Chelsea submitted an improved bid of £27m to Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric on Monday evening as they attempt to pry the unsettled Croat away from White Hart Lane.
Tottenham are expected to reject the latest offer, the Guardian reports, despite the player's desire to leave north London this summer.
White Hart Lane officials insist the club have no intention of selling the Croatia international but Modric is expected to submit a formal transfer request in response to Chelsea's latest bid, in an attempt to force a move through.
Relations between Modric and club chairman Daniel Levy worsened over the weekend as the Croat launched a scathing attack on Levy, accusing him of reneging on a verbal agreement between the pair that would have allowed the player to leave if an offer from a "bigger club" was received.
Tottenham have denied that any agreement exists and reiterated that the player's commitment remains with the club, with Modric having signed a new six-year contract only last year.
But Spurs manager Harry Redknapp suggested he has some sympathy for Modric's position.
"He's a fantastic boy, a great player, and it's not easy when people come along and double, treble your wages," Redknapp told The Guardian. "It makes it difficult for him. I understand where he's coming from a little bit with it, but I'm desperate to keep him because, as I say, he's so good. He's not a minute's problem. He works hard, trains hard every day, and we desperately need him if we're going to push on."
"At the end of the day, it's up to the chairman. He makes those decisions. I certainly wouldn't want to lose Luka. We need to add to him or we'll fall behind. That's obvious. Manchester City are improving, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, we need to improve, not weaken the team."
If Chelsea's pursuit of Modric fails the club are ready to renew their interest in Real Madrid playmaker Kaka, the Metro claims.
Kaka is adamant he wants to stay at the Bernabeu and fight for his place after the Brazilian fell behind Mesut Ozil in the pecking-order last season. But Jose Mourinho is keen to sell the former World Player of the Year to raise funds to buy Argentina international Carlos Tevez, according to reports in Spain.
Madrid have already rejected a £27m bid for the midfielder as they look to recoup closer to the £56m they paid for the player in 2009.
However, with Porto's Joao Moutinho and Palermo midfielder Javier Pastore available for significantly less, Andre Villas-Boas is unlikely to pay a premium on a player who has spent much of the last two seasons struggling for form and fitness.
Argentina international Pastore seems the most promising of the two after Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini confirmed the player would be leaving the club this summer.
"There are five clubs keen on Pastore and one of them is Italian," he said.
"It's not Napoli or Juventus. There is a 99 per cent chance that Pastore will leave."
Pick a Parker
Meanwhile, West Ham midfielder Scott Parker could be line for an unlikely return to Stamford Bridge, reports the Daily Mirror.
The club are in the market for a midfielder after learning that Michael Essien will miss six months of the new season following surgery on a knee injury suffered in training last week.
"Following injury to his right knee in training last week, Michael Essien had surgery today to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus.
"The surgery was successful and Michael's full recovery could take up to six months," a club statement read.