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    Chelsea knocked back in bid for Juventus defender


    As per a report from Italian outlet La Gazzetta Dello Sport this morning, Premier League giants Chelsea have seen an offer for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani rejected by the Serie A champions.

    Highly-rated

    Rugani, a 23-year-old central defender, has long been regarded as one of the most gifted young stoppers in Europe, and has already established himself as a regular in Italy’s international setup.

    However, despite impressing every time he takes to the pitch, Rugani has often found game-time hard to come by at the Juventus Stadium, with the presence of the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and the rejuvenated Medhi Benatia at the club having made life difficult for the former Empoli youngster.

    Exit links

    As such, Rugani has inevitably been linked with a possible departure from the Serie A champions over the last couple of seasons, with a number of Europe’s top clubs having been named as admirers.

    BERGAMO, ITALY – OCTOBER 01: Federico Bernardeschi of Juventus FC (C) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and Juventus at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia on October 1, 2017 in Bergamo, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

    Premier League outfit Arsenal were previously the side most persistently linked with a bid for the 7-time capped Azzurri international, with the North Londoners having been openly chasing central defensive additions during the January transfer window.

    Stamford Bridge bound?

    But, as per mounting reports in Italy over the last fortnight, claims have since emerged that Rugani could in fact be set for a surprise move to Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea over the coming months.

    The rumour initially arose due to the expected appointment of Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge this summer, with the Italian having managed Rugani during his time spent with Empoli, and followed his fellow countryman’s progress at Juventus ever since.

    As such, it has been reported that, if eventually named Chelsea boss, Sarri will look to revamp the centre of the Blues’ defence, with Rugani a key target for the chain-smoking tactician.

    Discussions

    Rugani’s agent, Davide Torchia, was then spotted entering a meeting with Juve Sporting Director Fabio Paratici in Milan last Thursday evening, sparking immediate rumours throughout the Italian media that Chelsea’s interest in the Italian was already under discussion:

    Shut down

    However, speaking in an interview with Sportitalia a short time later, Torchia dismissed such claims, explaining that the meeting between he and Paratici had been scheduled long before links with Chelsea emerged:

    ‘I know that nobody will believe me, but I met with Paratici because it was already scheduled. I didn’t know there was going to be this storm the day before.’

    ‘We talked about how to improve the player and what to do going forward, but we didn’t set up any negotiations.’

    ‘He is happy to be there and Juve are happy with him. It was purely a coincidence we had this meeting after those reports. I can assure you we did not talk about Chelsea.’

    Rebuffed

    Nevertheless, despite Torchia’s claims to the contrary, rumours have continued to circulate in Italy that Juventus could part with Rugani this summer, with Stamford Bridge his most likely destination.

    And, as per the aforementioned report from La Gazzetta Dello Sport today, the Bianconeri are said to have knocked back an opening of bid of 30 million Euro from Chelsea for Rugani.

    The report goes on to claim that the Italian stopper is no longer considered non-transferable, and that an offer of 40 million Euro would likely push a deal over the line.

    The perennial Serie A champions are even rumoured to already have Rugani’s replacement lined up, in the form of prodigious Ajax starlet Matthijs De Ligt.

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