Italian club AC Milan have released a statement on their website and Twitter confirming that they have rejected a ‘significant bid’ from Chelsea for their 21-year-old defender Alessio Romagnoli, re-affirming that the player is not for sale.
Earlier in the week the Blues reportedly offered £30 million for the centre-back, an offer that was quickly rejected by the Rossoneri. The youngster only arrived from Roma last summer in a deal believed to be around £21.25 million.
Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte is determined to add to his Chelsea team, having only brought in two signings so far. Despite spending over £60 million on transfers the former Italy national manager has only signed Michy Bashuayi from Marseille and N’Golo Kante from defending Premier League champions Leicester City.
That is the context in which the Italian have the go-ahead for an improved £35 million offer for the Italy Under-21 international. He made his debut in Serie A as a seventeen year old and has so far made 77 appearances for Sampdoria, Milan and Roma. AC were quick to rebuff the London club’s advances, however, stating on their website, “The player is not for sale, therefore this negotiation will not continue”.
Milan’s directors have declared that the player is unsellable, with the club’s Twitter account sending a message to its followers saying, “#ACMilan has received a significant offer for its player Alessio Romagnoli from @ChelseaFC, but the player is not for sale”.
The youngster made 34 appearances for AC last season and some members of the Italian press have compared him to Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta. It is unclear whether the Milanese club are definitely unlikely to sell the defender, however, or whether some of this is part of the bargaining process. After all, Chelsea’s bid was only increased with add-ons rather than being an increased cash offer.
Antonio Conte is looking to strengthen his backline owing to the ageing nature of some of his main players, such as John Terry, as well as the long-term knee injury suffered by Kurt Zouma. In the aftermath of Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Watford at the weekend the manager said, “If you look now at our squad, we have only five defenders – four that started today and an academy player Ola Aina. Ola is very good – he has great potential – but with any young player you must work to put them in the first team. Sure, he has a good future. If one defender is injured or banned, then we are in trouble, but the club and me we know this and we are talking every day to improve the squad”.
It’s believed that Conte turned his attention to Romagnoli after the Blues had a £38 million bid for Kalidou Koulibaly turned down by Napoli towards the end of last month. Now he has just six days to find a suitable addition to his backline before the transfer window slams shut.