CHELSEA are hoping to secure Matthijs de Ligt or Nathan Ake THIS WEEK, according to reports.
The Blues are still awaiting their first signing of the summer and first since Todd Boehly took over the club from Roman Abramovich.
And the centre of defence has been identified as an area which desperately needs strengthening.
Thomas Tuchel has already watched both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leave on free transfers.
And Cesar Azpilicueta could still depart before the start of the season as he is being heavily linked with Barcelona.
According to the Evening Standard, Juventus star De Ligt and Man City defender Ake are the two players Chelsea are in negotiations with.
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They originally had swap deals involving the likes of Jorginho and Timo Werner rejected by Juventus.
And the Italian giants were adamant they wanted his £103million release clause paid in full.
Now they are more flexible on the price, but Bayern Munich could yet leapfrog Chelsea to snatch the centre-half away from Stamford Bridge.
The German champions do not want to get involved in a bidding war, so both coach Julien Nagelsmann and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic have reportedly contacted the player about him rejecting a bid from Chelsea and signing for them instead.
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It was reported earlier this week that 22-year-old De Ligt, who appears to be against extending his Juventus contract beyond 2024, is enticed by the possibility of joining Bayern for around £69m.
If Chelsea do fail in their pursuit of the former Ajax man then they may turn to ex-Blues defender Ake.
The 27-year-old came through as a teenager at Stamford Bridge but left to join Bournemouth for £20m in 2017.
After an impressive three-year spell on the south coast, he then joined Man City for £41m in 2020.
The Premier League champions are keen to recoup what they spent on him two years ago, but that is not thought to be a stumbling block in Chelsea's pursuit of him.
The main issue surrounding the deal is City's desire to secure a replacement before offloading the Dutchman.
Ake could be one of two players who leave the Etihad for Stamford Bridge in the coming days, with Raheem Sterling also heavily linked with a switch.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are also being discussed as possible targets.
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