Chelsea have opened talks with Zenit St Petersburg over the signing of central defender Ezequiel Garay.
Having already had three bids rejected by Everton for youngster John Stones, Jose Mourinho has turned to Garay as an alternative as he looks to strengthen his leaky defence. The Blues are yet to keep a clean sheet since last season, conceding seven goals in three Premier League games so far, and shipped a handful in pre-season including four against the New York Red Bulls.
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Sky Sports Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed Chelsea will try to get a deal done before the transfer window closes next Tuesday.
But the Daily Star are reporting that Chelsea will make a fourth, improved bid for England defender Stones, believed to be in the region of £40 million. Contrary to reports though, Stones will not hand in a transfer request to push through a move to Stamford Bridge.
Either way, Chelsea hope to have a new centre-back before the window shuts at 6pm next Tuesday as boss Mourinho is unhappy with his defence.
Captain John Terry was substituted by Mourinho at half time against Manchester City but returned to the starting line-up at West Brom only to be shown a straight red for a last man challenge on Salomon Rondon. Gary Cahill was on the bench for that game with Mourinho preferring to play Kurt Zouma.
Although the French international is highly regarded by Mourinho, Garay would bring added experience. The Argentinian international began his career with Newell's Old Boys in his homeland before moving to Spanish side Racing Santander in 2005. He stayed there for three years before being snapped up by Real Madrid who then sent him back to Santander for a season-long loan.
He made his debut for Los Blancos in 2009 but became Jose Mourinho's fourth-choice centre back the following season and having made just 31 appearances, he moved to Benfica for a fee of €5.5 million.
His spell in Lisbon was fruitful, he made 78 appearances for the Portuguese giants including the 2012 Champions League quarter-final and 2013 Europa League final losses to Chelsea.
He then moved to Zenit last year for €15 million and has been a regular in Andre Villas Boas's side.
Garay also represented his country at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, playing in the final versus Germany as Argentina finished runners-up. He has played in two Copa America tournaments, though he was named on the bench for this year's final loss against Chile.
Chelsea fans: Would you prefer Stones or Garay? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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