Chelsea are confident of sealing the signing of Cesc Fabregas for less than Barcelona's £30 million asking price.
This information comes courtesy of The Times, who claim that Chelsea have made a bid of £26.8 million for Fabregas - a player also being targeted by Manchester United - and are aware that the La Liga giants need money if they are to go on and complete the signing of Atletico Madrid starlet Koke.
The same source suggests that Chelsea would also have little problem in improving upon Fabregas' current £100,000-per-week wages and that the player's agent is due to fly to Brazil - where the Spain international will shortly be preparing to take part in his nation's defence of their world title - to discuss his future.
This is the second summer in succession that Fabregas has been part of such a long-running and intense transfer saga, with David Moyes and Manchester United having made little secret of their wish to bring the 27-year-old back to the Premier League prior to the start of what eventually turned out to be a totally disastrous 2013/14 campaign.
They seem to be lagging behind Chelsea in pursuit of Fabregas this summer, however, and rival reports - which may or may not prove to be just a tad premature - even appear to suggest that the player may have already agreed a four-year contract to switch to Stamford Bridge.
If Chelsea were to go on to complete the signing of Fabregas for a fee less than £30 million, then they should surely be commended for acting so swiftly to find the ideal replacement for one of the club's finest ever-players.
Frank Lampard's admission that he would indeed be leaving Chelsea after the expiration of his contract has undoubtedly left Jose Mourinho with a notable void to fill and Fabregas - despite his apparent decline in influence at the Camp Nou - would appear to fit the bill perfectly.
Chelsea fans could be forgiven for having slight reservations over any potential deal for Fabregas, however, given that the Spaniard was involved in one or two heated exchanges with the Blues during his previous stint in the English top-flight with Arsenal and the fact that his slightly fractious relationship with Mourinho appeared to continue during the latter's spell with Real Madrid.
Manchester United would presumably be immensely disappointed to miss out on Fabregas once again, particularly with new manager Louis van Gaal expected to be on the lookout for improvements to the midfield at Old Trafford.
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