Arsenal have turned down the opportunity to resign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, leaving Chelsea with a clear path to bring the midfielder to Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners included a buyback clause in the deal that saw Fabregas complete his move to the Camp Nou three years ago which gives them first refusal on the Spaniard following Barcelona's decision to sell him.
A number of reports have suggested the 27-year-old would relish the opportunity to re-join Arsenal but BBC Sport suggest the club have waived their right to hold talks with their former player with Arsene Wenger focused on strengthening other areas of his side.
With Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere all taking up creative responsibility in Arsenal's midfield, the club's need to address their shortcomings up front remains their biggest priority this summer, while a new right back and cover for Wojciech Szczesny in goal are also requirements.
With Arsenal out of the equation, Chelsea have emerged as the favourites to bring the Spanish international back to the Premier League. Mundo Deportivo have suggested the Blues have already made early moves to bring the former Gunners skipper to west London as the club attempt to fill the void left by Frank Lampard, who has left the club after 13 years.
Gerard Pique inadvertently confirmed his teammate's departure from Barcelona on Wednesday in a conversation with national team boss Vicente del Bosque. The ex-Manchester United defender, who has played with Fabregas through the youth team at Barcelona, was recorded by Spanish AStv telling his manager: "He told me it's all done. He's (Cesc) going, 33 million he told me."
Chelsea could be on the verge of sealing a dramatic double swoop in the next few weeks with Diego Costa understood to have completed a medical ahead of his proposed £32m switch.
The 25-year-old, who played an integral role in helping Atletico Madrid secure their first La Liga crown in 18 years last season, had also been linked with Arsenal but the Blues have acted quickly to activate his release clause ahead of a summer move to west London.