Chelsea have joined the race to sign Mats Hummels and believe they are in a better position than both Manchester United and Arsenal to land the Borussia Dortmund defender this summer.
Jose Mourinho is eager to add another centre-back to his Stamford Bridge ranks ahead of next season and is confident Russian owner Roman Abramovich will sanction the £37 million bid that's required to secure the World Cup winner's signature.
According to the Daily Telegraph the Red Devils believe they are favourites for the Germany international, but the Blues are planning to hijack their prospective deal in order to lure Hummels to west London.
The fact Louis van Gaal's side are still not guaranteed a Champions League spot next season means there remains some uncertainty on the player's part about moving to Old Trafford.
Arsenal, meanwhile, brought Gabriel Paulista to north London during the January transfer window so Arsene Wenger is unlikely to spend big on another central defensive reinforcement at the Emirates in the next transfer window.
However, should Hummels opt for Manchester United or Arsenal over Chelsea, Mourinho will turn his attention to Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane - a player he worked with during his time in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Costa injury update
Chelsea are hopeful that Diego Costa will be fit to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on April 26th, despite the fact the Spain international's hamstring injury appears to be worse than first feared.
The Blues striker pulled up during last weekend's 2-1 victory over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge with a similar problem to the one that has frequently hampered him over the past 12 months.
Chelsea won't sell Cech to Arsenal
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will be denied the opportunity to sign for Arsenal this summer as the Blues have no desire to sell the 32-year-old to a direct Premier League rival, despite recent reports that Jose Mourinho will allow the veteran custodian to join whoever he wants.
According to a Goal.com source close to the Gunners, Arsene Wenger has been told not to bother wasting his time by stepping up his pursuit of the Czech Republic international when the transfer window reopens this summer.
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