Tuesday 12 December 2017

Chelsea ready to hijack United move to sign Aurier, and target van Dijk

Conte wants two new wing-backs to provide competition for Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Conte wants two new wing-backs to provide competition for Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire

Matt Law

Antonio Conte has been re-assured that Chelsea will sign at least three new players by the end of the transfer window, with the club ready to rival Manchester United for Paris Saint-Germain right-back Serge Aurier and step up their interest in Virgil van Dijk.

Conte wants two new wing-backs to provide competition for Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso and has turned to £27m-rated Aurier after missing out on Danilo, who signed for Manchester City.

Van Dijk was identified as Conte's top central-defensive target at the end of last season and the Dutchman's dramatic transfer request yesterday is likely to prompt a firm enquiry to Southampton.

Liverpool were forced to back away from Van Dijk following accusations they spoke to the player without Southampton's permission and Conte will hope that hands him an advantage.

The Italian must wait to find out if Aurier wins his appeal against a conviction for assaulting a police officer last year and is thus allowed entry to Britain after being forced to miss a Champions League game at Arsenal last October when border control authorities revoked his visa.

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Chelsea's lack of numbers was highlighted in the Community Shield defeat by Arsenal, during which Conte cut an annoyed figure.

Midfield is also an area they want to strengthen, with Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Antonio Candreva targets.

But the champions could be fighting a losing battle to land talented left-back Alex Sandro, with Juventus adamant they will not sell the Brazilian.

So far Chelsea have spent £127.7m this summer on four signings - Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero - with Morata costing a potential £12m more in add-ons.

But they have also allowed Nemanja Matic, Nathan Ake, Nathaniel Chalobah, Asmir Begovic and John Terry to depart.

Diego Costa's Chelsea career is also over as he talks to Atletico Madrid over a return there.

Meanwhile, Timothy Fosu-Mensah has had a medical at Crystal Palace ahead of a season-long loan from Manchester United. The 19-year-old defender, who is contracted to United until 2020, is regarded as an exciting prospect and can operate at full-back, centre-half or even midfield.

Elsewhere, Brighton have broken their club transfer record to sign Davy Propper from PSV Eindhoven for £10m. The Dutch midfielder, 25, has signed a four-year contract with the Seagulls.

© Daily Telegraph, London.

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