The Evening Standard has today reported that Chelsea are on the brink of signing Juventus centre back Daniele Rugani for £44.2m on a five-year deal (The Evening Standard).
The 23-year-old has featured sporadically for Juventus since moving to the club permanently from boyhood side Empoli in 2015. It is perhaps understandable that the promising defender has found first team football hard to come by in Turin, with Giorgio Chiellini, Medhi Benatia and Andrea Barzagli all ahead of him in the pecking order.
Despite this, Sarri is still looking to link up once again with his fellow Italian having previously worked with him during the 2013/14 season at Empoli in Serie B. That season the academy product made 42 appearances in all competitions.
With the former Napoli manager favouring a flat back four, it is not known what the deal could mean for Chelsea’s current central defenders. Both Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta are key first team players, with the former impressing in his first season at Stamford Bridge and the latter arguably transforming into the most consistent central defender in the Premier League over the last two seasons. If Rugani is to become a starting centre back, alongside Rudiger, Azpilicueta may perhaps move back to a left or right back role after only playing as a centre back in a back three. Andreas Christensen, another centre half choice, won Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year award and should be at the club for years to come which would leave both David Luiz and Gary Cahill with uncertain futures after having difficult 2017/18 campaigns.
At this time it is not known if Juventus would be willing to sell Rugani, but following big money deals to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Cancelo and Douglas Costa, the fee offered by Chelsea for a squad player may be too good to turn down.