Exlcusive: Journalist Says €60m Defender Is Chelsea’s Transfer ‘Priority’

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Chelsea could yet do some serious business in the market this summer, and after talking to a London-based journalist, we have an idea of what that business could be.

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We spoke exclusively with John Cross, a journalist from The Mirror and he was optimistic about the chances of Chelsea adding an elite level central defender before the window closed.

Asked specifically on Kalidou Koulibaly, Cross was sure that the Napoli defender was the clubs current top priority: “I think he’s their top priority and are trying so it could happen.”

The sticking point in money – Koulibaly seems to be pushing for a move away from the club after a very public fallout earlier in the summer. Napoli do not need money though, after selling Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus and that has put Chelsea in a very sticky situation. It is thought that the Italian club are asking for in excess of £50million to even consider the sale of their defender. Although he was quality last season, its hard to see and perhaps crazy for Chelsea to go and spend over £50million on a player who has only performed at the highest level for one season, especially as he is only 25.

Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion I think Koulibaly is well worth his £40million valuation, but at over £50million it starts to get a bit ridiculous and incredibly risky.

More recently Chelsea appear to have turned their attentions to AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli as an alternative – but Milan are insistent that they will not let the 21-year-old leave, recently rejecting a £34million bid, according to Sky Sports. With Milan equally as defiant as Napoli that their defender is not for sale at any price, the pressure is growing on the club and Antonio Conte to sign a new top level defender before the window shuts next week. It’s not an easy task in this market, but Conte and Chelsea may have to return to their ‘priority’ in Koulibaly and just stump up the asking price in order to improve their squad and in turn, chances of success this season.

Chelsea currently have John Terry, Gary Cahill and the returning Kurt Zouma as defensive options, but the fans are urging Conte to strengthen this area further. The fans frustration wouldn’t have been helped by the fact that London rivals Arsenal are about to sign a new defender in the form of Skhodoran Mustafi. His price of £35million may appear high, but with the likes of Koulibaly demanding fees in excess of £50million, perhaps Chelsea should have been in for him.

We also asked Cross who he felt were the favourites for the title this season: “Man United.”

Big, stellar deals which have improved the squad.” said Cross. Perhaps a big investment in a new defender would help Chelsea’s chances?