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Chelsea Lining Up Move For Top Liverpool Defensive Target [ESPN]

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Jonas Hector of Germany signals during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

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The stories linking Cologne left-back Jonas Hector with Liverpool have been running for most of the summer, but a report today suggests that while he may end up in England, it could be to a rival club.

ESPN are reporting that Hector is now on the radar of Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, now on the lookout for a left-sided defender having allowed Baba Rahman to join Schalke on loan.

César Azpilicueta has begun this season on the left, a position he has made his own recently, but he began his career as a right-back and that is where Conte ultimately sees him. The patchy form of Branislav Ivanovic has only confirmed Conte’s belief that the Spanish international needs to return to his natural position soon.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 3: Cesar Azpilicueta #28 of Chelsea and Jesus Fernandez #8 of AC Milan go after the ball during the second half of the International Champions Cup match on August 3, 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chelsea defeat AC Milan 3-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Hecotr has seen his reputation soar in the past year, establishing himself as Germany’s first choice left-back just in time for the recent European Championships.

However, the 26-year-old extended his contract at Cologne only last week – not a dead end for any prospective buyers, but a big obstacle nonetheless. Indeed, it would now take a much larger offer to entice the Bundesliga club to sell than it would have even a fortnight ago.

Liverpool, for their part, have never actually publicly acknowledged interest in Hector, despite the countless reports linking them with the player.

The only hint that they were looking for competition for the under-fire Alberto Moreno was the failed bid for Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell. He too signed a new contract so the move never materialised.

That being said, the departures of José Enrique, Brad Smith and Jon Flanagan (temporarily) have left them remarkably light in that department.

Kitzbuehel, Oesterreich, 31.07.2016, Trainingslager 1. FC Koeln, Jonas Hector (koeln) (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Other than that, Jurgen Klopp’s actions seem to suggest that he will persevere with Moreno for the time being, even after last weekend’s abject showing in the 4-3 win at Arsenal.

Chelsea do need a new full-back, the opposite side of wherever Azpilicueta plays this season, so it would not be a surprise to see Conte make a late move for Hector before the window closes in two weeks’ time.

Rumour ranking 3 - MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT

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Author: The PA Team

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