Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel has emerged as AC Milan's top transfer target, with the Rossoneri prepared to offer the Nigerian international the kind of star role he's been sorely lacking at Stamford Bridge in recent years.
Mikel has been forced to make do with a fairly peripheral role ever since Jose Mourinho began his second spell as Chelsea manager, with this term no different.
The 27-year-old has only started four Premier League games all season long, which the Daily Star believes has alerted Milan to the possibility of making Mikel their new central linchpin in 2015, perhaps even as early as January if Chelsea are willing to do business.
Mikel on the move?
Milan are clearly hoping they can take advantage of their strong relationship with Chelsea to sign Mikel, just a week after agreeing to sign Fernando Torres permanently in order to pave the way for the Spaniard's return to Atletico Madrid.
Filippo Inzaghi's side already have Marco van Ginklel on loan and signed Michael Essien from the Blues at this stage 12 months ago, which makes Mikel a logical target as part of a plan to help build Milan into a genuine Serie A force once again.
Four-way Chelsea fight means deal may have to wait
Milan think either Mikel or Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta can fit the bill as a top January signing, but are likely to be forced to wait until at least this summer to chase either.
Chelsea's terrific start to the season on all fronts doesn't help matters, with the Blues still fighting to win four competitions and likely to need a strong squad for constant rotation as a result.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho will be hugely reluctant to let Mikel move on in the middle of the season, but if Milan are serious about signing the technically-gifted powerhouse then the end of the season could represent a genuine chance to get this particular deal over the line.