According to reports in The Express, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is lining up a move for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo – who could cost more than £150m – in order to keep Antonio Conte at the club.
“He feels he’s honest, has good character and did everything OK”, the BBC quoted its source as saying.
Ronaldo’s staff did not immediately respond to messages asking for a comment.
Ronaldo has reportedly told his Portugal team-mates that he is “determined” to walk away from the Spanish giants and “there is no going back”.
Chelsea have also been linked with the Ballon d’Or victor, although Madrid remain determined to persuade Ronaldo to stay put.
He has completed eight seasons at Real since joining them from Manchester United in 2009 for a then world-record fee of €96 million.
The rumours of a possible transfer back to England by the two-time Ballon d’Or victor started after a report surfaced that Spanish authorities have accused the 32-year-old of avoiding £14.7m in taxes.
Losing Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo would be “an irreparable loss” for La Liga, according to the division’s president Javier Tebas.
In an interview with La Sexta, Tebas also stated his belief that the charges will prove to be unfounded, amid rumours of a return to Manchester United or a switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
Ronaldo’s advisers, though, have been told to find him a new club outside Spain because he is angry after being accused of evading tax of 14.7m euros (£13m) between 2011 and 2014.
“Always, man”, Ronaldo said Wednesday before he travelled to Russian Federation with the Portuguese national team for the Confederations Cup.
The story also claims that Real Madrid are working to try and convince Ronaldo to change his mind about leaving the club.
With the staggering development, the possible availability of Ronaldo, one of the world’s most marketable players, is bound to alert a number of top clubs, including the big-spending Chinese Super League sides who are looking to make a statement.