Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has allegedly gone against the wishes of manager Antonio Conte and vetoed a move for Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci.
The Italian international has long been a transfer target for Conte after the two worked together during the latter’s spell in Turin and as head coach of the Italian national side.
Bonucci could potentially leave Juventus this summer as his relationship with current manager Massimiliano Allegri is understood to be strained following a row towards the end of 2016.
Whilst the Blues was thought to be a possible destination for the 30-year-old, it would appear that this is no longer the case as the Express report that Abramovich will not provide the money to match the player’s transfer fee due to concerns about his age.
The Chelsea owner is understood to be keen to sign younger players as a number of current squad members are approaching or are the wrong side of 30.
This means that Conte will have to turn elsewhere for defensive reinforcements, as he looks to have a greater depth to his team ahead of the return of Champions League football.
The 43-year-old’s knowledge of Italian football means they will continue to consider players from his native country, with the Sport Review suggesting that Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, aged 25, and Roma’s Kostas Manolas, 26, are the other potential targets.
Though the Premier League champions’ defence was consistent in both selection and performance last season, a lack of back-up options should Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill or David Luiz get injured means that signing a new defender remains one of Conte’s top priorities this summer.