Another international break, another clutch of crazy headlines.

If reports of a £60m New Year raid of Juventus for Leonardo Bonucci were not outlandish enough, we are now being asked to believe that this may end up being a swap deal involving Eden Hazard going the other way.

Though this start-stop Premier League season is only seven games old, it is already clear that Chelsea are desperate for a player just like Bonucci.

A commanding and well organised defender, who can link well with midfield – he is exactly the sort of player the club tried, and failed to sign in the summer.

In fact he is the actual player they tried to sign – and neither he, nor Juventus were interested in playing ball.

When you have a player like Bonucci, a man around whom you can build the back half of any team, mere money counts for little.

Target: Leonardo Bonucci

Especially when you have as much of the stuff as Juventus currently do.

Hence the stories linking him with a deal involving the Blues' prize asset going the other way.

But surely Chelsea wouldn't drop a talent as great as Hazard, just to shore up the defence, would they?

It's actually not as crazy an idea as it might sound.

Chelsea desperation for defensive order cannot be understated. It is the issue at the heart of all of their problems at the moment, and the top priority for Antonio Conte to solve.

Conte is a man who is one jack short of a royal flush, and it doesn't matter how many kings you offer him – none of them will win this hand.

Bonucci is that jack.

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The departure of Hazard, meanwhile, is seen less as a possibility than an inevitability.

The question is when, rather than if the Belgian sets off for pastures new.

His valuation, once as high as £100m, has fallen dramatically – even in a market as overheated as this.

But Hazard's main value is in the talent, rather than the money his departure might deliver Chelsea.

And the loss of Hazard would be less of a detriment to Conte's Chelsea than the gain in shape and structure that the arrival of Bonucci would bring.

So could this most outlandish of claims, a January switch for two of Europe's most sought-after talents, be closer to the truth than it might initially seen?

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Well, just because a deal like this might make sense for Chelsea, that may not be the case for their Italian trading partners.

There was no mood to sell the defender in the summer, and little has changed for Juventus since.

Plus there is the little local difficulty of Bonucci's age: at 29, he is perilously close to the vintage where Chelsea don't like to offer long term deals.

Yes, he is older than Hazard: but he also inhabits an on-pitch position where talent matures, and careers tend to go on longer.

But this biggest stumbling block may simply be one of timing: major January signings are the last resort of the desperate.

And, while that may presently apply to Chelsea's fortunes, it certainly isn't the case when it comes to Juventus.

Conte needs a player like Bonucci, and he needs one fast: but he will have to use incredible powers of persuasion, including riches which simply may not be available to him, for it to end up being the man himself.