Chelsea have launched a bid to tie Patrick Bamford's future to Stamford Bridge by offering him a five-year contract, reports The Times.
The 21-year-old has just 12 months remaining on his current deal and has attracted interested from a host of Premier League clubs. Everton, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are all believed to be monitoring his progress as well as his contract situation.
Bamford has enjoyed a successful loan spell with Middlesbrough this season, scoring 19 goals in the English Championship and has the chance to add to that tally in the play-offs.
Currently struggling with an ankle tendon injury, Bamford is a doubt for Middlesbrough's second leg against Brentford at the Riverside. The striker played in the first leg despite not being fully fit and helped his club to gain a narrow 2-1 advantage.
There is still doubt as to whether Bamford can make the grade in west London. He is highly regarded in Jose Mourinho's books, but faces impeccable competition if he returns to his parent club for next season.
Returning to Chelsea
Diego Costa is an obvious first choice for Mourinho while Loic Remy is expected to remain the understudy. Didier Drogba is expected to depart, leaving a vacancy as a third-choice striker, but even then, Mourinho is believed to be looking at signing someone formidable.
Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona's Pedro are both on Chelsea's radar and would certainly command a higher place in the squad than Bamford.
But Mourinho knows the value of a promising home grown star. He may choose to send Bamford out on loan, ideally to a Premier League club, and hope he repeats his success in the top flight.
Then, even if he still can't find a place for Bamford in his squad, he will at least have a player worth a pretty penny on the transfer market. It is that buy-loan-sell system that has seen Mourinho transform the Chelsea squad so effectively since his return in 2013.
Bamford, however, wants reassurances over his future before committing to a new deal. He is unlikely to commit to a long-term contract if there is little chance of him making the grade.
But Chelsea will offer him significantly more than his current £7,500-a-week wages, leaving the young striker with a tough decision to make.
Should Patrick Bamford sign a long-term contract at Chelsea or does he have little chance of a future at Stamford Bridge?
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