At some point during the 46 years he lived in Italy, Antonio Conte must have let slip how deeply he loves Italian defenders. Because now that he’s moved to Fulham and he’s got loads of money, the Italians are taking full advantage of his weakness.
Having already been quoted ludicrous amounts for his number one defensive target Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus, the Sun reveals that Chelsea’s manager is now being quoted a similarly whopping sum for Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli.
The Rossoneri are reportedly demanding “at least £50m” for the 21-year-old, more than double the amount they paid for him last summer.
And it’s getting to the point where Hot Football Transfer Gossip is starting to suspect that Conte has said something in the past - probably in Italian - along the lines of, “If I ever go to the Premier League and have lots of money, I will only buy Italian defenders because I love them because they are the best and all other defenders are dogs, especially Gary Cahill.”
The Blues aren’t just interested in defenders though; the Mirror claims that Conte is also keen on £35m-rated Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco. Chelsea are said to have been “keeping close tabs” on the 23-year-old, prompting his club Atletico Madrid to offer him a new contract to “fend off” the Blues.
Chelsea’s pursuit of Carrasco may depend on whether they keep hold of Willian, who has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain but says in the Express that he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge “for life”.
Javier Hernandez, the striker Manchester United sold for about £7m last year, is now worth £40m, according to the Express. The Little Pea is reportedly wanted by Valencia, who are willing to pay more than five times’ the amount United sold him for in light of his prolific form for Bayer Leverkusen.
Another player who left the Premier League and then became very expensive, Sevilla’s Steven Nzonzi, has been offered a new contract by the Spanish club amid interest from Leicester and Everton (Mail).
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla could leave the Emirates for free at the end of the season if he doesn’t agree a new contract in north London, with the Star reporting that Juventus are keen to take the Spanish midfielder off Arsene Wenger’s hands.
A man who could also be tempted to move to Serie A is Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri, whose brother (and agent) says he might join Roma in January (Talksport). Why does everyone want to leave England all of a sudden? Hot Football Transfer Gossip blames Brexit.