Chelsea look to £21m Ricardo Rodriguez, to strengthen defence

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Antonio Conte’s determination to strengthen his defence has seen him turn his attention to Wolfsburg left back Ricardo Rodriguez, 23.

The Swiss international was a key member of their parsimonious defence at Euro 2016 this summer and has drawn praise in Germany for his swashbuckling style.

With Conte keen to impose his favoured wing back formation on the Blues this season, he needs full backs who are capable of playing a high-tempo game and the Italian has identified Rodriguez as a perfect fit.

In the past three seasons, Rodriguez has scored 20 goals in 113 appearances for Wolfsburg and earned a reputation for his accurate delivery from set pieces, as well as being a calm penalty taker.

Arsenal were heavily linked with a move earlier in the summer when it became apparent that Rodriguez’s contract contained a release clause for £21.5. That deadline has now passed and Wolfsburg will look to maximise the fee, particularly with Manchester City also said to be considering a bid.

Conte is keen to reshape the Blues defence with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, 25, still high on his list of summer targets. With the transfer deadline approaching, Chelsea are preparing a £60m bid for the Senegalese international.

 

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