Chelsea have been boosted in their pursuit of Xabi Alonso with the news that Real Madrid have acquired a long-term replacement in much sought-after Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan.
Alonso is long-believed to have been a target for Jose Mourinho who worked with the former Red in his time at Madrid. Since Mourinho moved to Chelsea the Spaniard has remained on his radar and as he enters the final 12 months of his contract, Alonso could come at a bargain price as the clock ticks down on his deal.
And Marca are reporting that with the Spanish giants stealing the march on the likes of Arsenal and United to sign a pre-contract agreement with Gundogan they will be much more willing to allow Alonso to go to Chelsea in the January window.
Alonso was at one point connected with a move back to Liverpool but the 31 year old all but ruled that out in the summer. He hasn't featured for Madrid for the first three months of the season after having surgery for both a groin injury and a broken metatarsal but at the end of October Alonso returned to training and has played for the side three times since.
Talks have long been ongoing over a new contract for Alonso but the temptation to make the move to Chelsea to link up with Mourinho once more might prove too tempting for the midfielder.
And with Carlo Ancelotti having potentially locked in a huge midfield signing in Gundogan - at 23 years old the Germany international has starred in the Bundesliga with Dortmund for the last two seasons - he will likely no longer need Alonso who is coming towards the end of a career that saw him star for Liverpool before moving onto Madrid in 2009.