Roman Abramovich's Chelsea ownership in numbers
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Chelsea may be able to throw a spanner in the works at Manchester United and Tottenham by chasing a move for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar before the start of next season, according to reports. The Blues are said to be keen on strengthening at the back this summer after losing Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid on a free transfer, while Andreas Christensen is widely expected to join Barcelona in the not-too-distant future.
Chelsea are said to be long-term admirers of Skriniar and could decide to firm up their interest in the 27-year-old’s services over the coming weeks, according to Foot Mercato. The report also claims that such a move would dash any hopes of a move elsewhere for Alessandro Bastoni, who is said to be a target for United and Tottenham.
Inter are determined to avoid selling both Skriniar and Bastoni before the new season gets underway, with at least one of the two set to be retained by the Italian giants before the transfer window slams shut. It seems as though Chelsea would force United and Tottenham back to the drawing board if they eventually decide to launch a move for Skriniar, who was reportedly the subject of an enquiry from the Blues earlier this week.
Chelsea and Inter are said to be some way apart on a fee for the Slovakia international, though, which suggests that a long and drawn-out negotiating process could be set to take place over the coming months. The Blues have also been linked with a number of other defensive targets as of late, including the likes of Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde and Napoli veteran Kalidou Koulibaly.
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However, Arsenal icon Paul Merson has already warned Chelsea that it could be a difficult task to find a suitable replacement for Rudiger in the heart of their defence, given the German centre-back’s crucial standing at Stamford Bridge over the last few seasons.
“Antonio Rudiger’s been absolutely outstanding for Chelsea, I can’t remember him having a bad game if I’m being honest,” Merson recently told Sportskeeda.
“He’s been consistently brilliant in the Premier League this season, Rudiger’s going to be a massive miss for Thomas Tuchel next season. He’s going to be a hard one to replace.
“I’m not sure if the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde can fill his boots. If there is a worry for Chelsea this year, it’s finding Rudiger’s replacement.”
Meanwhile, it seems likely that United and Tottenham will be forced to look away from Bastoni in order to reinforce their defensive ranks, with Inter said to be keen on keeping hold of him in advance of the new campaign. The idea of a move elsewhere for Bastoni has already been dashed by the player’s agent, who recently insisted that his client will be staying in Italy for at least another season.
“Bastoni will stay at Inter for sure,” said Tullio Tinti, as quoted by FCInterNews. “He has a contract and he’s happy with Inter, there’s no problem.”
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