Bengaluru, September 10: Serie A holders Juventus are reportedly set to end Chelsea’s hopes of signing their young defender Daniele Rugani by offering the Italian a lucrative new contract.
Reports in Italy claim that the Serie A champions are desperate to keep Rugani in Turin after his agent confirmed they had rejected a "really big" bid from the Blues last month.
Newly-appointed Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri wanted to link up with the 23-year-old for a second time after bringing him through the ranks at Empoli.
But Juventus played hardball with the Blues throughout the summer and won the fight to keep hold of Rugani, despite re-signing Leonardo Bonucci from AC Milan.
It’s now said that Max Allegri has made the ace’s contract renewal a priority, with Rugani widely seen as an immediate replacement for veteran centre-back Andrea Barzagli.
It means Chelsea will have to look elsewhere as Sarri plots reinforcements at the back. David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger are yet to win the confidence of the Stamford Bridge faithful in the new-look 4-3-3 system.
Despite playing at the heart of Antonio Conte’s three-man defence last season, Andreas Christensen has been benched under the new boss.
Meanwhile, Gary Cahill is yet to even make a matchday squad after returning from World Cup duty with England. But it could mean a reprieve for fan favourite Kurt Zouma next summer, provided he impresses during his season-long loan spell at Everton.
However, if Rugani indeed signs a new contract at Juventus, Chelsea will have to look elsewhere next season if they fail to find the perfect formula in defence this season.
Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli could be an option given that he has worked with Sarri at the Naples club and is one of the best defenders in Europe with a huge experience in his locker.