Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants to carry on his summer spending spree – and is ready to snatch France right-back Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle.
Lille star Debuchy, 26, was expected to move to St James’ Park this summer.
But his performance for France against England at Euro 2012 turned heads at both Chelsea and Italian giants Inter Milan.
Newcastle still hope to get their man, but the Blues are keen to strengthen at Debuchy’s position after freeing Jose Bosingwa at the end of the season.
Branislav Ivanovic has also said he wants to be considered solely as a centre-half, rather than continue being shunted to right-back.
Ajax’s Gregory van der Wiel has long been on Chelsea’s wish list, but a £6m deal for 26-year-old Debuchy would be seen as outstanding business.
Chelsea, who this week confirmed hugely successful caretaker boss Robert Di Matteo as their permanent manager on a two-year deal, have already bought midfielders Eden Hazard of Lille and Marko Marin of Werder Bremen this summer for a combined £40m. Everton midfielder Fellani and Porto attacker Hulk have also been heavily linked with the club.