Chelsea are considering a move in signing Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi, according to the Spanish publication Superdeporte.
The 27-year-old is looking for an exit from Mestalla in the summer transfer window and has been constantly linked with a move to Manchester United. Louis van Gaal has identified the Argentine international as a player to strengthen his side's central defending position for the next season.
Real Madrid were interested in securing the services of the centre-back as a replacement for Sergio Ramos, who is also a transfer target for United. However, The Mirror reported that the Old Trafford club have won the race in signing Otamendi after the Spanish capital club pulled out of the race.
The Valencia star has a €50m (£36m, $55.7m) release clause in his contract. The La Liga outfit will only allow their defender to leave if the interested clubs can meet their asking price.
Superdeporte claims Chelsea have now joined the race in signing Otamendi. The Blues manager Jose Mourinho has phoned Jorge Mendes in order to help the Premier League champions to broker a deal in bringing the Copa America star to Stamford Bridge.
The west London club have John Terry and Gary Cahill, along with Kurt Zouma as the first choice central defenders in the squad. The Chelsea captain, 34, still has a few years of top flight football left in his career.
The Portuguese tactician has identified Otamendi as a long-term replacement for Terry at Chelsea. Should he make a switch to London, Zouma could drop down the pecking order. However, the French international can be moved to the midfield as he can play in that position.
Any move from the English champions will see them face competition from Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 outfit are also looking at the options of signing the Valencia defender this summer.
Both Chelsea and PSG are willing to offer Otamendi a salary between €3.5m (£2.5m, $3.9m) to €4m (£2.8m, $4.4m) a year. Should he join either the Blues or the French club, it will be a massive blow for United as they have long been interested in securing the Valencia man's services.