Inter Milan are eyeing a potential swoop for Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, according to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The aforementioned reports suggest that Inter boss Walter Mazzarri requires a new presence in front of his defence and Mikel, who is valued at around the €15 million mark, has been identified as a target.
26-year-old Mikel joined Chelsea from Norwegian outfit Lyn Oslo during a rather difficult and controversial transfer process that also involved Manchester United.
Although the Nigerian international enforcer has played a key role at Stamford Bridge over recent seasons, he has been in and out of the team this season and is competing with the likes of Ramires, Frank Lampard and January arrival Nemanja Matic for a starting berth under Jose Mourinho.
Although 19 Premier League appearances so far this season suggest that Mikel is still a valued member of Chelsea's first-team squad, you must presume that the offer of consistent first-team football at a club of Inter's stature could appeal to the player.
Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that a midfielder of Mikel's strength, engine and physicality is what Inter require alongside such more technically-gifted players such as Hernanes and Fredy Guarin. However, the publication also stipulates that his wages may be a problem and that a loan move could be an option.
Inter, who drew 1-1 with Cagliari at the San Siro on Sunday, currently lie fifth in Serie A but have virtually no chance of making a late push for the title with reigning champions Juventus 26 points ahead in first.
Chelsea, though, are very much in the thick of the Premier League title race and currently top the table following Saturday's last-gasp win over Everton that came courtesy of a late goal from in-form captain John Terry.
Mourinho's immediate focus will switch to Europe in the short-term, though, with Chelsea set to face Galatasaray in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Turk Telecome Arena on Wednesday night.
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