Chelsea have made a surprise offer for Japan international Yoshinori Muto, according to FC Tokyo president Naoki Ogane.
Muto has been watched by Blues scouts since last May, but now reportedly fits the bill as a midfielder capable of making the grade in the Premier League.
Cynics may look at Chelsea's new shirt sponsorship deal with Yokohama Rubber and view Muto as the new Junichi Inamoto, but Tokyo chief Ogane is adamant Chelsea's interest in the playmaker is genuine and a formal bid has been tabled.
Muto on his way to the Premier League?
In an interview with Japanese newspaper Sport Nippon, which has been picked up by Goal.com, Ogane revealed: "It is true that Chelsea sent us an offer for Muto. It is a formal offer with conditions. They want to acquire him in the summer."
Muto was also asked about a move to Chelsea himself, stating: "I have not decided yet at all. It is an honour for me to receive this offer from a great club."
Work permit could prove a problem
The 22-year-old is a versatile midfielder primarily operates on the left-wing for FC Tokyo, but can also play in the centre or even as a centre-forward at a push.
Muto's proposed move to Stamford Bridge is thought to be worth around €5.5 million, but could yet be hit by work permit complications.
Japan have not picked Muto for 75% of their internationals over the last two years, the minimum amount required to earn a Premier League move at the first time of asking.
Chelsea could always appeal and cite exceptional circumstances, or ever pay £10m to bypass that kind of scrutiny altogether, but the latter is unlikely given their attention to detail in the transfer market.
A move for Muto is seemingly on, but there's still plenty of work to be done on terms and conditions and the jury is definitely still out on whether he's part of Jose Mourinho's plans for next season regardless.
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