Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have received a huge boost in their alleged pursuit of Marco Reus after Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho pulled out of the race to sign the Borussia Dortmund playmaker.
The Daily Star carries quotes from the Portuguese tactician, who insisted that he has no interest whatsoever in bringing the Germany international to Stamford Bridge, improving the chances of several Premier League rivals securing the in-demand star's signature.
Mourinho was asked about Reus in his Champions League press conference on Monday - ahead of the Blues' upcoming clash against Schalke this evening - to which he emphatically quashed rumours of a possible switch to west London.
"We don't want Marco Reus," he said. "The market is closed and the player belongs to Borussia. We have top players in this position."
Despite Mourinho's stance, Reus has attracted widespread attention from a host of top European clubs, thanks in no small part to the €25 million buyout clause that is about to become active in his contract in 2015.
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The 25-year-old attacking midfielder is widely regarded as one of the most exciting talents in the Bundesliga, and that valuation is viewed by many as a particularly modest fee for a player of his potential.
However, there are some question marks around his fitness, after Reus picked up another ankle injury during Dortmund's 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Paderborn on Saturday. He was carried off on a stretcher and is not expected to resume training until early next year.
Despite the obvious negatives that come with being unable to call upon one of his best players, the setback could in fact play into Jurgen Klopp's hands moving forward. If Reus is not fit enough to pass a medical then it's highly unlikely that he can push through a transfer when the window reopens in January.
It's not the first time Reus has hurt his left ankle either; he missed the World Cup in Brazil with a similar problem, and was briefly sidelined earlier this season with a knock to the same joint.
But, regardless of the precarious situation regarding his long-term fitness, news of Chelsea distancing themselves will be welcomed at Old Trafford, the Emirates and Anfield.
Louis van Gaal, Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers have all been mooted as admirers of the talented Dortmund star as well, and could still make their respective moves for the player at the turn of the year.
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