Chelsea are reportedly preparing to make a 21 million summer offer for Lazio centre-back Stefan De Vrij.
According to reports in Italy (h/t TransferMarketWeb), Chelsea are willing to shell out £21 million in order to acquire the services of Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij. The Italian is reportedly unsettled at the club, and the Blues will now look to do all they can to lure him towards a move to Stamford Bridge.
Italian media outlet Il Tempo recently reported that the defender is far from a renewal at the club, and it appears that he will be on his way in June. The 25-year-old has a contract until 2018, but has no intention of seeing it out.
Lazio value the player at €40 million or £33.9 million, but with only one year left on his contract, they may have to sell him on the cheap if they are to avoid letting him go for free at the end of the 2017/18 season.
Chelsea captain John Terry is likely to part ways with the club at the end of the season, which will leave a gap that could be filled in by Lazio’s defensive stalwart. The Englishman is expected to move abroad – either to China or the United States to the play in the MLS.
Manager Antonio Conte roped in former Blues defender David Luiz on deadline day in the summer and received a tremendous amount of stick for it. The reason for this skepticism was because the Brazilian had not demonstrated a good run of form for his former side Paris St. Germain or on the international stage.
However, since Conte reverted to his tried and trusted back three, Luiz has felt at home playing as a central defender with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill on either side. This has seen the Blues become the joint-best defensive unit in the league, which has eventually led them to top the Premier League standings.
If De Vrij was to join Chelsea, it is unlikely that he will nail a spot in the starting eleven from day one. Defender Kurt Zouma has also recovered from an injury and will be contesting for a berth in the main team should any three of the defenders pick up an injury.
That being said, the Dutchman does not come with a clean bill of health himself, and signing him could prove to be a huge risk for Conte. The Italian manager would undoubtedly favour someone who is less susceptible to injuries, especially due to the rough and fast-paced game in England’s top flight.
Manchester United and Arsenal were also linked with the 25-year-old at the end of 2016, and could weigh in with offers of their own, knowing that the player is considering a move away from Italy.