Chelsea are closing in on the capture of their first signing of the Antonio Conte era after they reportedly agreed a deal for Roma’s Radja Nainggolan.
The incoming manager made the combative Belgian midfielder his top transfer target for the summer after being confirmed as Guus Hiddink’s replacement.
Conte will not officially take charge until he has led Italy out at Euro 2016 in France, however he has been busy working behind the scenes ahead of his arrival.
Roma and Chelsea have been negotiating for several weeks now over Nainggolan and the Serie A club’s sporting director Walter Sabatini has been spotted at Stamford Bridge.
Nainggolan is a tenacious midfielder who Conte attempted to sign during his time at Juventus, with the Italian believing his all-action style will suit the Premier League.
Antonio Conte's rumoured Chelsea shopping list:
Chelsea’s midfield needs re-energising and question marks remain over how Nemanja Matic will fit into the new manager’s plans if the deal for Nainggolan goes through.
The two clubs have, according to The Mirror , settled on a fee of £28million after two days of talks after Roma reduced their asking price for the player.
Nainggolan is keen to make the move to west London and is said to have jumped at the chance of verbally agreeing a five-year contract with the Blues.
Nainggolan is likely to replace Chelsea stalwart John Obi Mikel after the Nigerian admitted he could leave the Bridge if he isn’t given regular football next season.
He said: "I have one more season with Chelsea but I know when this season ends, we will definitely sit down and try to sort out whatever needs to be sorted out.
"If it means me leaving, fine. If it means me staying, then I have to play because one thing I don't want to do is to sit on the bench like I did before.
"It's not very nice, especially now when you have kids you just want to do what you can to play.
"Wherever it is I just want to play. When this season ends we will definitely sort out the contracts.
"Legacy is important and I'm very proud and happy that I've kept this legacy to be able to achieve what I have achieved."
The £28million deal for Nainggolan cannot be officially signed off until the re-opening of the transfer window on July 1 as the Blues prepare for a rebuilding project.