Chelsea have reportedly stepped up their interest in Hellas Verona’s central defender Marash Kumbulla.
The Blues are one of several elite European clubs monitoring the Serie A prospect and have now been touted with showing concrete interest in the 20-year-old.
He is highly regarded in Italy, having made 18 Serie A appearances for eighth-placed Hellas this season.
And Corriere dello Sport report that the Blues have made a move towards signing the Albanian star as they look to get the jump on the competition.
Inter Milan have previously been considered as favourites in the race for his signature, although Lazio are now said to be the Blues’ main competition.
Reports from Italy earlier this month also claimed that Arsenal, Everton and RB Leipzig were in contention for the player who has been compared to a ‘young Giorgio Chiellini’.
Corriere dello Sport also throw Borussia Dortmund into the mix but state Lazio believe a move to Rome makes the most sense for Kumbulla.
But if it comes down to money, the Blues are thought to be in the driving seat with Marash reportedly set to cost at least €20m (£18m).
FCInterNews even went so far as to value the impressive defender at €30m (£27m) earlier this month.
Guaranteed playing time may be harder to come by at Stamford Bridge, where there is fierce competition for places in central defence.
However, he may fancy himself to make an impact at the club where the latest generation of youth talent has been handed a chance to impress under the latest regime.