Chelsea have made signing a central defender a priority during the transfer window with Southampton's Virgil van Dijk and Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci their main targets. Kurt Zouma's future with the Blues will come into question if the club sign a new central defender.
Antonio Conte is keen to bolster his defence ahead of next season, when they will be competing in four competitions including the Champions League after missing out on European club competitions last year.
According to the London Evening Standard, the Italian manager has identified the Southampton and Juventus duo as his main targets and will make a move to sign one of them before the close of the transfer window. Conte is looking to fill the void left by the departure of club legend John Terry, who was released following the expiry of his contract.
Van Dijk has been heavily linked with a move away from St Mary's this summer with Liverpool said to have been leading the race for his signature. The Reds have since pulled out of the race leaving the Premier League champions as the front runners. Southampton are not keen to allow their captain to leave and interested suitors will have to offer over £50m ($63m) to have a chance of signing the Dutch defender.
Bonucci, on the other hand, has been on Conte's radar since he took over as Chelsea manager last summer. The two have worked together during the latter's stint as the Juventus manager and the Italian coach is keen to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
According to the Sun, the Turin giants could consider allowing Bonucci to leave owing to his fractured relationship with manager Massimiliano Allegri but will expect Chelsea to meet their £60m valuation. The Blues, meanwhile, are hoping to include Nemanja Matic, who is of interest to Juventus, in a player-plus-cash deal.
Zouma is an option for Conte going into next season, but the club are keen to send him on loan in order for him to get regular game time. The French defender returned to action after almost a full year out with a knee injury in February this year and is unlikely to be a regular in the first-team next season. French clubs Lyon and Nice have made enquiries to sign him on a temporary basis ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
Apart from Zouma, the Italian coach has also recalled Andreas Christensen from his loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach. The Danish defender confirmed that he will rejoin Chelsea for their pre-season commitments before a decision is made on his future, and if he is included in the first-team, it is certain the Frenchman will be allowed to leave for pastures new at least on a temporary basis.