Chelsea are keen to beat Manchester United and Real Madrid to Brazilian star Lucas Silva, reports The Express.
The 21-year-old, who has been likened to Kaka and Cesc Fabregas by the same report, has been described as a complete midfielder in the past. His performances for Cruzeiro over the past two seasons have attracted interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs.
However, the Blues have now edged out in front in the race to sign Silva and are ready to offer him a contract as early as January in an effort to fend off competition. Jose Mourinho wants the midfielder as part of a long-term plan at Stamford Bridge and is keen to see him move to west London.
Real Madrid appear to be Chelsea's main competitor in the race to sign the Brazilian starlet. Ironically, they only want Silva because Sami Khedira looks set to move to Stamford Bridge in the coming months.
"I can confirm that I was approached by people linked to Manchester United and Inter Milan. - Luis Rocha (Lucas Silva's agent)
The German is running down his contract at the Bernabeu and could leave as early as January. Should he leave, Chelsea are one of the favourites to snap him up.
However, the threat from Manchester United is still significant. Silva's agent confirmed in August that there had been interest from Old Trafford over the summer.
"There are not many details," explained Rocha in an interview with Super Esportes. "I can confirm that I was approached by people linked to Manchester United and Inter Milan.
"There is an official proposal. We are waiting."
However, it must be taken into account that Louis van Gaal has since invested heavily in bringing Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria to the club. It is therefore likely that Manchester United's interest would have died down somewhat in the past few weeks.
Chelsea would need to agree a free with Cruzeiro first but they could hold an advantage if they agree to loan the player back to the club for the remainder of the season. The club currently have 26 players out on loan and it is likely Silva would join one of several Chelsea starlets at Vitesse if he does join.
Allowing him to remain in the Brazilian league would no doubt help with negotiations, but Chelsea may prefer to send him to a club whom they have an official partnership with.