With a little over 24 hours remaining before the summer transfer window slams shut, Antonio Conte and Chelsea are doing their best to complete some last minute business.
After several weeks of frustration in the search for defensive cover, they finally look ready to address their issues at full-back with the signing of Marco Alonso from Fiorentina.
However, with the search for a new centre-back to compete with John Terry and Gary Cahill set to go to the wire, reports today suggest the Stamford Bridge club have been forced into a change of tactics.
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According to the Telegraph, Conte and co. have given up hope of signing a central defender on a permanent deal and, instead, are focusing on bringing in someone on loan before the window closes at 11 pm tomorrow.
After chasing Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly for much of the summer, and, more recently, seeing offers rebuffed for AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli - not to mention reported interest in Stefan de Vrij and Ezequiel Garay - Chelsea appear to have exhausted their list of potential centre-back signings.
Considering they were being quoted in excess of £60 million for Koulibaly and £40 million for the 21-year-old Romagnoli, it is perhaps no surprise that they've given up trying to spend Roman Abrahmovich's money.
Instead, the loan market could be Conte's best option as he looks to increase the depth at the CB position.
At present, Terry and Cahill are the club's only fit senior centre-backs, with Kurt Zouma still out injured and Branislav Ivanovic acting as an emergency option.
Just who the club has in mind as a short-term option, however, is unclear at this stage. There is likely to be some frantic movement over the next 24 hours or so, but no immediate names stick out.
Unless, of course, you believe that Liverpool would be willing to allow Mamadou Sakho - a man they want to see play regularly away from Anfield this season - to join one of their Premier League rivals.
In reality, though, the news is a signal to fans of the west London club that they won't be seeing the centre-back of the future arriving this summer. That, it seems, will have to wait.
Again per the Telegraph, the loan signing Chelsea are hopeful of making would likely only last until the new year when the club would once again look to address the centre-back issue in the January transfer window.
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