Spanish international Marcos Alonso is wanted by Barcelona to replace Gerard Pique at centre-half, according to Goal, and could leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
Setting aside that it would be a slightly bizarre move for the Catalans to swoop for a left-wing-back to play at the heart of their defence, Chelsea cannot afford to let a reliable performer leave as their replacements, at present, are substandard.
He has experience of playing there from his time at Fiorentina but has never been deployed there at Stamford Bridge.
Alonso is a product of the Real Madrid academy system and Chelsea may well be hoping that connection makes the former Bolton man reluctant to join their bitter rivals.
Conte’s three-man defence has brought the best out of Alonso, who has developed into a marauding presence up and down the left flank, using his height and athleticism to great effect.
Whoever the Blues manager is by the time next season rolls around will need the club’s major players firing in all cylinders. There is enough to rectify elsewhere without having a major headache appear on the left hand side of defence.
You suspect that Alonso would be just as comfortable in a four-man defence, if that’s the approach that the new man in charge at Stamford Bridge wants to take.