Chelsea and Liverpool face Lazio in race to sign Bosman-bound defender

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Nicolas N'Koulou

According to reports from talkSPORT, Lazio have joined Chelsea and Liverpool in the race to sign Marseille defender Nicolas N’Koulou. 

The Cameroon international is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in Ligue 1, having twice claimed a spot in the division’s Team of the Season since moving to Stade Velodrome from Monaco in 2011.

N’Koulou’s been linked with a Premier League switch before without anything materialising, perhaps due to the fact he measures in a little short for a centre-half at 5 foot 11.

But if the 63-cap international is to make a move to the English top flight, the chances are that it will happen in the next two transfer windows.

Firstly, he’s now 25 years of age and will be expected to mature towards a higher level of performance within the next few seasons. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, N’Koulou’s contract expires at the end of the season and a new deal seems unlikely – especially after Andre Ayew and Andre-Pierre Gignac both left Marseille on free transfers last summer.

talkSPORT claim the prospect of signing a talented defender on the cheap has already caught the attention of Chelsea and Liverpool.

The Blues have conceded the most goals of any club outside the Premier League’s bottom five this season and view N’Koulou as a potential midseason defensive reinforcement, whilst Liverpool are long-term admirers and could swoop if £20million flop Dejan Lovren struggles to impress in the absence of the injured Mamadou Sakho.

But the Premier League duo now face fresh competition in the race to sign N’Koulou from Serie A side Lazio, who are weighing up a bid of their own.

They too are struggling defensively at the moment, conceding the fourth-most goals of any Serie A side, which has seen them plummet from a third-place finish last term to tenth in the table this season.

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