On the lookout for centre-back reinforcements, Chelsea, who have had a £20m bid for Everton’s John Stones rejected this week, have turned their attentions to Italy.
According to Sky Sport Italia, the Blues have taken a shining to Roma’s Alessio Romagnoli and want the defender included in any deal that will see the Premier League champions’ unwanted winger Mo Salah loaned to the Serie A side.
Milan are keen admirers of the 20-year-old, who is rated as the brightest young stopper in the kingdom of calcio.
Roma value him at around £21m, a figure the Rossoneri have so far failed to match, which may enable Chelsea to muscle in on the move.
He may be considered a superstar in the making, but judging from last season’s statistics, Milan are right to harbour reservations regarding Romagnoli’s sky-high asking price.
He spent last season on loan at Sampdoria, where he proved an integral figure in the Genoa outfit’s ascent into seventh place, entitling them to Europa League football in 2015/16.
However, I Blucherchiati actually fared better in the fixtures they didn’t start the youngster, winning five, drawing six and losing none of the 11 encounters where he was omitted from the line up.
He started a considerably higher amount of games than he sat out (29 to 11), though Sampdoria’s win count only rose to nine when he was included, while the defeat count soared from zero to the same number.
In the 11 games Romagnoli missed across all competitions, the club recorded four clean sheets. While the figure doubled to eight when he did play, the figure is disproportionate given how many more games he started compared to those he missed.
As far as tackles made per match averages are concerned, there were three Sampdoria teammates who bettered his effort of 1.7, while his clearances made average of 6.3 fell short of the mean managed by colleague Matias Silvestre.
In terms of aerial duels won, two fellow members of Walter Zenga’s 2014/15 rearguard surpassed the relatively mediocre 1.7 achieved by Romagnoli too.
This inundation of substandard figures indicates the young Italian isn’t yet good enough to be considered the best defender in an upper mid-table Serie A side, so how can he expect to feature regularly for one battling for honours in the upper echelons?
It’s this which vindicates Milan’s unwillingness to match Roma’s lofty demands for his signature.