Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is ready to sell Brazilian midfielder Ramires in order to finance a deal to sign Everton starlet Ross Barkley in the January transfer window.
This is according to the Express, who claim that Chelsea are preparing an opening bid worth £30 million for the England international, who is also a target of both Manchester United and Manchester City.
Barkley favours move to Chelsea
Barkley, however, is understood to favour a move to west London over Manchester - handing Chelsea a major advantage in the race to sign the 20-year-old, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.
The tenacious central midfielder enjoyed a superb breakthrough campaign last season, scoring seven goals in 38 appearances, and penned a new four-year contract with the Toffees in July.
But Chelsea are ready to test the resolve of both Barkley and Everton by tabling a huge offer for the young midfield star.
Chelsea prepared to sell Ramires
First, though, they will need to offload a player - and there’s a possibility that Mourinho will reluctantly agree to sell the indefatigable Ramires, who has started just two matches for the Blues this season.
The Chelsea boss has settled on a midfield partnership comprised of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic, leaving Ramires struggling to force his way into the Blues’ starting line-up.
Real Madrid want Ramires
Subsequently, the 27-year-old may jump at the chance to sign for the reigning European champions, who has been identified by Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti as the perfect winter signing.
The Italian coach, whose team have endured their worst start to a La Liga campaign for nine years, is keen to allow Toni Kroos to push further forwards, while slotting Ramires in alongside Luka Modric in central midfield.
Chelsea reportedly want £25 million for the midfielder, who is also capable of playing in a wider position.
The South American arrived at Stamford Bridge four years ago in a €22 million deal from Benfica, and has helped the west London outfit win the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League.
Barkley: A man in demand
But Mourinho is keen to build a young team capable of challenging for major honours - both domestically and in Europe - for the next decade, and Barkley is certainly a player with an extremely bright future ahead of him.
Furthermore, Chelsea are acutely aware that failure to act in the forthcoming transfer window could result in them missing out on Barkley’s services.
Manchester City are able to match anything that Chelsea offer - in terms of a transfer fee and wages - while Manchester United might be prepared to pay well over the odds for the midfielder should they endure another disappointing season.
The Red Devils are on the lookout for a commanding central midfielder - and Barkley could be seen as a realistic alternative for either Arturo Vidal or Kevin Strootman.