CHELSEA manager Maurizio Sarri will look to bring in a defender in the January transfer window, according to reports.
The Blues are neck-and-neck with defending Premier League champions Manchester City and Liverpool in the title race.
Sarri’s side were expected to suffer a hangover from a hectic summer in which the Italian manager was only appointed four weeks before the season despite being long expected to replace Antonio Conte with his compatriot.
Yet inspired by Eden Hazard’s excellent start to the season – with seven goals in eight top-flight matches – Chelsea are level on 20 points with City and Liverpool with all three sides unbeaten.
Publicly, Sarri has declared that the two north west clubs are a “step forward” of the Londoners and suggested that Chelsea will be some way off of the pair.
But according to the Telegraph, Sarri will tell the Chelsea hierarchy that they are at least one defender short of being able to overcome their title rivals this season.
It is claimed that AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli is a long-term target while Chelsea were also linked to Juventus duo Daniele Rugani and Mattia Caldara as well as Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer.
Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz have been Sarri’s first-choice centre-back parternship this season, starting every league game together.
Former captain Gary Cahill has made just one league appearance, that only due to a Rudiger injury late on in a goalless draw at West Ham.
The veteran Englishman has hinted at a possible January departure, insisting: “I’m not a guy who is willing to accept not playing.”
And that has been followed by similar comments from Andreas Christensen, whose minutes have been limited to cup competitions having made 27 league appearances under Conte last season.
Speaking to Danish publication BT, he admitted: “I can’t stand having to have so much patience again. I’m 22 years old now and I really want to play.
“In the last three seasons I’ve played regularly for the teams I’ve been at, so of course I don’t see myself staying if my current situation remains the same in the future.”
Rudiger, meanwhile, has provided an update on the injury which required treatment from medical staff after Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Southampton at the weekend.
The German has pulled out of international duty in hope of returning to fitness ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United after the international break.
“I won’t be available for the German national team for the upcoming two matches due to a groin problem,” Rudiger said on Twitter.
“I will do some individual training sessions during the international break and I am confident to be back soon. Best of luck to my German teammates for the next two games.”