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9 players who Chelsea could realistically sign this summer

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7. Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid)

Spanish and European champions Real Madrid don’t really need to splash the cash this summer, but it’s not really in their nature to let others have all the fun. At the very least, they’ll likely need to replace the likes of Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez, who are both rumoured to be on their way out of the Santiago Bernabeu.

Kovacic is another whose future is uncertain. The former Inter man has generally played well when called upon by los Blancos, yet he surely won’t be content with a bit-part role again next term. Able to play in a variety of midfield roles, Kovacic has the talent to thrive under Conte, who was thought to be an admirer of the 23-year-old during his time in Serie A.

Croatia international Kovacic seems surplus to requirements at Real Madrid

8. Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Boyhood Chelsea fan Shaw was linked with the Blues during his Southampton days, but ultimately opted for United in 2014. What seemed like a dream move at the time has proved disastrous, however. The England international suffered a horrific leg break during Louis van Gaal’s time in charge, before becoming Jose Mourinho’s favourite punchbag last season.

Shaw is a lifelong Chelsea fan

Left wing-back Marcos Alonso surprised many with his fantastic showings under Conte, but there are doubts over whether he’ll be able to sustain such a high level of performance next year.

A young, English player like Shaw would usually cost top dollar, but Mourinho may be willing to sanction a cut-price departure given the circumstances.

9. Stefano Sensi (Sassuolo)

Sensi could provide valuable back-up to N'Golo Kante

Having lost Oscar to the Chinese Super League midway through the 2016/17 campaign, Conte may need to bolster his midfield options ahead of the new season.

The 21-year-old Sensi probably wouldn’t be ready to start week in, week out for the Premier League champions, but he’d certainly be good enough to feature now and again, particularly as Chelsea will have the additional strain of European football to deal with.

The 5ft 6in Italian operates best as a deep-lying playmaker and has been compared to compatriot Marco Verratti for his range of passing and burst of acceleration. 

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