Reports out of Italy Tuesday morning brought tidings of Chelsea stepping up efforts to sign AC Milan's young and overpriced center back Alessio Romagnoli instead of Napoli's older and over more overpriced center back Kalidou Koulibaly.
Chelsea had been linked with Romagnoli before, but rumors surrounding the 21-year-old were more tenous up until now. While there was talk of a €25m bid, it had been assumed that Torino's Nikola Maksimovic was the Koulibably plan B. Perhaps it is the young Italian kid instead.
Reports differ in the exact amount offered now, but they all seem to use €35m rumored over the weekend by Sky Italia as the starting point. Gianluca Di Marzio claims €35m, with bonuses to bring the total amount to €40m. Fabrizio Romano, writing in the Guardian, matches those numbers and also adds in that Chelsea are willing to raise the center back's annual salary from €2m to €3.5m. Meanwhile, the Mail's rolling with a flat £34m fee (€39-40m).
So we can probably go with the €35+5m arrangement, though if Milan weren't willing to deal at €35m flat, I'm not sure how much difference the small bonus will make. As we've been saying over and over, if Chelsea want to do business, we'll have to pay over the odds. "Crazy market" or no, this is our new reality.