Chelsea are said to be ‘growing increasingly confident’ of solving their left-back issue for the long term, though the fee for their number one target could match or even eclipse that paid by Man Utd for Harry Maguire.
The left-back position has been one position of uncertainty under Frank Lampard, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri all featuring in the role this season.
The latter of that trio has been urged by his international manager to push for an exit from Stamford Bridge, while rumours continue to persist of Alonso linking back up with former manager Antonio Conte at Inter Milan.
The Blues boss is expected to address the left-back issue whenever the next transfer window opens, with Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell earmarked as their preferred choice.
The academy graduate has blossomed into becoming one of the league’s finest full-backs, contributing two goals and three assists in the current campaign as Leicester look on course for a top four finish.
However, one stumbling block could emerge in the from of the colossal fee the England international would command.
At 23 years of age and with four years remaining on his current deal, Leicester would be under no pressure to sell one of the Premier League’s rising defensive stars.
Indeed, with Brendan Rodgers’ side seemingly set for Champions League qualification should the current season resume, the Foxes would not be at a disadvantage in negotiations with regards to offering the chance to play in Europe’s premier competition.
Despite this, Chelsea are described as ‘growing increasingly confident’ that they can pull off the coup.
Meanwhile, a Chelsea star has reportedly rejected the chance to sign a 12-month extension with the club amid rumours of a Serie A switch.
33-year-old Olivier Giroud is the man in question, who despite playing second fiddle to Tammy braham for much of the season, came to the fore in the month before the season was suspended.
Chelsea are described as being ‘desperate’ not to lose the centre-forward, but the Frenchman is looking for “at least one biennial project” and Inter remain keen onlookers with the source claiming the Serie A club and Giroud’s agents are “alive”.