Chelsea are moving nearer to having the squad Antonio Conte wants and feels he needs to challenge once more for the Premier League and Champions League titles next season.
But he is still after more, despite the club-record arrival of Alvaro Morata and Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko also arriving to put Chelsea’s spending above the £100m barrier.
Conte still wants wide players, namely players he feel can offer competition to Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso in the wing-back roles, while also potentially looking to address the central defensive, central midfield and centre forward roles still further.
But the priority lies out wide, where Chelsea felt they had a chance of securing a deal for Real Madrid’s Danilo, only for Manchester City to come and snare the Brazilian and thwart the Blues’ attempts of landing him.
Their attention will now turn back to negotiations for one of their other top targets in Alex Sandro, a player who would command a world-record fee for a defender, even after deals for the likes of Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker – other defensive signings at City.
Sandro could cost in the region of £61m and Juventus have been digging their heels in as they are understandably reluctant to allow a world-class performer in the left-wing-back position depart this summer.
The Brazilian has become a key player for Massimiliano Allegri’s side and Chelsea’s continued interest in the player confirms they are wiling to go to great lengths to ensure they capture his signature.
A move has been placed on the backburner in recent weeks while the Blues pursued the signings of Bakayoko and Morata but now those have been confirmed, Chelsea’s attentions will switch to the wing-back areas.
They have strengthened throughout the centre of their team entirely with four incomings in total with the addition of Willy Caballero and only the inside forward roles off of the main striker are yet to be bolstered this summer.
But Conte’s focus lies in giving Moses and Alonso the competition he believes is required to challenge on multiple fronts and while Danilo’s decision to move to City from Madrid is a blow, it will only strengthen their desire to ensure they can complete the purchase of Sandro.
The 26-year-old has been involved in Juve’s own pre-season tour of the US and has been offered a new contract by his current club but is minded to bide his time in the transfer window, with Chelsea readying a wage offer which will rival what the Serie A side put down on the table.
Manchester City were rumoured to be keeping a watchful eye on the situation but the signing of Mendy rules them out from the race, though they may contemplate a move for a player also linked with Chelsea in former Blues full-back Ryan Bertrand from Southampton.
Conte urged the club to back him more in the window in the wake of the 3-0 win over Arsenal in Beijing, with the initial 25-man squad taken on tour proving the dearth of first-team options available to the manager.
“We are a great club but we are in a moment where we can’t make a mistake,” he said.
“We need to improve and increase our squad and to be something important for the present but also for our future.
“We must improve with new buys. To try to reach the same level of the other teams who stayed at the top. But they are working with these players for many years.
“Now we have to try to create this space [from the rest], to create these players to have 15 or 16 players and then every season we must add one piece, two piece to create a team ready to always stay at the top.
“We have to create solid foundations for this club.
“Last season I utilised only 13 players regularly and we won the league and arrived at the final of the FA Cup.
“You can see that only 13 players made more than 10 appearances last season and it means that we have to improve our squad but my club knows this very well and we have to try to find the best solution.”