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Chelsea check on half-price alternative to Van Dijk at center back after skipped medical — report

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AS Roma v Genoa CFC - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Kostas Manolas has spent much of the past 12-18 months getting linked with various teams around Europe, including Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Inter Milan, before finally agreeing a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg earlier this month. However, that deal has hit some rather unexpected and vigorous turbulence, with a supposed disagreement over wages leading to a skipped medical and leaving the whole thing in serious limbo.

Into that fray jump Chelsea, to look around and see if we can find a bargain. That’s according to Matt Law of the Telegraph, who claims that while Chelsea have not contacted Manolas’s old team, Roma, just yet, if the 26-year-old does turn his back on the move to Russia, we’d be happy to offer an escape route to England to the tune of £26m.

That’s certainly a much more reasonable price than any of Chelsea’s supposed top two targets are commanding these days, with neither Southampton nor Juventus ready to sell and thus holding out for at least £70m and £50m, respectively.

With Nathan Ake on his way out, and Kurt Zouma possibly leaving on loan, Chelsea will need one more center back to complete the handful necessary to keep a back-three system well rotated. Manolas possesses a useful combination of size, strength, pace, power, skills, and versatility, and thus could challenge in multiple positions across the back line.

For now, this is nothing more than a check, but with Van Dijk and Bonucci looking not at all available, we might just be hoping it turns into something a bit more serious.

UPDATE: Sky Italia, for the very little they’re worth, are claiming that it’s not Chelsea who’ve checked on the Manolas situation. Instead, Chelsea are looking at Jerome Boateng(again), which is a rumor that already died a quick, painless death many moons ago.