Chelsea are set to go head-to-head with AC Milan in the summer pursuit of Villarreal defender Mateo Musacchio, as per reports.

The Daily Mirror have reported that Chelsea are ready to steal a march on AC Milan in pursuit of Mateo Musacchio. The Villarreal centre-back is said to be the subject of a £21 million bid from the Rossoneri and is close to agreeing a deal with the Italian giants.

The 26-year-old Argentine is rated as one of the most consistent defenders in Europe, and prominently features as one of the best centre-backs currently playing in Spain. Musacchio has been with Villarreal for practically his entire senior career and in the seven years with the Yellow Submarine he has been a key figure for them at the back.

The 2015/16 season was a disappointment for Musacchio as he had to miss the majority of the season due to a fractured tibia but he bounced back from that with a bang. Villarreal boast the best defensive record in Spanish top flight currently and Musacchio’s showing at the heart of defence in his 13 appearances in the league have been a vital reason for that.

Mateo Musacchio has been impressive in seven years with Villarreal. (Photo courtesy - Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

Mateo Musacchio has been impressive in seven years with Villarreal. (Photo courtesy – Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

With Musacchio being a picture of solid consistency in Spain, he has been on the radar of several clubs over the years. AC Milan are the most prominent of those outfits, with the Rossoneri set to be busy in the transfer market in the summer once their impending Chinese takeover is complete.

The likes of Moussa Sissoko, Andrea Conti, Franck Kessie and others have all been linked with Milan. A centre half partner for Alessio Romagnoli is one of the top priorities for Vincenzo Montella, and Milan were said to be on the verge of agreeing a £21 million deal for Musacchio.

However, it now looks like Chelsea are set to hijack Milan’s move for Musacchio, with the Blues asking for some time to present their proposal to the defender’s representative. It is important to note that the player has a release clause in his contract, so it may boil down to personal terms than the actual fee.

Antonio Conte is looking to beef up his options at the back in the summer. The Chelsea boss has installed a back three with Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill not letting much past them. But Cahill is already in his thirties with Luiz approaching that mark as well.

John Terry’s storied Chelsea career is all but over, while the likes of Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma are waiting in the wings for their opportunities. So while Conte does have some options, Musacchio, with his superb reading of the game and the ability to deal with pace will add definite quality at the back for the Blues.

Milan still look like the favourites to sign the Argentine defender, but with Chelsea now entering the picture it remains to be seen if the Blues can turn Musacchio’s head and snatch him from the Serie A club’s hands.

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