Chelsea are determined to battle Premier League rivals Manchester City in the race to sign Juventus central defender Leonardo Bonucci, reported the ​Mirror.

City are willing to offer as much as £51m for the Italian, who has become a key player for both the Bianconeri and the Italian national team over the last few years. He’s recognised as one of the best defenders in Europe as it stands, and was impressive for the Azzurri at Euro 2016.

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New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has managed the player during both his time at Juventus and while in charge of the Italian national team, and is keen to reunite with him. However, Pep Guardiola’s City are reported to be ready to spend a huge amount of money if it means they’re able to get their hands on the 29-year-old.

Guardiola himself admitted only earlier this year that Bonucci is one of his “favourite ever players” and it looks as though the two coaches are prepared to go head-to-head to bring Bonucci to the Premier League.


His side had a bid worth £38m turned down by the Italian champions earlier in the week, but their willingness to go as high as £51m indicates their desire to land him. City do hold the advantage of being able to offer the player Champions League football next season, though Chelsea’s advantage comes through Conte’s presence at Stamford Bridge.

City have also been linked with Everton centre half John Stones, while Chelsea are considering Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli as an alternative.

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