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Chelsea line up £42m bid to sign 26-year-old – transfer exclusive

Chelsea are ready to make a £42m (€48m) bid to sign defender Kostas Manolas from Roma as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his rearguard options, The Sport Review understands

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is targeting Roma defender Kostas Manolas Photo: The Sport Review

Chelsea are ready to make a £42m (€48m) bid to sign defender Kostas Manolas from Roma this summer, The Sport Review understands.

The Blues are understood to be ready to make a move to sign the 26-year-old Greece international as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his defensive options at Stamford Bridge ahead of Chelsea’s return to the Champions League next season.

The Sport Review understands that Conte was keen to bring 30-year-old Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci to west London this summer but that move was vetoed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who wants the Blues to recruit younger players this summer.

Conte is believed to have then steered Chelsea’s attentions towards signing Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, but their opening offer was rejected by the Serie A club, as has been widely reported this week.

And that sequence of events has led to Chelsea now targeting Manolas as Conte looks to bring in some defensive cover following John Terry’s Stamford Bridge exit at the end of last season.

Despite Terry’s exit, Chelsea still have a number options in central defence as things stand, with both Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma available despite neither player having featured regularly last season.

Danish defender Andreas Christensen is also due to report back to Chelsea this summer after his two-year loan spell with Borussia Monchengladback in Germany.

Manolas, who is under contract with Roma until June 2019, has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Inter Milan in the past and was also touted as a possible target for Chelsea last summer following Conte’s appointment at Stamford Bridge.

The defender was a regular fixture in the Roma team last season as he made 33 appearances and notched up two assists in Serie A to help his side finish second behind champions Juventus.

Manolas, born on the Island of Naxos in 1991, joined Roma from Greek side Olympiacos back in 2014 and has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet at the Stadio Olimpico.

Conte led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his debut season in charge at Stamford Bridge but is now gearing his side up for a return to the Champions League – and could land Manolas as his first summer recruit.

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