Chelsea have scouted Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez as the Blues consider ways to strengthen defensively ahead of next season.
Frank Lampard's side have the joint-third most prolific attack in the Premier League this season, but the Blues have been let down by a defence that has conceded 54 goals in 37 games. It is by far the worst record of any side in the top half of the table.
The west Londoners have already strengthened significantly in attacking areas ahead of next season by completing the signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Bayer Leverkusen forward Kai Havertz is also expected to make the switch sooner rather than later.
But Chelsea also still have a job to do at the back. The future of goalkeeper Kepa Arizzabalaga has been under scrutiny for many months and the Spaniard is now of interest to Valencia.
There are also doubts over centre-back Antonio Rudiger, who has entered the final two years of his contract without talks for a new deal beginning - despite rumours of one in the offing in November.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Chelsea have eyes on Atletico star Gimenez and have had scouts watch the Uruguayan on a ‘number of occasions’. It is suggested that his strength in the air is a factor that could make him an attractive choice given the existing side’s set-piece vulnerability.
Chelsea have a strong relationship with Atletico and have done business together a number of times over the last decade, including deals on Thibaut Courtois’ loan, Diego Costa (twice), Filipe Luis and most recently Alvaro Morata, who joined the Madrid club last summer.
But Gimenez has a release clause at the equivalent of £109m, which is beyond Chelsea’s reach this summer and would therefore require a negotiated fee for a deal to be done. Whether Atletico would entertain selling a key asset for the ‘far lower’ price the Telegraph claims is necessary is unclear.
90min recently revealed that Chelsea are keeping tabs on Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar and have enquired to the Serie A side about the Slovakian’s availability and price. The 25-year-old has been valued at £75m, which has not put Chelsea off a potential deal.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is thought to be available for around £65m, but Skriniar is four years younger than the Senegalese star and offers a lot more in terms of long-term reward. Manchester United and Manchester City have also made similar Skriniar enquiries to Inter.