Chelsea are planning a summer swoop for Borussia Dortmund playmaker and reported Arsenal and Manchester United target Mario Gotze according to The Times.
The 19-year-old German international has attracted interest from a host of top European clubs, with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona also believed to be monitoring his situation.
With the backing of Blues owner Roman Abramovich, Andre Villas-Boas wants to rejuvenate an ageing Chelsea squad, and will be afforded the funds to do so more rigorously at the end of the season.
Having identified Gotze as a primary Stamford Bridge target, the Portuguese tactician will now rival Barclays Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United for his signature.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of Dortmund's 'wunderkid', and has been heavily linked with a move for the player - whom Arsenal faced in the UEFA Champions League group stage - in January.
Meanwhile, Red Devils chief Sir Alex Ferguson has also been credited with an interest in Gotze as he continues to search the transfer market for a player who will add creativity to his midfield ranks at Old Trafford.
Dortmund have been bullish about their hopes of retaining Gotze's services, and are confident of fighting off unwanted interest from Spain and England.
"These clubs should save themselves the cost of a phone call," chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke said last week. "Because they are wasting their time and money contacting us; Mario is staying here."
However, Chelsea are quietly confident that a bid in the region of £35million will be enough to tempt the Bundesliga giants into a sale, and see off rival interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, but Dortmund have intimated privately that they will accept nothing less than £40million.
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