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Chelsea looking to build defence around Matthijs de Ligt

Chelsea are looking to build their future defence around Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, Italian publication Corriere Torino claims.

The west London giants were actively pursuing a central defender last summer, but they could not secure an agreement for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.

It is now reported that they have turned their attention towards De Ligt, who will enter the final two years of his Bianconeri contract in the summer.

He has a hefty €125 million release clause in his deal, but it is claimed that the Blues could convince the Bianconeri to enter talks for a lower fee.

With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen potentially leaving on free transfers this summer, the club are looking to build their defence around De Ligt.

The European champions are taking concrete steps ahead of a transfer approach later this year.

The Blues are currently loaded with options at the heart of the defence, but the scenario could completely change at the end of the campaign.

Rudiger and Christensen have been key figures in the back three, but both have yet to be convinced to renew their contracts beyond June.

Christensen reportedly has his sights on joining Barcelona, while Rudiger has also been linked with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain lately.

Aside from the duo, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta could also head for the exit door with his contract expiring in just over five months.

Amidst this, manager Thomas Tuchel is bound to request at least one or two marquee additions in the central defensive department.

Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule could be one of the prime targets. Tuchel is a firm admirer of the German who can sign a pre-contract now.

De Ligt has also been mentioned as a transfer target for a while. A summer deal can’t be ruled out as the Blues possess the financial firepower.

They spent a stunning €113m to re-sign striker Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan last year, and De Ligt could be prised away for a lesser fee.

Despite his vast league experience, De Ligt is only 22 and could be seen by the Blues as someone who could serve the club for the next decade.

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