Chelsea target Kostas Manolas is reportedly set for a new contract at AS Roma, but the insertion of a release clause could make the centre-back an easier target. Elsewhere, Arsenal are said to be eyeing Blues youngster Charly Musonda.
Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera (h/t Calciomercato.com) reported Manolas looks likely to pen a new deal lasting until 2022, but his entourage are eager to add a release clause worth just €30 million (£26.3 million).
Given it was only this past summer that Neymar broke the transfer record with a £200 million from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, distorting the market and other price tags as a result, Chelsea are sure to see that as an affordable sum.
The west London outfit were linked with Manolas before signing Roma team-mate Antonio Rudiger over the summer, but Manolas has continued to attract attention. His performance in a 0-0 stalemate against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League (before Chelsea defeated Atleti on Wednesday) drew praise from ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Twas Manolas on the goalline with really excellent clearance off line when Koke thought he'd scored.2017-9-12 19:21:00
Blues manager Antonio Conte has infused a healthy dose of Serie A signings since arriving at the Chelsea helm, with Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta joining former Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso, who arrived last summer.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Andreas Christensen are the other centre-backs who have found themselves in the rotation under Conte, while Rudiger has left his impression on Goal's Nizaar Kinsella:
Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella
@samake_broulay I guess he proved his quality all last season in this system. I love Rudiger though, the battle isn't over for that place.2017-9-18 15:31:27
Depending on how this season fares, the Chelsea chief may find his current centre-backs suit his need, but Manolas would be difficult to resist if a release clause so affordable was inserted into his new contract.
Meanwhile, Chelsea starlet Musonda is a target for London rivals Arsenal, per the London Evening Standard (h/t Mirror), meaning the race could be on to retain the talents of another promising academy graduate.
The 20-year-old has been offered his opportunity in Conte's first team this season after impressing while on loan at La Liga outfit Real Betis last summer, recently scoring his first senior goal against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup.
Chelsea haven't held a reputation for promoting their youth stars in the first team under recent managers, but ESPN FC's Liam Twomey recently noted Musonda is keeping good company in his effort to make a mark:
Liam Twomey @liam_twomey
Hazard & Musonda exchanging passes. They often seem to hang out together in training & warm-ups #cfc https://t.co/Xw23WohTgR2017-9-26 09:25:22
It's been a little more than five years since Musonda arrived in west London from Anderlecht, but like Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah—both of whom left Chelsea this past summer—he's struggled to crack the first team.
Arsenal's attention isn't likely to be welcomed at Stamford Bridge, although Chelsea may need to offer their winger assurances in order to ward him off a move to the Emirates Stadium.