Date: 5th October 2016 at 6:15pm
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Chelsea’s intense interest in Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij has forced the Italian club to offer the centre-back a new contract, according to Italian media outlet Il Messaggero.

The 24-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge over the summer, but the Serie A side rebuffed any approach from the West London side.

With Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expected to make another move for the Dutch international in January, especially given how poor his Blues side have been defensively this season, Lazio are set to offer De Vrij fresh terms to stay in Italy.

This may include a £30 million release clause which, albeit unlikely to deter Chelsea if they really want their man, is a huge statement of intent from the Italian side that they are not going to let their man go without a fight.

De Vrij has started all seven of Lazio’s league matches this season, and scored the crucial equalising goal in their 1-1 draw at Chievo last month. The Italian outfit currently sit fourth in Serie A after four wins from their opening seven games.

His defensive qualities are clear to see, which is why Conte may be willing to pay the £30 million if De Vrij signs a new deal at Lazio.

Chelsea’s defence has looked average at best this season and, despite bringing in David Luiz and Marcos Alonso in the summer, new boss Conte is likely to seek further reinforcements when the window reopens in January.