. If there are further discussions to be had about Lukaku’s long-term future, Bastoni might be mentioned as well.
The debate Chelsea would have to have if they were to bring in Bastoni is how to fit him and Badiashile in the same lineup. Both of them favour their left feet, which might affect the balance of the backline.
Maybe Todd Boehly hasn’t learned his lesson yet about the dangers of effectively stockpiling players. Chelsea’s large squad size was hard for Graham Potter to manage, eventually leading to his dismissal.
Whoever takes the reins next might have to pick between Bastoni and Badiashile if the Italian arrives, which wouldn’t be an easy choice. They might only be able to complement each other in a back three, with one of them in the middle and a right footer on the opposite side to the other.
Chelsea could be wrong choice
Soon to turn 24 – making him two years older than Badiashile – Bastoni already has a good amount of experience at a high level. His next appearance for the Nerazzurri will be his 150th in their colours.
Already with one Serie A medal in his collection, there is little doubting Bastoni’s ability. Whether Chelsea would be the best fit for him is something he would have to consider carefully, though.
As for Chalobah, a move to Italy might be what he needs. He has already had one spell abroad, in France with Lorient, and might benefit from experiencing another footballing environment.
If Chelsea really are planning to invest further in their defence, his opportunities would likely reduce. Consequently, knowing he will also be 24 by the start of next season, moving on might be in his best interests.
Due to Inter’s financial difficulties, they will be looking for affordable targets like him. Hence, he could occupy a significant place in their plans, enabling him to continue competing at a high level.