Antonio Conte smiling post Arsenal win

Chelsea screw over Zenit with one phone call

Chelsea v Zenit

Poor Roberto Mancini.

The new Zenit St Petersburg manager has been frustrated in the transfer market by Chelsea, as the Blues are poised to snatch a defender from under the Russian club’s nose.

In news being reported in both England and Italy on Thursday, Chelsea have hijacked Zenit’s deal to sign Roma defender Kostas Manolas.

Manolas, 26, is under contract at the Stadio Olimpico until 2019, while he’s thought to command a 26 million pound transfer fee.

Last season the Greek international played 52 times for club and country. While he collected two assists for Roma in the league, he also picked up 12 yellow cards in Serie A.

One phone call

Italian daily Corriere dello Sport carry the Manolas-Chelsea-Zenit story on their front page on Thursday.

The splash confirms that Manolas has changed his mind and has backed out of a move to Zenit. Mancini is said to be “furious”, while the paper reported that the defender performed a u-turn on the Russians after one phone call from Chelsea.

Staying in Italy, Gazzetta dello Sport claim Manolas is now looking for a move to either Chelsea or Man United in the summer.

Would the Red Devils make a move having signed Victor Lindelof from Benfica?

As for the English perspective, the Telegraph report the following:

Manolas had been due to join Zenit for £26million on Wednesday, but a dispute over his wages has alerted Chelsea.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has made Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci his top central defensive targets, but knows both men will be hard to land.

It’s worth remembering that while Chelsea will be without John Terry next season, they’ll have a fresh centre-half option as Andreas Christensen returns to the club after a two year stint on loan at Gladbach.

As for Nathan Ake, he’s due to sign for Bournemouth in the next 48 hours.