Chelsea have joined the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in the battle to sign Inter Milan centre back Andrea Ranocchia, according to the Daily Star.

Reports in Italy suggest Jose Mourinho has identified the Italian as the man to replace David Luiz, who is set to depart Stamford Bridge in the near future.

Ranocchia has had limited first team football at the San Siro under manager Walter Mazzarri, and the club are poised to cash in on the defender in the winter transfer window.

Inter are understood to be in a position of having to sell before they can buy, and have reportedly set their sights on moves for Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko and Southampton’s Pablo Osvaldo.

However, the defender recently played down talk of a possible January move, being quoted as saying:

“Many silly things have been written about me, that I am unhappy and I want to leave.”

“I am just thinking about this shirt and paying back the fans for the affection they have for me.”

The defender made his senior debut for Italy against Romania back in 2010, and is contention for a starting place at the summers World Cup.

Chelsea hope to tie up the deal in January to avoid paying an inflated price should Ranocchia enjoy a decent tournament, but the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal are set to rival Mourinho for his signature.

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