Premier League side Chelsea have approached Italian outfit Inter Milan for the signature of centre-back Juan Jesus as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his defensive options.
As per the Daily Express, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is intent on bringing 25-year-old Inter Milan defender Juan Jesus to Stamford Bridge. It is also understood that the two clubs have opened talks for the player and a price of £8 million is being demanded by the Serie A club. Chelsea looked set to rope in Antonio Rudiger, but the Roma stalwart tore his ACL muscle on international duty that ruled him out for six months.
According to WhoScored, Juan Jesus made only 19 league appearances this past season as he was overlooked by Roberto Mancini, who fancied a central pairing of Miranda and Jeison Murillo. Italian website FCInterNews has claimed that ever since his managerial days at Juventus, Conte has been interested in signing Juan Jesus. Also, given the dire financial conditions of Inter, a bid close to the £10 million bracket could be enough to prise away the Brazilian from San Siro.
While Juan is a centre-half by trade, he deputised as a left-back for 7 matches in the 2015/16 Serie A campaign. His tackling abilities are impressive and he is a safe customer in possession. The Brazilian averaged 2.1 clearances and 1.9 tackles per game, and was a good back-up option when called upon by Mancini.
Should Conte look elsewhere for a better defender?
Chelsea endured a tumultuous Premier League campaign as the defending champions. Their tag of being one of the competition’s teams to reckon with was slowly forgotten due to disarray among the ranks on and off the field. Defenders Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic struggled to find form while captain John Terry’s future hung in the balance. It is no surprise that Chelsea have designs on making signings in defence this summer.
In the January transfer window, MLS defender Matt Miazga was brought to the club. Despite showing signs of early promise, the American failed to do enough to win a permanent place in the matchday squad. If Juan Jesus is signed by the Blues, he may suffer the same fate as Miazga.
The Inter defender is noticeably weak in the air, and can be exploited by taller and stronger attackers given the physical nature of the Premier League. For Conte, a proven centre-back could very well do the trick. Someone who preferably understands the English game, or one who could quickly adapt to it, should be on the Italian’s priority list.
According to Fox Sports, Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian is one of the first names on Conte’s list. As Darmian is a natural full-back, Ivanovic could probably drop in to partner the central defender. Jeison Murillo is another name linked with the Blues (via Metro), who is reportedly valued at a staggering £23.8 million.