Chelsea have been heavily linked with Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci for the past few months.
However, only now does it seem like a genuine possibility that the classy centre-back might follow former manager Antonio Conte to Stamford Bridge, after reports emerged that Bonucci has accepted personal terms with the Blues, in a deal that could see the Italian earn a generous £130,000-per-week.
It is understood that the only formality left in the negotiations is meeting the Turin club's asking price for the defender.
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If Chelsea are successful in landing the 29-year-old, it would provide the team with an impressive long-term option, not to mention experience, at the heart of the defense.
Having served the Bianconeri for several years as a dependable player, Bonucci is now at the prime of his career, making him a valuable asset to both club and country.
It is, therefore, not surprising that Conte considers the the Italian centre-back as one of his top targets for the summer transfer window.
Unique Style of Play
What makes Bonucci one of the rarest central defenders around is his great anticipation and controlled style of defending, as compared to the old fashioned style predominant in the Premier League.
The Juventus man provides a calm presence at the back, which takes a lot of pressure off his teammates, especially the rest of the defense. He has immaculate ball control as well, as his ability to play the ball makes him a unique centre-back.
Possessing a delicate first touch and composed passing, the defender from Turin is often able to simply play his way out of trouble, whereby allowing the team to keep possession of the ball.
Bonucci can pick out a midfielder, higher up the field, from deep inside the defense, as well as find attackers with pinpoint long passes.
These qualities make him a centre-back unlike any other.
Great Form for Club and Country
Bonucci has been a regular fixture in the Juventus first team and has been instrumental during their five consecutive Serie A triumphs.
Forming a formidable back three alongside fellow Italians Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, the trio have been the preferred option for both club and country.
So far in the ongoing Euros, Italy have managed to keep clean sheets against a talented Belgium side, and a Swedish side spearheaded by the lethal Zlatan Ibrahimovic, largely owing to the contributions of Bonucci.
The only goal conceded by the Azurri was against Ireland in the final game of the group stages, in which Conte fielded a second string side, having already secured qualification to the next round prior to the start of the match.
At 29, Bonucci has valuable experience that he can offer to the Chelsea squad.
Considering the late retiring ages predominant among Italian defenders, and Italians in general, Blues fans can be optimistic about Bonucci's ability to grace Stamford Bridge for several years.
Iconic Azurri defenders such as Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro, Marco Materazzi, and Gianluca Zambrotta all managed to play at least to the age of 37, providing promise for the Juventus man.
Bonucci brings in the right amount of experience needed to stabilize the team, that last season, seemed a shadow of the impressive side that won the Premier League title only a year ago.
With club captain John Terry set to take on a lesser playing and a more advisory role in the side, the Italian's arrival this summer would be a timely one.
Furthermore, the long-term knee injury to the promising Kurt Zouma, as well as Gary Cahill's lack of consistency at the back, could mean the Bianconeri defender slotting in the heart of defense almost immediately.
Having worked with Conte at Juventus, as well as the Italian national team, the two already have a certain connection and chemistry that could only help the Blues.
Chelsea's uncertainty at the back could tempt the Italian manager to make more than one major defensive signing, but Conte must make Bonucci's signature the top priority.
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