Football

Nikola Maksimovic.

Chelsea linked to 'new Vidic' after suffering setback in centreback search

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It looks increasingly unlikely that Chelsea will sign Napoli centreback Kalidou Koulibaly this transfer window despite pursuing his signature for much of the summer.

Reports in France claim the Senegalese defender is set to sign a contract extension with the Serie A club, while it is also thought Chelsea are unwilling to match Napoli's £60 million valuation.

With John Terry and Gary Cahill as the club's only fit centre-halves, however, there is no doubt that Antonio Conte needs to find a plan B pretty fast. According to The Daily Telegraph today, he has done just that by registering Chelsea's interest in a player touted as 'the new Vidic'.

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Per The Telegraph's Matt Law, as Chelsea wait to see whether Napoli will come down on their price for Koulibaly, the Stamford Bridge club have progressed their interest in Torino defender Nikola Maksimovic.

Maksimovic, 24, will likely cost around £25 million so would be a considerably cheaper option than his fellow Serie A defender.

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What's more, Torino's director of sport, Gianluca Petrachi, admitted this week that "a big club from abroad...an English club" had been in contact to challenge, ironically, Napoli for the Serbian's signature.

With his vast experience in Serie A, Conte appears dead set on tapping the Italian league as he looks to add a fresh face to his back four.

'New Vidic'

That doesn't mean that the interest in Maksimovic is the former Juventus manager scraping the barrel, however.

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The Serbian defender isn't only likened to Vidic because they come from the same country - his game also shares similarities to the former Manchester United captain.

In a feature on the former Red Star Belgrade earlier this year, Four Four Two noted that:

"His physicality and comfort on the ball ensure the similarities don’t end at nationality...

"Maksimovic is a battler, just like the Manchester United icon was, and his experience of playing in midfield means he has the technical ability required to excel at the top level."

Considering the success Vidic had in the Premier League - winning five titles in Manchester - Chelsea would love to see a man in his mould arrive at Stamford Bridge.

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Terry and Cahill have coped so far over the first couple of weeks of the new season, however the are both the wrong side of 30 and are increasingly prone to injury and ill-form.

With the transfer window closing a week on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, does arrives in west London.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Frank Lampard
Chelsea
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
John Terry
Francesc Fabregas

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