Forget Modric! 5 playmakers Chelsea should chase in January

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During the summer transfer window, Chelsea were involved in a well-publicised pursuit of Croatian playmaker Luka Modric.

Spurs held-firm over their star though, rejecting a bid of £40 million in the closing stages of August to keep the player at White Hart Lane.

And former Blues boss Ruud Gullit, speaking at the Golden Foot awards last night, urged manager Andre Villas-Boas to continue his pursuit of the player in the New Year.

However, a host of Europe's finest could fill a similar role at Stamford Bridge, with some of the continent's top talents available to the Blues for a similar price (or less) if they are still willing to splash the cash.

GMF looks at the five players Chelsea should be considering in January:

1: Mario Gotze
Borussia Dortmund
DOB: 03/06/92

The German playmaker is arguably the hottest property in European football right now, earning rave reviews for both club and country after helping Dortmund to the Bundesliga title.

Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are all tracking the player with interest, with paper speculation suggesting at least £35 million will be needed to secure the teenager's signature.

Age and ability makes the diminutive player a long-term investment, and manager Jürgen Klopp might be interested in a player-plus-cash deal should the Blues be looking to lower the financial figure and willing to offer one of their current squad.

2: Wesley Sneijder
Inter Milan
DOB: 09/06/84

A Champions League winner and World Cup finalist, Sneijder certainly doesn't lack big-game experience as the Blues look to challenge for top honours at club level.

The Dutchman was heavily linked with Manchester United, and to a lesser extent Manchester City in the transfer window, with a fee of £35 million again thought to be the asking price.

A product of the Ajax academy and former Real Madrid star, Sneijder is under contract at the San Siro until 2015, but admitted during the summer that he would consider England after the Old Trafford switch came close.

3: Eden Hazard
DOB: 07/01/91

Hazard has rapidly risen through the ranks in Ligue 1 to become one of Europe's hottest properties, helping Lille claim the French title last season.

A versatile youngster who can play in either a central midfield or wide role, both Arsenal and Liverpool are thought to be keen on bringing the player to the Barclays Premier League for a fee in the region of £25 million.

Former Blues midfielder Joe Cole has been suitably impressed whilst on loan with Les Dogues, but competition will be fierce for the player's signature with Real Madrid tracking the player, according to his agent.

4: Christian Eriksen
DOB: 14/02/92

The Ajax starlet has become one of the most talked about talents in European football, with clubs from England, Spain, Germany and France all thought to be keen on the Danish teenager.

With over 50 appearances for the Godenzonen and 15 caps for Denmark, Eriksen rose rapidly to the top in Amsterdam and impressed against England in an international friendly earlier in the year.

A fee in the region of £20 million is thought to be the asking price, although Chelsea would need to sweeten the deal with add-on clauses to beat their rivals to the signature.

5: Marko Marin
Werder Bremen
DOB: 13/03/89

Another German starlet impressing in the Bundesliga, Marin was linked with both Arsenal and Liverpool in the summer transfer window.

The player has admitted in the last 24 hours that he would consider a move away from Weserstadion if a 'big club' were interested, and Chelsea would fit the bill.

A fee in the region of £18 million is expected to be enough to land the player.

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