Chelsea will step up their pursuit of Napoli fullback Elseid Hysaj in the January transfer window, according to reports in Italy.
The Albanian international, who has also been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United, has worked with Maurizio Sarri at both the Partenopei and Empoli. The Blue boss is said to be keen to link up with the right-back for a third time.
Chelsea are concerned about potential sanctions from FIFA over past transfers and are looking to secure a number of deals in January before a possible ban.
Hysaj reportedly has a €50m (£44.5m) release clause but it is believed the Blues will offer to loan back the defender for the rest of the season in order to lower the asking price.
The fullback’s agent has added fuel to the fire that the player could soon be moving to London. When asked about the links to Chelsea by Italian radio, Mario Giuffredi said:
“Let’s see, maybe. There’s a market for poor players… Since people consider him not worthy of Napoli, maybe he can go there. Maybe that tells you he’s not so bad.”
Hysaj has been criticised by sections of the media in Naples, which could hasten the 24-year-old’s departure from the Serie A club. He is still a regular under current coach Carlo Ancelotti, having started 12 of Napoli’s 14 league matches this season.