Chelsea were recently linked with a move for Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci according to Nodeposit.com, as Antonio Conte looks to bolster the Blues’ squad ahead of his first season at Stamford Bridge.
However, it appears to be unlikely that the Italian international will link up with the former Azzurri boss again; meaning Conte must now look elsewhere for alternatives in the heart of defence.
Here, we take a look at five other possibilities for him to consider:
The youngest player to captain France, the 23-year-old has achieved a lot in a short space of time, including winning two Champions League and playing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while he was unlucky to miss Euro 2016 through injury.
Varane has featured a lot for Real Madrid during his five seasons at Santiago Bernabeu, but still finds himself behind Sergio Ramos and Pepe in the pecking order.
Therefore, regular playing time could well tempt the French international to Stamford Bridge.
Should Conte revert to his favoured 3-5-2 system, it would certainly be to the liking of Paris Saint-Germain’s Marquinhos, who can play either at centre-half or right-back.
The Brazilian 22-year-old had to wait until the latter stages of the season for regular playing time at right-back and will want frequent opportunities to cement his place in the heart of Brazil’s defence.
Having already had two bids rejected for him last summer, could it be third time lucky for the Blues?
The German World Cup winner is used to playing on the right of a three-man defence at international level, and would slot in nicely should Conte prefer the 3-5-2 formation.
Like Chelsea, Mustafi does not have European football to look forward to with Valencia this season, and would be tempted by the prospects of a genuine title challenge and almost certain return to continental football guaranteed at the very least for the following campaign.
The ball-playing Everton and England centre-half, who is equally effective at right-back, would also be a good fit should Conte opt for the 3-5-2 formation.
Manchester City are favourites to sign the £50 million-rated 22-year-old, but the opportunity to learn from and play alongside John Terry and England teammate Gary Cahill.
Since signing from Olympiacos in 2014, the 25-year-old Greek international has been an integral figure in defence during Roma’s emergence as Serie A title challengers to Juventus.
With plenty of UEFA Champions League and Italian top-flight experience already under his belt, could Manolas be the player to command the Chelsea defence when Terry retires?