Chelsea are preparing to make a £40m summer move for Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, according to reports.
The Italian centre-back, who moved to Juventus from Italian side Bari in 2010, is widely regarded as one of the finest defenders in the world.
The 29-year-old has represented Italy 67 times and has won a clutch of individual awards in a glittering career, including last year’s Serie A Footballer of the Year Award. He became the first defender to win the gong since Fabio Cannavaro, in 2006.
However Bonucci’s stock at the Juventus Stadium has since fallen. And after a recent league match against Palermo, Bonucci became embroiled in a heated argument over Massimiliano Allegri’s choice of substitutions, sprinting off down the tunnel upon the final whistle.
Allegri immediately announced that the defender would be punished for his actions and he was duly left in the stands during the 2-0 away win in the Champions League against Porto.
The club are meanwhile keen to give more game-time to 22-year-old Daniele Rugani and intend to recall the promising Mattia Caldara from his loan spell at Atalanta at the end of the season, meaning Bonucci could soon be battling for his spot in the first-team.
Bonucci is valued at £42m and reports in Italy have claimed that, should Chelsea table such an offer in the summer, the club would find it very difficult to turn down.
Chelsea have been revolutionised since switching to a back three in October, but have benefited from Gary Cahill, David Luiz and César Azpilicueta all remaining fit.
Antonion Conte is eager to add a central defender to his squad in time for next season, as Chelsea prepare to return to the Champions League.
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