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Chelsea ‘open talks’ with Inter Milan over Uruguay international midfielder Matias Vecino — report

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The 26-year-old was a key player for Inter last season, but could now be surplus to requirements

Welcome to the penultimate week of the 2018-19 preseason and the 2018 summer transfer window!

Here’s the Evening Standard’s Simon Johnson with a bit of interesting news this morning: Chelsea have apparently “opened talks” with Inter Milan (whom we just played on Saturday in a friendly) over Matias Vecino, a Uruguay international midfielder.

That bit of news is part of a larger round-up of transfer rumors and activities, most of which is familiar territory from the weekend:

But there is one bit of new-news, and that’s the talks over Matias Vecino, who did not play on Saturday as he was still on vacation following the World Cup. Vecino actually had himself a pretty good tournament in Russia as a key part of a surprisingly well-rounded Uruguay team that made it all the way to the quarterfinals only to be stopped by the eventual champions, France. The 26-year-old played all but 33 minutes of Uruguay’s five-match campaign.

He was equally key for Inter last season, at least until a couple minor injuries towards the end of the season reduced his role. But with the likes of Nainggolan, Joao Mario (back from loan), and possibly Vidal, too, incoming, his role could be reduced even further.

More importantly, Vecino played under Sarri at Empoli, and that fits the theme of Chelsea looking to help out the new coach by bringing in players already familiar with his system (even if a couple years removed, in Vecino’s case).

When Vecino’s name was first mentioned, at the end of last month, his potential fee was to be around €35m, a fairly standard sum these days. But his agent also said at the time that what they were really looking for was a new contract with Inter, possibly to reassure his client of his future amid all the new signings. If Chelsea are indeed talking now, that avenue may have been closed off.

Stay tuned.