Napoli are set to step-up their interest in Nemanja Matic, a target for both Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Daily Express claims that the Serie ‘A’ side are looking to ‘trump’ the Premier League duo in the race for the Serbian international, who has a £40million minimum fee release clause in his contract at Benfica.
The paper cite speculation in Italy when claiming that Napoli are willing to pay £17million for the 25-year-old though, which could leave the door open for English clubs to pounce.
Rafa Benitez is already considering a way around the deal however, and could offer Eduardo Vargas as part of a part-exchange move.
Chelsea already have first-hand knowledge of the player, who was on the books at Stamford Bridge between 2009 and 2011.
However, he left the Blues for Portugal in a deal that saw centre back David Luiz move to the Premier League.
Much has changed in west London in the past two-years, with Jose Mourinho now in charge at Chelsea. And, if ‘the special one’ is keen on Matic as reported, then an offer could be forthcoming in the New Year.
Competition could well come from Manchester United however, as David Moyes is also linked with a move for the player.
The new Red Devils boss had a summer transfer window to forget after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at the Old Trafford helm, with Marouane Fellaini his only major signing.
Beating domestic and European rivals to Matic would be a major coup for the Manchester United manager, and also boost the club in their battle for the title this season.
There is still a long way to go in this particular transfer race though, and much could change before the transfer window opens in 2014.