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Chelsea defender search circles back to Lazio center back, at 40% premium from July

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We're going to sign a defender out of Italy if it's the last thing we do!

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Towards the end of July, when the Kalidou Koulibaly hopes started looking grim thanks to rumors of Napoli relenting and offering the big man a new contract — 30 days later, still no definite outcome in that situation, which is hilarious and frustrating — Chelsea were tenuously linked with Lazio center back Stefan de Vrij.  As if often the case with rumors from the Mirror, nothing's come of it, at least not yet.  Maybe now?  The Mirror are often first to report stories that eventually end up true as well.

Pedullà is yet another Italian journalist who's been gaining increased name-recognition recently (as Di Marzio has over the past few years), and the general opinion seems to be that he's fairly reliable when it comes to Italian clubs.  Of course the rumor itself is fairly unsubstantial and "safe", with Chelsea supposedly just looking at or considering the option of De Vrij.

Assuming he's even available, the trouble with De Vrij, just as it was in July, is that he's coming off of major knee injury (the second of his career) that caused him to miss all but a few games last season.  The 24-year-old was quite good before the injury, starring for the Netherlands, Lazio, and Feyenoord, but is far from a sure thing at the moment.  Accordingly, his price back in July was just £15m, though given the time pressures of the last week, that price has now been bumped to €25m (£21-22m).  Still cheap, compared to other options.