Roma have told Chelsea that they will need to cough up £35 million for defender Kostas Manolas after the Blues had a £26 million bid turned down.
According to the Sun's Graeme Bryce, the Italian giants want to squeeze £9 million more out of Chelsea and "sources close to the player expect the gap between the sides to be closed before the end of the season."
Centre-back Manolas has become a key part of the Roma defence since making the switch to the Italian capital from Olympiakos in 2014.
Per WhoScored.com, he is a commanding presence in the air, while he is also adept at passing the ball out from deep:
Kostas Manolas: Has won more aerial duels (31) than any other player in the CL this season #ChampionTheMatch https://t.co/HWNMwzny3b3/8/2016, 1:30:29 PM
At only 24 years old, Manolas has a bright future ahead of him and could theoretically form an excellent defensive partnership with Kurt Zouma, 21, at Chelsea in the long-term.
Chelsea's defence desperately needs a rebuild. They have gone from conceding just 32 goals last season while winning the league to leaking 39 in 29 matches during the current campaign.
John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are both nearing the end of their careers and have had seasons to forget, thus Greek international Manolas could add some much-needed quality to the Blues back line.
He may be put off by the fact Chelsea look unlikely to be in the UEFA Champions League next season, but Bleacher Report's Dean Jones believes potentially incoming boss Antonio Conte will be able to attract big stars even without top European football on offer:
At £35 million, Manolas could be a very good buy, as he has proven quality, could be a stalwart at Chelsea for years to come and is exactly the type of player the Blues are crying out for at the moment.
Elsewhere, Chelsea have been given a boost in their reported pursuit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the news the Swede wants a move to a London club.
The 34-year-old striker is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season when his contract expires, and England's capital is his preferred destination, according to MailOnline's Sami Mokbel.
The report revealed that Ibrahimovic will demand in excess of £150,000-a-week wages, but he will be a free agent, thus very much worth taking a gamble on.
The Blues desperately need to add firepower to their strike unit as Diego Costa is the only reliable forward they currently have on their books—and he may be returning to Atletico Madrid in the summer, per MailOnline's Pete Jenson.
Despite being near to the end of his career, Ibrahimovic is still remarkably prolific and would all but guarantee goals for Chelsea—he has netted 27 times in 24 Ligue 1 appearances this season.
After a terrible 2015-16 campaign, Chelsea need a galvanising figure at the club, and the ever-entertaining Ibra could well be their man.
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