Chelsea are preparing a world-record bid to bring Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci to Stamford Bridge in January, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The Blues have shown defensive frailties this season, and conceded seven goals in three Premier League matches before their victory at Hull City last weekend.
Unsurprisingly, manager Antonio Conte feels that defensive reinforcements are needed to strengthen Chelsea’s title challenge in the second half of the season, and it appears that owner Roman Abramovich is willing to splash the cash to bring world-class players to Stamford Bridge when the window reopens in the New Year.
At the top of Conte’s wish list is Juventus defender Bonucci, with whom Conte worked during his stint in charge in Turin and his two-year reign as Italy’s national team manager between 2014 and 2016.
29-year-old Bonucci is widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the world, so it would likely cost a world-record fee to bring him to West London.
However, Abramovich seems willing to fund the transfer after meeting with Conte last week, which would likely break the current world-record fee for a defender, which was the £50 million Chelsea received from Paris Saint-Germain for the services of David Luiz.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City failed in their attempt to bring the Italian international to the Premier League during the summer, and would likely go in for him again if Chelsea upped their interest in January.
It remains to be seen whether Bonucci does indeed make a move to the Premier League, but whichever club does have the Italian on their books at the end of January will be hugely delighted.