Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have made strides in their battle to be crowned Premier League champions of late; firstly with the signature of midfield lynchpin Nemanja Matic, and then recording a morale-boosting victory over Manchester United on Sunday.
However, a reported Blues target looks set to slip the net, as the west Londoners look destined to miss out on Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia.
The west London club has been widely reported as being interested in the Italy international, with Mourinho believed to be weighing up a move to raid his former club.
However, consistent reports in Italy are claiming that Borussia Dortmund have made real strides in the race for Ranocchia’s signature after touching base with Walter Mazzarri’s men with a formal offer.
Sky Sport Italia claim that Jurgen Klopp’s men lead the chase for the central defender, who has also reciprocated and expressed an interest in a move to Signa Iduna Park.
Dortmund are currently suffering horrendous injury worries at the back, forcing them to sign veteran Manuel Friedrich as a stop-gap earlier this season. Key centre-half Mats Hummels remains on the sidelines due to injury.
A fee in the region of €10 million is being touted to send the ex-Genoa defender to the Bundesliga, with a switch looking increasingly likely.
However, should Ranocchia move to Dortmund, would it be a blow for Chelsea?
Although Mourinho has a star-studded squad at his disposal, the strength in depth at centre-half is not as comprehensive as at other title-chasing clubs.
Captain John Terry is a mainstay in the London side, with David Luiz and Gary Cahill rotating as the skipper’s partner. However, with the Brazilian being deployed as a defensive midfielder on occasion, it further reduces Chelsea’s options.
There is an argument that Branislav Ivanovic could play in the heart of the defence if needed, but the Blues boss seems to prefer the Serb at right-back.
As far as defenders go, Ranocchia has plenty of experience in playing at the highest level, and is versatile enough to play in a number of positions across the back four.
However, there have been concerns in the past over his concentration and susceptibility to making mistakes, and as such he is similar to someone like Luiz; brilliant one day and a frustration the next.
Although there is no doubt that Ranocchia has the pedigree to play in the Premier League and could be a good option for Chelsea, Mourinho will have plenty of other defenders to select from should he wish to bolster his rearguard.