Chelsea are edging closer to beating Manchester United to the €15m signing of Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin ahead of the January transfer window, reports suggest.
Gazzetta dello Sport report that the Colombian international is close to agreeing a three and a half year deal with Jose Mourinho's side with the Nerazzurri keen to get hold of funds desperately needed to reinvest in their squad.
It had been reported that United were another party interested in securing the services of Guarin next month as David Moyes seeks to address their club's shortcomings during the summer transfer window.
But reports would suggest the club may have missed out on another target as Chelsea steal a march on their Premier League rivals, despite Mourinho suggesting the club would not be making any additions in the New Year.
Guarin, a midfielder equally comfortable in the centre or on the right of midfield, has featured in all 16 of Inter's Serie A campaign this season, but such is the club's need to sell before they can invest in new players, they have little choice but to cash in on the former Porto star.
Confirmation of the move would represent a drastic change in planning at Chelsea, however. After dropping points to Stoke City, Mourinho insisted he was focused on improving his current group of players, rather than adding new names in the New Year.
"What can you do more? We work, we keep working. That's the only way I know is to keep working," the Blues boss said earlier this month.
"Of course we want the best possible results but I am not waiting for players, I am not asking for players. This is a period for the club and this is a period of my team where we have to try and improve the players we have and try to build a future."
Gazzetta suggest that Guarin will make his last appearance for Inter in this weekend's Milan derby, before making his move to west London.