Prominent Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has provided an update on Chelsea’s pursuit of Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
The Belgian international has been the subject of intense speculation recently as doubts have resurfaced over Roma’s ability to keep hold of the player, and it looks as though an exit may be on the cards.
According to Di Marzio, Chelsea have submitted an improved offer of €32m for the 28 year old (having seen a €28m bid flatly rejected), but with Roma holding out for €45m, the 2015 Premier League champions have a decision to make. He is believed to be one of Anotnio Conte’s key transfer targets this summer, so a renewed bid is almost certainly forthcoming.
Last week, Gazzetta dello Sport Nicolo Schira alleged that Nainggolan would spurn Chelsea’s advances in favour of staying at the Olimpico, or if he did go to the Premier League it would ideally be to José Mourinho’s Manchester United.
However, in the last day or so the player himself has been speaking openly about the move, admitting that he and new Blues manager Conte have been speaking about a potential deal.
In quotes picked up by the Guardian (among others), Naiggolan revealed that while he still has his doubts about leaving Italy after twelve years, the conversations with Conte, as well as Chelsea-based Belgian internationals Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, are starting to turn his head:
“[Conte] already wanted me when he was the Juve manager, but I’d already said I would never leave Roma for Juve, Now he tries to get me to Chelsea.
“Conte told me what he expects from me and what type of player I can be for him.
I can be important for a team. A manager who appreciates that is important for me. But they [Hazard and Courtois] have also told me to join them.”
“I know Chelsea are a big club, but I have to take several things into account,
“People have already been saying for 10 years that I will be joining this team or that team, but I’ve only played for three clubs so far. You could say: ‘Why not try it in England?’ But you can ask the question the other way too: ‘Why would I leave everything behind to fail over there?’“
Nainggolan and Conte are set to face off against each other later this month, Belgium take on Italy in the European Championships in Lyon next Monday. Moreover, any agreement on a move is not likely to come until after the tournament.
Roma are likely to cash in on either Nainggolan or Miralem Pjanić this summer. Their initial plan was to make a profit on €9m defender Antonio Rüdiger, but an ACL injury suffered by the German international means that one of the other two (if not both) is likely to be sold.
Manchester United have been linked with a move for Pjanić, though reports in Italy yesterday suggested that Juventus were looking to tie up a €30m deal in the near future.