Chelsea’s pursuit of defensive options has led the club to increase their offer to AC Milan for Alessio Romagnoli, 21.
The Blues initial offer of £30m was rejected out of hand but Antonio Conte’s admiration for his compatriot has seen them return with an increased bid of £35m. Tellingly, the bid was not immediately rejected for a player Milan signed for £21m last summer.
The Italian has been frustrated at every turn with his defensive targets. Napoli rebuffed every attempt to land Kalidou Koulibaly, 25, and Chelsea have drawn a line under that pursuit.
Their back-up plan to Romagnoli may be equally hard to land. Paris St Germain’s Marquinhos has emerged as a target with a fee in the region of £47m likely to be needed to take him to west London.
The French champions are not minded to sell the Brazilian international whom they signed from Roma in a €31m deal in 2013.
He was a member of his country’s disastrous Copa America Centenario squad in the United States this summer but found international redemption as a member of Brazil’s gold medal winning squad at the Rio Olympics.
A versatile defender, he is equally at home on the right or in the centre, as well as the defensive midfield role which will appeal to Conte.
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