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Chelsea Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Willian, Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Willian of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge on August 12, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Barcelona have approached Chelsea midfielder Willian, as they seek alternatives to primary target Philippe Coutinho.

Nabil Djellit of France Football (h/t the Daily ExpressDan Gibbs) reported Barca are exploring the possibility of bringing Willian to the Camp Nou after the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. Blaugrana coach Ernesto Valverde needs to attract recruits before transfer deadline day, but the Blues player will be difficult to sign.

The 29-year-old has remained on the fringes of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's plans, but he has often added impact from the bench as an able replacement.

Willian started just 15 games in the Premier League last term, according to WhoScored.com, but scored eight goals as Chelsea stormed to the title in Conte's first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Steven Senne/Associated Press

Per Gibbs, the Brazil international has also been the subject of interest from Manchester United, but the player recently said he is happy in west London after signing a new deal until 2020:

"I signed the contract because I like being a Chelsea player and I see good things here.

"I signed a new contract and that shows how much I want to stay here. But the simple thing is that I want to win titles.

"To win titles you have to improve and if we can do that then we have a great chance to win titles this season. We have the players to do this - and the manager."

Barca are running out of time to replace Neymar, but they will reportedly attempt a new bid for Coutinho worth £138 million, per Sky Sports News.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City (L) celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Danny Drinkwater of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Sunderland at The King Power Stadium on April 4, 2
Michael Regan/Getty Images

In other Blues news, Chelsea are interested in Leicester City pair Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater, but Conte is yet to submit a bid for the England striker.

Per Simon Jones for the MailOnline, Conte wishes to strengthen his attack and is considering an approach for Vardy or Swansea City's Fernando Llorente. Jones also reports Chelsea continue to negotiate for the services of Drinkwater, with a £40 million deal in the pipeline.

Vardy has started the season in electric form, but the player suffered from a dip in productivity as the Foxes struggled to defend the Premier League crown last season.

The No. 9 hit 13 goals in the Premier League last term, per WhoScored, but his performances recovered after former coach Claudio Ranieri departed the King Power Stadium.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Jamie Vardy (R) of Leicester City is congratulated by teammate Harry Maguire (L) after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on August 11, 201
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The 30-year-old is different to the attackers at Conte's disposal, and he would provide a willing runner behind the opposition defence.

Vardy's top-level depth is questionable, but he has proved he can score weekly when the service is moulded to his needs.

Willian is too important to let go so late in the transfer window, and it would be foolish of Chelsea to enter into any talks with Barca.

The Brazilian is a seasoned professional in English football and has often saved Chelsea coming off the bench.

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