AC Milan have confirmed on their official TV channel that they have rejected a bid “in excess of €25 million” for defender Alessio Romagnoli from Chelsea.
Reports in Italy on Monday claimed that Chelsea had turned their attentions to Romagnoli, having been frustrated by Napoli’s stance on their lengthy pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly.
Milan subsequently confirmed that they have rebuffed an approach from Chelsea for the 21-year-old, who moved to San Siro in a €25m deal from Roma last summer, while La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that CEO Adriano Galliani informed the Blues that Romagnoli is “unsellable.”
It is unclear as yet whether Chelsea will increase their offer, reported to be £30m, but Conte’s options for a high-profile central defensive recruit appear to be shrinking amid reports that Koulibaly is close signing a two-year contract extension with Napoli.
Torino centre-back Nikola Maksimovic is also said to be on Conte’s radar, and last week boss Sinisa Mihajlovic criticised the 24-year-old for failing to present himself for training amid reported interest from Chelsea and Napoli.
Conte overlooked Romagnoli when picking his 23-man Italy squad for Euro 2016, but the 21-year-old is regarded as one of the brightest defensive prospects in Serie A. Roma would be entitled to 30 percent of any fee if their former player leaves Milan in a deal worth in excess of €25m, according to Gazzetta.
Speaking after Saturday’s victory over Watford at Vicarage Road, Conte stressed Chelsea’s need for defensive reinforcements before the end of August.
“If you look now at our squad, we have only five defenders — four that started today and an academy player, [Ola] Aina,” Conte said. “If one defender is injured or banned, then we are in trouble, but the club and I know this and we are talking every day to improve the squad.
“We know that this market is very difficult. It’s crazy. I don’t want to buy only to buy. I want to buy the right profile for Chelsea, the right investment for the solution and for the future.”