Chelsea are planning a double raid on Southampton for star full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares, according to the London Evening Standard.
After missing out on other potential new recruits in Benjamin Mendy, Alex Sandro and Danilo, manager Antonio Conte has turned his gaze to the south coast in a bid to prise the duo away from St.Mary's Stadium.
The Italian wants to strengthen his options at wing back to provide competition for Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, and views Soares and Bertrand as two possibilities to bolster his defensive ranks ahead of the new season.
Bertrand originally left Stamford Bridge to join the Saints in an £11m switch following a successful six-month loan spell, and his displays for last season's EFL Cup finalists have impressed a number of top tier clubs in the past two seasons.
Soares, meanwhile, has also starred for Southampton since he moved to England for £5m from Sporting in July 2015, and has reportedly been on Chelsea's radar for a significant amount of time.
Bertrand and Soares have made 107 and 61 appearances respectively for Southampton but, with the club at a crossroads under new manager Manuel Pellegrino, could find a move to west London too hard to ignore.
Bertrand, Soares, Candreva. We are officially in the portion of the window where Chelsea are linked to—and start signing—substandard players— Cobham Blues (@cobhamblues) July 23, 2017
The pair have been touted as possible Blues targets since April when the Evening Standard caught wind of the Premier League holders' supposed interest, and they could firm up their position on the duo after losing out on other arrivals to their rivals this summer.
Juventus defender Sandro has had his head turned back towards Turin with the offer of a new lucrative contract, while former Monaco star Mendy and out-of-favour Real Madrid full-back Danilo both opted to move to the Etihad to work under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
That has left Conte with more transfer headaches after Romelu Lukaku completed a switch down the M62 to Manchester United instead of the English capital, and the 47-year-old has only been able to enjoy the transfer market in recent weeks after Chelsea finally completed some business of their own.
Antonio Rudiger, Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko have all completed big-money moves to join free agent Willy Caballero in joining Conte's cause since the start of July.