Having grown frustrated by Napoli’s constant rejection of their offers for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea have now turned their attention to Lazio centre-back Stefan De Vrij.
De Vrij has had a disappointing season last time round, as he could only make a total of three competitive appearances for Lazio in all competitions due to a long term injury that was sustained during international duty. The Netherlands international has made himself one of the main defenders at Lazio after his £6 million move from Dutch club Feyenoord. He helped Lazio to a third place finish in the 2014/15 season.
His good performances for the Biancocelesti have caught the eye of Chelsea, who have now turned their attention to the 24-year-old after failing to land Koulibaly’s signature, according to a report in the Daily Mirror.
The Blues have been trying to sign Koulibaly since the end of the season, after the Senegal international churned out match-winning performances to help Napoli become the main challenger to Juventus’ supremacy in the Serie A.
Since the end of last season, Koulibaly has drawn a lot of interest from a number of top Premier League clubs apart from Chelsea. Manchester United have also been linked with the 25-year-old, after the Red Devils themselves had a poor season in the Premier League. This increase in interest in Koulibaly has prompted Napoli to raise their asking price for the player. However, Manchester United seem to be out of the race, since they signed centre-back Eric Bailly from Villarreal last month.
While Chelsea have reportedly been willing to shell out £30 million for the Senegalese defender, Napoli have been demanding a £45 million transfer fee which the Blues are not ready to meet, according to the Mirror report. However, Lazio are unlikely to demand such a high price for De Vrij, as they are not in a financially strong position to bargain with Chelsea. According to reports, the Biancoceleste could be persuaded to sell their Dutch defender for as less as £15 million.
De Vrij represents a much cheaper option for Antonio Conte, who has had a three-man defence during his time as the head coach of Juventus and Italy. Chelsea already have three top class centre-backs in John Terry, Gary Cahill, and Kurt Zouma. However, both Terry and Cahill are on the wrong side of the 30s, and the Blues may soon need to look for long-term replacements for the two Englishmen.