Chelsea want talks with La Liga giants over dazzling playmaker - report
By Abigail Withey
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has his eye on Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto and is ready to contact the Spanish giants, according to a report.
Sport has revealed that the Blues boss wants to contact Nou Camp representatives and open talks in order to lure the playmaker to Stamford Bridge this summer.
The Spanish media outlet claims that the Italian coach wants to sign the 25-year-old to strengthen his squad’s midfield following the departure of Nemanja Matic, who moved to Manchester United earlier in the transfer window.
It is understood that there is a release clause in Roberto’s Barcelona contract worth around £36million and the La Liga side are not up for negotiating with the London side.
Roberto is said to want to stay at his boyhood club, after moving through the ranks of their infamous academy.
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However, it is also claimed that Chelsea are in no rush and want to wait to see how they kick-off the new league campaign before committing.
The 25-year-old worked through the development squads at Barca before moving up to the senior squad in 2013 where he has since made 152 appearances where he has scored six goals and provided a further 16 assists.
Football Insider verdict
Barcelona are in no rush to sell Roberto and Chelsea are in no rush to sign him. However, that could all change if Chelsea don’t get off to a fast start in the Premier League. The release clause is non negotiable but is a reasonable price for the 25-year-old, given the other deals that have gone through this summer. The Chelsea boss has been frustrated throughout the transfer window with the club’s lack of activity, and this could be a deal that goes through before the end of the window. Roberto is exactly what the London side need to improve their midfield as the 25-year-old plays comfortably in an attacking role, but also in more of a defensive position which would fill the void that Matic left.
In other Chelsea transfer news, three more players are set to arrive before the end of the summer transfer window.