The agent of Elseid Hysaj has revealed that Chelsea failed with a £43m bid to sign the right-back last year, with the SSC Napoli star set to be available on a free transfer when his contract runs out next summer.
Hysaj looks set to depart Naples upon the expiry of his current deal, with a whole host of Napoli players due to leave the club as owner Aurelio De Laurentiis remains entrenched in a bitter dispute with the Partenopei's playing staff.
The club's players and staff refused his demands to remain at a training retreat following a string of poor results, subsequently causing a colossal divide that has left the club in limbo.
One of the players likely to leave is Hysaj, with the player's agent Mario Giuffredi revealing he nearly did so last year, as Chelsea failed in their pursuit of the Albanian.
"Whatever happens with him, the outcome will be great," he said, as quoted by the Mirror. "If we leave, we'll do what we had to do in the summer. If we don't leave, Napoli will lose the player on a free transfer, but it'll always work out for us. A year-and-a-half ago, Napoli could've taken €50m (£43m) from Chelsea.
"If Hysaj stays at Napoli, the Neapolitan club risks losing the player for nothing."
While the Blues' previous interest in Hysaj apparently showed serious intent, it would be highly unlikely that they will go back in for the Napoli defender due to the emergence of Reece James.
Despite club captain Cesar Azpilicueta continuing to play a prominent role at full-back, the Englishman has risen through the ranks at Stamford Bridge and is showing signs of real promise, even earning himself the nickname 'The Beast'.
Currently under a transfer embargo, Frank Lampard will be able to sign players upon the ban being lifted on 1 July 2020. However, Hysaj could be brought in on a cut-price deal in January, which would eliminate Chelsea from the running, making it even less likely he would move to west London.