• Napoli are likely to be Chelsea's biggest contenders for Nikola Maksimovic's signature.
  • Conte has reiterated the need for Chelsea to sign a defender before the close of the transfer window.

Chelsea have identified a replacement after failing with a £30m ($39.4m) offer for AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli, while their move for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly has also stalled as the Serie A club refused their latest offer of £40m. The Blues have now turned their attention to Torino centre-back Nikola Maksimovic, with the club confirming interest from a Premier League side to sign the defender.

According to Sky in Italy, via Sky Sports, the Blues have failed with a bid for the Italy U21 international, as AC Milan are not keen to allow him to leave the club this summer. Romagnoli joined the Serie A giants from AS Roma last season and was impressive in his debut campaign making 34 appearances. He has been compared for club greats Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva.

Antonio Conte has made it clear that the club needs to sign a defender before the close of the transfer window and reiterated his stance following Chelsea's last gasp win over Watford. The manager has just two senior central defenders at his disposal and is keen to bring a backup for John Terry and Gary Cahill.

The Daily Telegraph understands that Chelsea are unwilling to improve their offer for Koulibaly, with the latest one standing at £40m and the Daily Mail suggests that they have now turned their attention to Torino's Maksimovic. The Serie A club are reluctant to let the defender leave, but confirmed they were in talks with Napoli, while also admitting interest from a big club in England.

"Sinisa Mihajlovic wanted to try and keep hold of Maksimovic. Torino have always been consistent and allowed players to leave when they requested it, such as Kamil Glik and Bruno Peres," director of sport Gianluca Petrachi said, as quoted by Football Italia.

"Maksimovic wanted to be sold, but with Miha's arrival, the situation changed. We had promised the Coach not to sell him and in turn promised the player a raise."

"Unfortunately, someone gave him bad advice. Maksimovic is not a bad lad, but his choice was not an intelligent one. We have taken action, we will evaluate. We've been talking to Napoli about Maksimovic since January, so there's been too much talk and not enough action," he added.

"Now he is wanted by a big foreign club too, but at the same time we won't rule out him staying too. The transfer market isn't closed yet. It's not just Napoli who want Maksimovic, but also a big club from abroad."

Nikola Maksimovic
Nikola Maksimovic is on Chelsea's radar after they failed with a move for AC Milan's Alessio Romagnoli Getty

"It is an English club and the Premier League does have greater financial resources than other Leagues," the sporting director said when asked specifically about Chelsea's interest.