Fulham have been forced into opening fresh contract talks with Marcus Bettinelli after it emerged that Chelsea are considering a surprise summer move for the goalkeeper.
The Daily Mirror reports that Jose Mourinho has identified the England U21 international as a possible replacement for soon to be departing stopper Petr Cech at Stamford Bridge.
Up until now the Blues have been linked with a number of veteran campaigners, with Robert Green and Brad Friedel both touted as potential replacements for the long-serving Czech Republic international in west London.
However, the Portuguese coach now appears to have shifted his focus to the acquisition of a young, up-and-coming custodian with the potential to challenge Thibaut Courtois for the No.1 spot at Chelsea in the future.
Mourinho was spotted at Craven Cottage last Wednesday to watch Fulham's 1-1 draw with Rotherham United, and it's believed he was there to make a personal check on the Championship starlet ahead of a prospective move at the end of the season.
Bettinelli has just over 12 months to run on his existing deal with the Cottagers, and manager Kit Symons will be desperate to retain the 21-year-old's services after an impressive debut campaign between the sticks for the senior team.
The talented youngster only made his first-team bow last August following loan spells at Accrington Stanley and Dartford, but has gone on to feature 42 times for Fulham in 2014/15.
A transfer to Chelsea would represent a rapid rise in the burgeoning star's career prospects, although there's little chance of him dislodging Courtois from the Belgian's position as undisputed first-choice keeper.
As a result, the opportunity to play regular football - albeit in the second tier - should not be taken for granted by Bettinelli when considering Fulham's contract offer, although the chance to join the soon to be crowned Premier League champions does not come around very often either.
Another unnamed top-flight club is also understood to be keeping tabs on developments in the capital, but they'll need to move quickly and make their interest known if they are going to have any chance of securing the player's signature.
Should Marcus Bettinelli ditch Fulham in favour of a bench-role at Chelsea? Or should the England youth international stay and continue his development at Craven Cottage? Have your say below...
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