Chelsea have reportedly agreed a £28 million fee for AS Roma’s tenacious box-to-box midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
This is according to the Mirror, who claim that Chelsea’s newly-appointed head coach Antonio Conte believes he has now landed his number one transfer target following fresh negotiations over the past 48 hours.
The report adds that Chelsea have held lengthy talks with Roma, the player and his representatives and are now confident they have struck a deal to sign the 27-year-old.
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It was reported at the beginning of March that Conte, who will take over from Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge this summer, had advised Chelsea to sign both Nainggolan and his Roma teammate Miralem Pjanic.
And the Italian coach will surely be delighted that Roman Abramovich has helped deliver a player who could potentially be key in helping the Blues get back on track following a thoroughly underwhelming season.
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Chelsea settle for Nainggolan over Pogba
Chelsea won’t be competing in either the Champions League or, barring a minor miracle, the Europa League next term but this doesn’t appear to have deterred Nainggolan from agreeing a big-money move to west London.
The Blues had also been linked with a move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba; however, the fact Chelsea are on the verge of signing Nainggolan indicates the France international’s next destination will not be Stamford Bridge.
Nainggolan recently refused to rule out Roma exit
Nainggolan refused to rule out a move to Chelsea or Barcelona when asked by reporters in Italy earlier this month.
"I haven't heard from anyone yet, I don't even know if it's true they [Chelsea] want me," Nainggolan told Il Tiempo, as relayed by FourFourTwo.
"I even read a story in the newspaper that I told my friends I'm going to Chelsea – it's ridiculous. The truth is I can't talk about things I don't know about yet.
"If they call me, am I not supposed to talk? At the moment I am giving everything for Roma, as I always have done. I am happy, my family is too, so even if I continued my career here, I would be happy.
"However, if Barcelona come looking for me, which player would say he'd dislike playing for the most important club in the world? I'd be an idiot to say such things."
Boost for Antonio Conte
But with Barcelona seemingly uninterested in securing the midfielder’s services, it now seems he has gladly settled on a lucrative transfer to Chelsea instead.
Can Chelsea win the league under Antonio Conte next season? Have your say by leaving a comment below.