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22nd Jun 2018

Chelsea set to sign Juventus defender for £31 million

Maurizio Sarri's first signing will be a centre back he has worked with before

Kyle Picknell

Chelsea are rumoured to be announcing both their new manager and defender together

Former Napoli boss, the Sopranos-esque chainsmoker and football aesthete Maurizio Sarri, has yet to be officially confirmed as Chelsea manager, although the move is very close to becoming official depending on who you believe.

Sport Italia are now reporting that not only will Sarri be announced at Chelsea very soon, but that his very first signing will be joining him at the same press conference.

Juventus centre back Daniele Rugani is the lucky man and is set to join the blues for an initial £30.6 million plus £2.6 million in potential bonuses.

The 23-year-old was a key player under Sarri’s tutelage at former club Empoli, before moving to Juventus at the start of the 2015-16 season after they bought out his co-ownership deal for around £4.5 million.

He has since been a rotation option in Turin under Max Allergri, and even with Barzagli’s ageing legs and the departure of Leonardo Bonucci from the famous BBC defensive line he has still not quite kicked on and cemented himself as a key player.

It makes sense for the bianconeri to sell Rugani for such a fee, but whether the defender, who has 7 caps for Italy, is an improvement on the likes of Chelsea’s best central defenders Azpilicueta, Rudiger and Christensen remains to be seen.

David Luiz, who was cast aside by Antonio Conte last season but was integral to the team that won the Premier League in 16/17, could also find himself back in the starting lineup due to his ability to play out from the back.

Kurt Zouma is also set to return to the Chelsea squad after a loan at Stoke City but Rugani appears more suited for the incoming head coach’s methodical style of play.