Chelsea are willing to pay the £13 million release clause of Valencia left-back Jose Luis Gaya, whose contract at the Mestalla expires in the summer of 2016.
Gaya, the latest player with star potential to emerge from Valencia’s famed youth academy, has turned down Los Che’s latest contract offer - increasing speculation that he could leave the Spanish club this summer.
Chelsea are keen, but the Daily Mail understand Manchester City are the club most interested in securing the Spain Under-21 international’s services. The Premier League title contenders also face stiff competition from both Arsenal and Real Madrid.
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Gaya: The new Jordi Alba
Gaya has shown remarkable progress this season following the arrival of head coach Nuno Espirito Santo last summer.
The 19-year-old has earned favourable comparisons with former Valencia left-back Jordi Alba, who now plies his trade with Barcelona, thanks to his eye-catching pace and tendency to bomb forwards and contribute in attack.
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First-team football an issue
Manchester City reportedly regard Gaya as a suitable replacement for Aleksandar Kolarov, who is keen to return to Italy after falling down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, might regard Gaya as a potential upgrade on both Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal.
And Real Madrid may require another left-back to provide Marcelo with competition if they grant permission for Fabio Coentrao to leave the Bernabeu.
Could Gaya replace Luis at Chelsea?
But Chelsea do not appear to need another first-class left-back with Cesar Azpilicueta having made that position his own at Stamford Bridge over the past 18 months.
There is, however, a chance that Brazilian full-back Filipe Luis will return to Spain after a frustrating debut campaign with the west London outfit following his summer move from Atletico Madrid.
Gaya is unlikely to leave Valencia unless he is guaranteed first-team football - and Chelsea are unlikely to be unable to offer the teenager that with Mourinho such a big admirer of Azpilicueta.
It could also be a problem for Manchester City, with Gael Clichy performing rather well in the left full-back position for the Citizens of late.
But £13 million represents a steal for a player with the potential to become one of Europe’s best left-backs within a matter of years.
Should Chelsea sign Gaya to replace Azpilicueta? Which top club needs him most? Have your say in the comments below!
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