Both Gary Cahill and David Luiz, who returned from Paris Saint-Germain for £30m this summer, have endured tough starts to the new campaign, conceding the same amount of goals as newly-promoted Burnley, and so Chelsea have elected to act.
Juventus are hesitant to give the Blues any indication that they may be prepared to sell the Italian defender after already offloading Paul Pogba to Manchester United for a world-record £89m this summer.
But reports by The Sun newspaper suggest they would be prepared to discuss a deal for Bonucci if Chelsea agreed to both break the record spent on a defender while also adding Cesc Fabregas in a player-plus cash agreement.
Conte, however, is said to prefer cutting Hazard adrift to cut the cash value of the deal by as much as half and so lower the expectation on Bonucci’s shoulders should he eventually join the Stamford Bridge outfit this winter.
Hazard, 25, was voted as the PFA Player of the Year in 2015 but his star has dimmed somewhat since after Chelsea’s disastrous title defence the following season. Juventus are still seeking a midfield anchor to compensate for the loss of Pogba and Fabregas fits the bill - meaning talks have stalled.
Chelsea vs Arsenal player ratings
Chelsea vs Arsenal player ratings
1/22 Petr Cech - 6 out of 10
Enjoyed a surprisingly quiet evening against his former club, but stayed alert to save well late on from Batshuayi.
2/22 Hector Bellerin - 7 out of 10
Won the battle on the wing against his compatriot Azpilicueta, and added a fine assist to his clean sheet.
3/22 Shkodran Mustafi - 8 out of 10
Impressed as a physical force in the Arsenal defence, giving as good as he got from Costa - and better.
4/22 Laurent Koscielny - 7 out of 10
His partnership with Mustafi continued to blossom as he led the backline with authority.
5/22 Nacho Monreal - 7 out of 10
Quietly efficient as he kept Willian under wraps for long periods.
6/22 Francis Coquelin - 5 out of 10
Battled well early in the game, but had to be replaced after coming off worst in a fierce 50-50 challenge with Kante.
7/22 Santi Cazorla - 7 out of 10
Although he tired towards the end, the Spaniard dictated the midfield with his creative play.
8/22 Theo Walcott - 7 out of 10
Once again worked tirelessly for the team. The Walcott of this season is like a new signing for Arsenal.
9/22 Mesut Ozil - 8 out of 10
Given time and space to play by Chelsea, the German bossed events at the Emirates. His turn and run in the build-up to his goal was sublime.
10/22 Alex Iwobi - 8 out of 10
An excellent display that showcased the youngster as a real attacking threat. Demonstrated awareness of his teammates around him.
11/22 Alexis Sanchez - 8 out of 10
Scorer of a well-taken first, his assist for Ozil was just as good. Leading the line much better than last month.
12/22 Thibaut Courtois - 5 out of 10
Offered little protection by his defence, he still suffered a number of breakdowns in communication with the outfield players.
13/22 Branislav Ivanovic - 5 out of 10
Constantly troubled by Iwobi's energetics, time continues to catch up with Chelsea's experienced defender.
14/22 Gary Cahill - 4 out of 10
Directly responsible for some awful defending, most notably when he lost possession in the lead up to Arsenal's first.
15/22 David Luiz - 5 out of 10
His partnership with Cahill needs work - and a lot of it. However, he did show an ability to pick a pass when going forward.
16/22 Cesar Azpilicueta - 6 out of 10
Often outnumbered as Walcott and Bellerin doubled up, he had more joy when moved to right wing-back in the second half.
17/22 N'Golo Kante - 4 out of 10
An unrecognisable performance given last season's heroics. Second to many loose balls and showed an unwillingness to track back when out of possession.
18/22 Willian - 5 out of 10
Went close to netting with a shot wide in the first half, he was otherwise kept quiet by Monreal and was eventually subbed.
19/22 Cesc Fabregas - 6 out of 10
Booed constantly on his return to the Emirates, he remained calm and played some fine passes. Surprisingly subbed when clearly performing better than others.
20/22 Nemanja Matic - 5 out of 10
Struggled to deal with the attacking runs from deep of Ozil, Iwobi and Walcott.
21/22 Eden Hazard - 5 out of 10
Showed flashes of skill and creatively, but more often it was his inability to help out at the back that was highlighted.
22/22 Diego Costa - 6 out of 10
Offered no service by his teammates who simply didn't play to his strengths. Never stop battling for possession.
Nonetheless, Conte worked with the Italian centre-back for three years in Turin. Earlier this year Bonucci said: “Conte will be a big success in England, Chelsea are already a very good team and he will have them challenging both in England and in Europe.
“He is the boss, and if you listen to him and show him respect, you will see he is one of the best bosses in the game. The players in the Italy team nicknamed him The Godfather. That means when he talks, you listen. You do what he says and you don’t argue. Players want to listen, though.”
- More about:
- Chelsea F.c.
- Eden Hazard
- Leonardo Bonucci
- Antonio Conte
- Cesc Fabregas
- Chelsea transfer news