Chelsea have informed Leicester City that they will not be held to ransom over a possible move for Danny Drinkwater.
The Blues have reportedly told the Foxes that they will not fork out a penny more than £30m for the star midfielder, according to the Sun, after Antonio Conte revived his interest in the 27-year-old.
Drinkwater was on Chelsea's radar 12 months ago following Conte's appointment at Stamford Bridge, but the Italian decide against signing him after landing Drinkwater's former team-mate N'Golo Kante for £32m instead.
Chelsea, however, have lost two centre midfield options this summer and, with only the £40m arrival of Tiemoue Bakayoko to replace them, Conte is determined to add another player to his ranks in the middle of the park.
Nemanja Matic and Nathaniel Chalobah have both departed the club for Manchester United and Watford respectively ahead of the new season, and Drinkwater is seen as a viable replacement by Conte and his staff.
Leicester are not keen on selling a key player so close to the start of the 2017/18 campaign though, and manager Craig Shakespeare would expect a sizeable fee to be offered before allowing Drinkwater to hold discussions with Chelsea's representatives.
Drinkwater was a vital component to the King Power stadium-based side's unprecedented 2015/16 Premier League title triumph, and featured prominently for them last term too despite the poor defence of their league crown.
The ex-Manchester United youth product had apparently been eager on joining Chelsea a year ago, but was convinced to remain in the Midlands for another season by then boss Claudio Ranieri.
Fair play to Chelsea. Fantastic ambition shown to sell serial winner Nemanja Matić and potentially replace him with Danny Drinkwater.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) July 31, 2017
Leicester could opt to cash in on him while his stock is relatively high - a decision which would free up wages for new arrivals due to the salary Drinkwater commands.
The Foxes, though, would certainly want a greater fee than the £30m valuation that Chelsea will only go up to and, with the chances of a compromise unlikely to be reached, both parties could end up walking away from a deal before one even begins.
Drinkwater has made 218 appearances for Leicester during his five-and-a-half years with them.