CHELSEA are ready to block Ola Aina’s £8.7million move to loan club Torino as the Blues sweat on a transfer ban.
The Nigeria defender, 22, is also wanted by Torino’s Italian rivals Fiorentina after shining in both full-back positions in Serie A this season.
But Chelsea have become more cautious as they wait to see if their appeal to Fifa succeeds over a ban from making signings for two transfer windows.
Aina’s versatility and growing experience would be a huge asset if Chelsea are unable to bring in newcomers.
And Stamford Bridge chief Maurizio Sarri is increasingly reluctant to offload talented youngsters.
The main example, of course, is 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who Chelsea are desperately fighting to keep from the clutches of Bayern Munich.
But it also applies to starlets currently out on loan like Ain and England Under-20 defender Reece James, 19, who has so impressive for Wigan in the Championship this term.
Both might have thought their time at the Bridge would be up this summer.
But now both are tipped to not just stay, but also become part of the senior club next term.
It’s a different story, though, for experienced full-backs Davide Zappacosta, 26, and 24-year-old Emerson Palmieri whose Chelsea fortunes have dipped even further this term.
And even Marcos Alonso could be ousted as the form of the Spain left-back, 28, has slumped alarmingly this term.
Chelsea’s swing towards bringing on more young players was emphasised last month by Chelsea’s loan technical coach Eddie Newton.
most read in football
the former Blues midfielder said of Aina: ‘Ola has got exceptional talents – physical, technical, uses both feet, quick, powerful boy.
“But the question mark over his head was his concentration throughout 90 minutes. He has proved he can do that and been consistent this season.
“I’m really proud of him because he’s mentally tuned in now and I think we have to really start taking him seriously.”