Chelsea finalise £23 million move for Marcos Alonso, and look to loan market for central defender
Chelsea will complete the signing of full-back Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina and are ready to enter the loan market as they attempt to land central defensive cover before the transfer window shuts on Wednesday.
Former Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland left-back Alonso has agreed to join Chelsea for £23 million and travelled to London on Tuesday night to boost head coach Antonio Conte's defensive options.
C onte believes Alonso will offer his side better balance, as he is genuinely left-footed, and gives him the option of moving Cesar Azpilicueta to the right and using Branislav Ivanovic as an emergency central defender when needed.
Chelsea have seen a number of big bids rejected for central defenders, including Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and AC Milan's Alessio Romagnoli, which has forced them to look at alternative options.
Kalidou Koulibaly is a Chelsea target CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
S tefan de Vrij and Ezequiel Garay have been linked with Chelsea over recent days, but Telegraph Sport understands neither player will be moving to Stamford Bridge before Wednesday's deadline.
Instead, the Blues are now looking at bringing a central defender in on loan for the rest of the season as cover for captain John Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma, when he returns from injury in the next month.
A short-term solution to their lack of strength in depth will allow Chelsea to reassess the transfer market again in January or next summer and also give them space to bring back highly-rated Andreas Christensen from his loan at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Other than attempting to sign defenders, Chelsea have also been looking at boosting their numbers in midfield but a move for Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic has stalled.
Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic CREDIT: AFP
I t is understood there are complicated ownership issues surrounding Brozovic that make it difficult for Chelsea to complete a deal before Wednesday's deadline.
Should, as expected, Croatia international Brozovic stay at Inter or move elsewhere then Chelsea are likely to stick with what they have got in midfield, having turned down enquiries from European clubs to take Cesc Fabregas on loan.
Chelsea have also turned down an approach from Sunderland to sign back-up goalkeeper Asmir Begovic on loan for the rest of the season.
Striker Loic Remy has, however, been allowed to join Crystal Palace on loan for the remainder of the campaign and Juventus hope to clinch an agreement to re-sign winger Juan Cuadrado.
Loic Remy has joined Crystal Palace on loan
C onte had been keen to keep Cuadrado at the club, but the 28-year-old wants to return to Italy and Juve are working on a season-long loan with a commitment to buy the player.
Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Diego Costa has admitted that he would have relished a return to Atletico Madrid this summer.
Atletico made no secret of their attempt to re-sign Costa and Chelsea twice wrote to the Spanish club to warn them off.
Costa wanted the move to happen, but insists he is now happy to spend another season at Stamford Bridge under Conte.
Diego Costa has admitted he wanted to leave Chelsea this summer CREDIT: REX FEATURES
“The truth is that I had hopes of returning (to Atletico), I won’t lie,” said Costa. “Everyone knew there was the possibility to return, it wasn’t to be because of some details.
“Right now I’m at Chelsea, I’m happy there and the League has started. I hope Atleti do very well like last season and win some titles.
“Everybody knows what happened with me there (in England), with the language, the climate, etc… but I can’t complain because the fans love me, Chelsea respect me.
“Now things are how they are, I wish the best for Atletico, but I have to do my job (at Chelsea).”