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Chelsea boss Conte in major battle to land ANY of his three major defensive transfer targets

Date Posted,July 2, 2017

Antonio Conte faces a triple threat to his transfer plans as he bids to kick off his summer spending.

Manchester City are trying to hijack the Champions’ bid to sign £34million Roma centre-back Antonio Rudiger.

Barcelona are rivalling Chelsea’s interest in Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci. And the Italian champions have also made a fresh attempt to persuade left-back Alex Sandro to sign a new deal.

Conte, who takes Chelsea to the Far East for pre-season training next week, swooped last Thursday to try to land 24-year-old Rudiger’s signature.

The defender is deemed to be the right age, able to play on the right of a three and sensibly-priced compared to some of the more exorbitant valuations of defenders this summer.

Rudiger excelled in Russia with his country (Photo: REUTERS)
Conte’s defensive re-build is now up in the air (Photo: Steve Bardens – The FA)

A fee – inclusive of add-ons – was quickly agreed but City emerged over the weekend to make their interest known.

They are now ready to offer more cash to take Rudiger from under the Londoners’ noses.

The Germany international had been set for a medical on Monday, following his country’s participation in the Confederations Cup Final against Chile.

Instead he and his representatives will decide whether to stick with Conte or to opt for Pep Guardiola’s revolution at Eastlands.

Leonardo Bonucci is wanted by Barcelona while Juve are offering Sandro a new deal (Photo: REUTERS)

Chelsea have another potential headache with Barcelona stealing a march in the race for Bonucci. The Italy centre-back’s relationship with Conte was expected to prove decisive in persuading him to quit Serie A for Stamford Bridge.

The Blues hierarchy have balked at paying around £60million for a 30-year-old, however, allowing Barca to seize their chance.

Bonucci signed a new deal with Juventus last December and the Italians have no desire to sell – but they will allow him to leave if he asks to go.

The Serie A champions are still fighting, however, to keep Sandro at all costs. Chelsea are confident of luring him to Stamford Bridge and Sandro has already admitted to Juve that he wants to leave.

Alex Sandro in action with Nabil Dirar
Sandro has emerged as one of Europe’s premier fullbacks (Photo: REUTERS)

Juventus have responded by making it clear they are willing to hand him a lucrative new five-year deal to stay.

It would represent a massive blow for Chelsea should the 26-year-old Brazilian change his mind with Conte determined to land him at all costs this summer.

Sandro is set to give his decision this week and Chelsea are hopeful that he will choose the Premier League.

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