With Chelsea potentially preparing for the departure of David Luiz, there have emerged several candidates to replace him.
The 6'5" Italian defender has fallen out of favour at the San Siro this season and his opportunities have been limited.
Like so many other players, the 25-year-old will be looking to boost his profile in January and force his way into the international setup ahead of next year's World Cup. Should Luiz decide to make the move away from Stamford Bridge, Ranocchia would be the ideal replacement.
There have been a lot of reports linking Luiz to Barcelona, but Liam Prenderville at The Mirror reported that Inter are also interested in signing the Brazilian, putting forth the possibility of a swap deal taking place.
While Ranocchia has dropped down the pecking order on a defence that hasn't been strong all year, there was plenty of evidence last year to suggest that he could thrive at Stamford Bridge.
Aside from the height advantage that enables him to win aerial battles comfortably, make interceptions and score goals from set-pieces, he was strong in possession and sure with his passing.
For a defender, he is remarkably confident with the ball at his feet and not afraid to take on an opponent in order to play safely out of defence. At the end of last season, Squawka stated that he won 81 percent of his take-ons, 70 percent of his headers and 65 percent of his tackles.
These attributes will suit Jose Mourinho and enable Ranocchia to slot into the side with ease.
The problems that have littered the centre-back's career will be a concern, however. He has been prone to comical errors in judgement and lapses in concentration—leading to 11 yellow cards last year—which will not be tolerated under Mourinho.
1) On the other hand, Inter is reportedly interested in a swap deal between Luiz and Ranocchia. But Chelsea would be losing money this way.— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) December 20, 2013
2) Barcelona offered to Chelsea for Luiz more than Ranocchia is worth in the market. And Inter don't look ready to pay the difference.— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) December 20, 2013
Nevertheless, he remains an immensely talented player and the move to Chelsea would make good use of his skills.
With David Luiz apparently on his way out and John Terry's future anything but certain, Mourinho needs to find some stability past the end of the season.
Bringing in Ranocchia now would enable the Italian to have the rest of the season to get up to speed with English football on a rotation basis, then take on a more prominent role next year.
He's something of a risk, but Ranocchia showed last year he can be a key contributor for his side, even as all around him are failing. A deal for his signature could pay off handsomely in the future.