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Chelsea scouting AC Milan center back Alessio Romagnoli — report

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Italian defender fits the profile of a Sarri center back

Empoli v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Chelsea have been shopping for a new center back for several seasons, with the focus primarily on Serie A players. First came Kalidou Koulibaly, then Antonio Rüdiger (jackpot!), and then, last summer, Juventus’ Daniele Rugani. Rugani may yet feature in the future, since he’s not exactly racking up the minutes right now, starting just 1 of Juve’s first 11 games.

But there’s been another player in the Italian mix, Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli. In 2016 Chelsea went so far as to make a reported offer of €40m for him, which, if nothing else, shows how serious we were about upgrading the position. (Ed.note: Chelsea ended up bringing back David Luiz that summer, a move that worked out decently enough though isn’t a long-term solution.)

Milan were equally serious about knocking back the bid, and even confirmed the rejection on their official Twitter account. Very serious indeed.

But faint heart never won fair maiden — nor a fairly good centre-back — and so Chelsea are apparently back for Romagnoli. Or at least keeping track of the now 23-year-old’s progress.

According to Calciomercato, the Blues were in Milan for the big derby against Inter this weekend, and were there to scout the young man again. (As well as any number of other players, because that’s what scouts do when they’re doing their job.)

Milan inked a new deal with Romagnoli in June and have him under contract until 2022, so he wouldn’t come cheap. There have been reports that he’s not averse to a move to the Premier League, having already been linked to Manchester United as well, but he’s also a first-team regular and Milan have little reason to sell.

That said, he would be a good fit for Chelsea as well. He’s young — which Chelsea prefer when making a substantial financial commitment — he’s mobile, he heads the ball well, he likes to play with the ball at his feet, he’s not afraid to move forward into space and, crucially, he has an eye for an attacking pass. With Gary Cahill on the way out, David Luiz aging and Andreas Christensen error-prone and unhappy, Chelsea have an obvious opening that Romagnoli could step right into, if not this January, then in the summer.