Chelsea are reportedly close to signing 18-year-old Serbian international Lazar Markovic, one of Europe's most coveted young talents, in the January transfer window.

The Daily Mail claims the 18-year-old Partizan Belgrade forward, who was initially recommended to Chelsea by former manager Avram Grant, is close to agreeing an £8m move to Stamford Bridge.

The teen was first linked with a move to west London over the summer, but Chelsea ultimately signed Nigerian winger Victor Moses from Wigan Athletic instead. However the early-season problems of Fernando Torres have reportedly persuaded the Blues to augment their attacking options.

Lazar Markovic
Serbian young starlet Markovic has been a long term transfer target for Chelsea

Markovic has been in good form this season and has made the initial shortlist for the European Golden Boy award, an accolade for the best European footballer under the age of 21.

The young star, who prefers to play as a No10, has already commented on his desire to play for Chelsea, which should ease negotiations greatly with both club and player.

"I really hope I can go to Chelsea, it's my dream. I had all the pictures of the team on my wall at home back to when they had Gianfranco Zola. And any time they are on TV I try to watch them. For me Chelsea are the best. I want to go to the Premier League. It is the best league in the world," Markovic explained in December last year.

However the Metro says Chelsea's London rivals Arsenal and continental giants Barcelona and Inter Milan are also interested in Markovic.