Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has praised Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic amidst speculation he could be lining up a swoop for the 25-year-old in January.
The Portuguese midfielder is reportedly being watched by a host of teams across Europe thanks to some sterling performances over the last two seasons.
Matic, who left Chelsea having joined the club in 2009 as part of David Luiz's switch to Stamford Bridge in 2011, has been heavily linked with a move back to west London.
The latest batch of reports suggest that Mourinho views Matic, a nominee for the FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year award, as the ideal long-term addition to Chelsea's ageing midfield core of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and John Obi-Mikel.
Now the Chelsea boss has added further fuel to the fire by praising his ability, while also hinting he has been keeping an eye on his progress at the Estadio da Luz.
He told Portuguese newspaper O Jogo: "Matic is a good player. Currently his looks solid and mature. He is wise and stable. He is a player that looks very mature on the pitch… [But Benfica] is a big club and he seems comfortable.
"I don’t see any interest from the club to want to sell him. It’s very nice to have players like these in Portuguese football."
With the January transfer window now open Chelsea are likely to make a move for a new striker - although Mourinho insists he is happy with mis-firing trio Samuel Eto'o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres.