Last summer, reports from Italy claimed that Chelsea had made a €30m bid for Stefan de Vrij in the closing days of the transfer window after our failure to acquire Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. At the time, De Vrij had just returned from a knee operation, but Lazio still did not budge. Chelsea pivoted to David Luiz instead, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But, according to Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport, Chelsea are back in the chase for the 25-year-old, who put together a steady season despite the disruption of another, albeit much more minor metatarsal injury. Whether Chelsea’s interest is real or not is up for debate, as usual, but CdS claim that Conte is pushing for this transfer. De Vrij has just one year left on his contract, so Lazio should be motivated to either sell him or sign him to a new deal. Chelsea could play an instrumental role in either decision.
However the Blues are not alone in being linked to the Dutch international over whom we’re a lot less likely to be accused of an illegal approach, and who could cost just half the price of Virgil van Dijk. According to Sky Italia (via Football Italia), Liverpool had a €20m bid for De Vrij rejected by Lazio, with the Biancocelesti holding out for €35m instead.
Even at that price, De Vrij could be more of a "sleeper" pick in the market who would not destroy our transfer budget yet still improve the team in the right way. Before his knee injury two years ago, De Vrij was a very highly rated young talent. Now fully recovered, he’s surely retained enough of that previous promise to make him a reasonable addition to the defensive corps.