Antonio Conte has today run his first training session in charge of Chelsea and will be eager to assess the quality of his new squad in the flesh.
Michy Batshuayi has been the only summer arrival to date, leaving many of the Stamford Bridge faithful be hoping their new boss’ official first day on the job will spark further transfer activity.
As per usual, the Blues have been linked with a host of household names throughout the off-season and they have stepped up their interest one particular target following a string of impressive displays at Euro 2016.
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The Sun reports Conte has set his sights on luring Portugal and Sporting Lisbon sensation Joao Mario to west London after the central midfielder helped nation to winning its first major trophy.
An energetic and highly technical player, the 23-year-old has done enough to convince the new Chelsea boss he is worthy of a place in his new squad.
Mario started in all but three of Sporting Lisbon’s 34 league fixtures and chipped in six goals last season, building the foundation of a reputation he enhanced at Euro 2016.
The Portuguese has been watched by many top clubs including the Blues for much of his career, and Chelsea are now believed to be ready to follow up their long-term interest by offering £46 million for his services.
Reports suggesting Chelsea could make an official bid for the Portugal international follow rumours Jose Mourinho is seeking to reunite with Cesc Fabregas at Manchester United.
The Spaniard would leave a huge void in Conte’s midfield and it could be a stretch to suggest Mario is capable of being a ready-made replacement despite his undeniable talent.
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