If Kurt Zouma remains at the club and Chelsea sign Antonio Rudiger, Antonio Conte will have six centre-backs to choose from – Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Rudiger.
Azpilicueta, Luiz and Cahill were Conte’s first choice for the back three, but what will the likely coming of Rudiger signify?
German football expert Raphael Honigstein, believes it will be difficult for Rudiger to replace Cahill in Conte’s back three formation, after a wonderful last season.
“He’s made huge progress since moving to Roma from Stuttgart,” Honigstein said on ESPN FC of Rudiger.
“I think he’s very much benefited from Italian mentalities as far as defending is concerned.
“I think he benefits from the new fashion of three at the back, which helps his game. He’s been tried as a right-back in the past which wasn’t really his forte.
“I think with three at the back he’s not necessarily forced to be the guy bringing the ball out, there’s less pressure on him in comparison to having a back four to be really active. I think that’s where his game can really still improve.
“I think he’s had a great couple of years in terms of development and with a good coach and good team he can develop further. I don’t necessarily think he’s one of the best centre-backs in the world just yet.”
He added that the signing of Rudiger is a nice one but he won’t replace Cahill.
“I think Gary Cahill is very good. He’s not fashionable but he’s been a super, solid performer for Chelsea, maybe getting on a little bit,” Honigstein added.
“I don’t think it’s either or, I think it’s a case of Conte very clearly wanting more centre-backs because he likes three at the back so he needs at least five, so it makes a lot of sense bringing him in.”