Antonio Conte seeking reinforcements

July 23, 2016

Antonio Conte wants four more players in place before Chelsea start the Premier League season.

Conte is determined to sign a top-class centre forward and at least one more defender, possibly two, plus a back-up goalkeeper which is set to be Diego Lopez.

Benfica’s young and versatile Swedish defender Victor Lindelof has emerged as a possible target, especially if they fail to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, who is valued at £50million by Napoli.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte pictured watching Cesc Fabregas during a Chelsea training session

Chelsea's new head coach is preparing for his first season in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge

Everton are prepared to go close to this figure as they expect to complete the sale of John Stones to Manchester City but Koulibaly prefers a move to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are considering a move for Lindelof, a 22-year-old who made rapid progress after breaking into Benfica’s first-team last season and helping them win the Portuguese title.

He is a central defender who can also play right-back or deep in midfield and made his Sweden debut in March before going on to play three games at Euro 2016. Last year, he helped Sweden win the European Under 21 title.

Lindelof’s rapid progress also attracted the attention of agent Jorge Mendes.

Portuguese reports claim Chelsea have agreed to pay £26m in instalments and, while the fee meets Benfica’s approval, they want the money up front.

Lindelof’s former club, a hard-up outfit called Vasteras in the Swedish third-tier, will be hoping an agreement can be reached as they stand to make more than £5m from a sell-on clause on a transfer of this size.

Kalidou Koulibaly is valued at £50million by Napoli but Chelsea are interested in the defender

Kalidou Koulibaly is valued at £50m by Napoli but Chelsea are interested in the defender

Benfica defender Victor Lindelof has emerged as a possible target for Chelsea this summer

Strikers in the equation include Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku but Chelsea are not close to a deal on either. Edinson Cavani, who was initially Conte’s top target, is back on the radar.

Goalkeeper Lopez, 34, is set to sign from AC Milan and will work with new goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli.

Conte confirmed his backroom staff on Friday and it will include seven more Italians, including former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, to work with first team coach Steve Holland and fitness coach Chris Jones.

There is no first-team role for former goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon although he is expected to stay at the club in another capacity.

 Conte confirmed his backroom staff on Friday and it will include seven more Italians at Stamford Bridge


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