CHELSEA are lining up a £31million summer bid for German whizkid Benjamin Henrichs.
The Bayer Leverkusen full-back, 21, is rated the Bundesliga’s best young defender and he is aware of the Blues’ interest.
Henrichs has been with Leverkusen since he was eight and signed a two-year contract extension last summer, keeping him at the club until 2022.
But that deal has a £31m get-out clause and club chiefs are resigned to losing him.
Antonio Conte is still heavily involved in trying to bring in new players, despite uncertainty over the Italian’s future.
Henrichs, who made his full debut for Germany in 2016, has been on the radars of Manchester rivals City and United.
Conte repeatedly moaned his squad was not strong enough to cope with the added demands of European football this season.
He signed Emerson Palmieri in January as cover and competition for left wing-back Marcos Alonso — and now wants the German to do the same with Victor Moses on the right.
If Conte is dumped by Chelsea this summer, his next job will NOT be a return to the Italy hotseat.
Azzurri FA chiefs wanted Conte but could not come to an agreement, so turned to Roberto Mancini.
The former Manchester City chief has agreed to take charge after Zenit St Petersburg’s last game of the Russian season on May 13.
Italy axed Gian Piero Ventura last year after they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.