Chelsea's interest in Marseille midfielder Giannelli Imbula has been laid bare by Blues scout Guy Hillion, who has confirmed he and the club have been impressed by the 21-year-old in recent scouting missions.
65-year-old scout has been instrumental for the Premier League club in securing emerging talents from Ligue 1 having identified the burgeoning potential of Eden Hazard as a teenager before Chelsea eventually signed the Belgian international in the summer of 2012.
It would appear the Frenchman has now identified Imbula as a possible addition to the Blues midfield having been greatly impressed by the midfielder's impressive start to life in France's top flight.
"I have seen (Giannelli Imbula) often," Hillion told Le Sport 10. "As soon as he gets the ball he is able to accelerate and break through the lines.
"He covers well, has good technique, great vision of the game, with a very good quality pass and a great left foot. He doesn't have bad qualities for a midfielder."
While it would appear the France Under-21 international is firmly on Chelsea's radar, the club may hold off on bidding for the midfielder until at least the summer, given the player only joined Marseille in July.
Imbula had previously been instrumental in ensuring former club Guingamp achieved promotion to Ligue 1 last season, before making his move to the Stade Velodrome for a fee of £6.3m during the past transfer window.
The Belgian-born starlet has also found himself linked with a move to Arsenal, who reportedly attempted to sign him before he joined Marseille. Imbula's recent transfer and his rising stock in French football suggest any club will have to greatly exceed the modest £6.3m Elie Baup's side paid with the Express suggesting a price tag of £25m is now the going rate.
Jose Mourinho would appear to be well stocked in midfield options following his return to Stamford Bridge.
With a plethora of more attacking options, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel all represent central choices, with no room for young duo Nathanial Chalobah and Josh McEachran in the squad having been sent out on loan.