Chelsea are seeking defensive reinforcements this summer and have identified Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt as a potential target. Thomas Tuchel is interested in bringing the Netherlands international to Stamford Bridge after seeing his backline depleted in recent weeks.

The Blues waved goodbye to centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen after the duo decided to leave the club following the expiration of their contracts. The former joined Real Madrid, while the latter has a deal in place with Football Club Barcelona.

Tuchel's first choice backline is likely to suffer more damage, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso also heading for the exit doors. The players are being courted by Barcelona, with Xavi keen to bolster his squad ahead of next season.

According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are ready to spend big to bring in a quality replacement to partner Thiago Silva at the heart of their defence. De Ligt has emerged as The Blues' top target with the club ready to approach Juventus about signing the Dutchman this summer.

Matthijs de Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt, his head heavily bandaged, takes on Karl Toko-Ekambi in the Champions League last-16 first leg between Lyon and Juventus FRANCK FIFE/AFP

The former Ajax centre-back joined Juventus in a £66 million deal and has two years remaining on his current contract. De Ligt has a £103 million release clause, and the Serie A giants will expect interested clubs to get close to that figure if they want to lure the defender away from Turin.

Juventus are in the process of negotiating a new deal with De Ligt, but interest from clubs across Europe has alerted the defender. The 22-year-old has hinted that he could decide to leave Juventus if he finds a better sporting project after two poor seasons for his current employers.

"Negotiations are ongoing at the moment and when the time comes I will decide whether to extend or look elsewhere," De Ligt said earlier this month, as quoted by the London Evening Standard. "I always look at what is best for me in terms of the sporting project."

"Two consecutive fourth place finishes are not enough, we have to make progress in that direction because these are disappointing results. Juventus are a club that always wants and must become champions."

Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. The France international is also open to leaving the Andalusian club, but the Premier League club will have to meet their £60 million valuation of the player.

Jules Kounde
Jules Kounde (L) has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the summer CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP