Antonio Conte held secret talks with Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal over a move to Chelsea next summer, according to reports.
The Sun claim that the Chelsea boss spoke to the Chile international on Boxing Day, while the Premier League leaders are ready to submit a £34 million offer, although Bayern will hold out for a fee closer to £40m.
Conte has also switched targets from Radja Nainggolan to Vidal after Chelsea balked at Roma’s £51.5m asking price.
Vidal was signed by Conte for Juventus in 2011 and won three Serie A titles together during their time at the club.
When asked about linking back up with Conte at Chelsea, Vidal said in March: ‘I have also said if I go to war I would take Conte with me.
‘We will see what happens.’
Vidal has struggled with injuries at Bayern this season and has started only nine Bundesliga games so far this season.
David Luiz praises possible Oscar replacement
Chelsea ace David Luiz has heaped praise on Charly Musonda following the youngster’s return to Stamford Bridge.
Musonda impressed in his first loan move to Real Betis last season but was recalled early by Antonio Conte last month off the back of a frustrating start to the 2016/17 campaign.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder is being tipped as a potential replacement for the China-bound Oscar who will leave the Blues for around £60million in the January transfer window.
‘Little boy with a big talent! God bless u bro,’ Luiz rote on Instagram, alongside a photograph with his young team-mate.
Musonda responded on his profile: ‘May God Bless you always big bro, inspiration.’
On Musonda’s return to the first-team, Antonio Conte said: ‘Kenedy and Musonda went back from their loan because they didn’t play a lot.
‘For this reason, I think it’s important to stay with us in these weeks to evaluate the best situation for them and for the team.
‘In January, it’s not easy, with the club we are talking for us, if there’s a possibility to find the best solution for our squad.’
Wenger praises Chelsea star for stabilising the Blues’ defence
Arsene Wenger thinks that Chelsea are clear favourites for the Premier League title. Furthermore, Wenger also hailed David Luiz for “stabilising” the Blues’ defence.
Chelsea currently hold a six-point lead over their closest rivals Liverpool, but Wenger insists their gap isn’t unassailable.
“At the moment Chelsea is the super-favourite because they are quite big and made a big difference. But it is theirs to lose as we say here in England,” Wenger said, as reported by Arsenal’s official website.
Chelsea’s victory over Bournemouth on Boxing Day was their twelfth consecutive win in the Premier League, meaning their just two wins away from equaling Arsenal’s record of 14.
“They can still lose it, at the moment they have won it but they can still lose it. It’s still a long way to go and very difficult for everybody so the head-to-head games [between the biggest teams] will have a vital importance,” Wenger continued to say.
Since Wenger’s side defeated Chelsea in September, the league leaders changed to a 3-4-3 formation and have won 12 of their Premier League fixtures since, conceding just twice.
The Arsenal boss has praised boss Antonio Conte and paid special tribute to Luiz.
Wenger said: “Chelsea have addressed their problems well. You have to give credit to Conte for finding a solution that has balanced well his team. They bought David Luiz who stabilised their defensive record and I think overall they are the team that has been the most consistent until now.
Chelsea host Stoke on Saturday knowing three points will extend their lead at the top to nine points, with Liverpool hosting Manchester City later in the day.