Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo from Valencia

According to a report by Sky Sports, Chelsea are interested in signing Joao Cancelo from Valencia as manager Antonio Conte looks to add more depth to the Blues’ back-line.

It is understood that the Premier League champions have been keeping an eye on the right-back and were particularly impressed when he was playing for Portugal at the European U-21 championships this summer. His pre-season performances have been quite strong as well, which explains why Conte has identified him as a target.

Cancelo joined Valencia back in 2015 after a successful year on loan with Los Che, in a deal worth £13 million. Since then, he has gone on to become a key member of the Valencia first-team setup and his performances have attracted the attention of some top clubs.

The Portuguese defender has been one of Valencia’s most consistent performers over the last two seasons and his performances also earned him a call-up to the Portugal national side last year. He made 38 appearances for Valencia in the recently concluded season, scoring one goal.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Gareth Bale (L) of Real Madrid is tackled by Joao Cancelo of Valencia during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Madrid at Mestalla Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Stamford Bridge calling? (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

The player enjoyed a fine debut for the Seleccao as well, scoring in the 5-0 win over Gibraltar in September last year. Proving his quality further, Cancelo followed that up by scoring two more goals the following month during the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

Conte has been on the look-out for strong defenders after having missed out on Danilo, who chose to join Manchester City instead. Cancelo is one of the most highly-rated full-backs in Spain with mean dribbling and passing skills, which make him an ideal signing for Chelsea.

The player’s versatility can also prove to be an asset for the Italian manager. Although he plays primarily as a right-back, the Portuguese international has also played at right midfield on certain occasions last season, making him an ideal candidate for the right wing-back slot. He does come across as a strong all-rounder, which is something Conte looks for in his full-backs.

Given Cancelo’s sheer talent and versatility, Conte is likely to eye him as a player who can provide competition to Victor Moses and also act as an able back-up, if the situation demands. At 23, Cancelo could potentially establish himself as an important part of Chelsea’s first-team setup for years to come.

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