Chelsea FC and Inter Milan are set to lock horns in a two-way tussle for Zenit St. Petersburg defender Ezequiel Garay.
It was reported earlier that Chelsea was interested in Lazio winger Antonio Candreva and was competing with Inter Milan for his signature. However, the Blues’ hopes of landing the 29-year-old Italian were dealt a blow after reports emerged saying that he preferred a move to the San Siro. The Nerrazzurri will now further disrupt Chelsea’s summer transfer plans by going in for Argentina and Zenit St. Petersburg defender Ezequiel Garay.
According to reknowned Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Chelsea are reportedly interested in bringing the Zenit centre-back to Stamford Bridge this summer but the Blues will face competition from Inter Milan, which has also shown interest in the 29-year-old. It is reported that Zenit will ask for around €10 million to part with Garay.
After a successful spell with Benfica, where he made 128 appearances and won the Premiera Liga, the Taca de Portugal and two Taca da Liga titles, Garay moved to Zenit in the summer of 2014 for a fee of around €6 million.
Due to the appointment of defensive-minded Antonio Conte as manager, Chelsea has been linked with a host of names including the likes of Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rudiger from Roma. However with Rudiger sidelined with a long term injury, Roma are unlikely to let go of Manolas. Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was also a target for Chelsea this season. The Blues were rumoured to be preparing a second bid after being rejected the first time but since then there hasn’t been any further developments to the story. It seems like Chelsea has begun looking for other options to add to its roster.
In his two years with the Russian giants, Garay made 70 appearances in all competitions and helped Zenit win both the Russian Cup and the Russian League. For €10 million, the Argentine would be a much cheaper alternative to Chelsea’s other targets and at 29 years of age, he could be an immediate, short-term fix that Chelsea’s defense needs. Having won titles with Real Madrid in Spain, Zenit in Russia, and in Portugal with Benfica, he would also bring a wealth of experience and a much-needed winning mentality to Stamford Bridge.