Chelsea have moved ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign Wolfsburg defender Ricardo Rodriguez. The Gunners have been scouting the left-back for the last couple of months with a view to bringing him to the Emirates.
According to The Sun, the west London club are aware of the situation and have already made contact with the player's agent to sound out the availability of his client in the January transfer window.
Antonio Conte signed Marcus Alonso last summer in the left-back position and needs cover for the Spaniard as Chelsea look to boost their squad to further improve their chances of wining the title. Rodriguez is valued at £21m ($25.7m) and the Blues are willing to pay the cash in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old has been a star player for the Bundesliga outfit and impressed in last summer's European championship, while in action for Switzerland. His form for both club and country has seen him attract interest from the London rivals.
Arsene Wenger has the services of Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs as the two left-backs in the squad. The latter's future at the Emirates remains uncertain as his contract will expire at the end of this season.
Arsenal will be looking to offload Gibbs before making a formal offer for Rodriguez. Chelsea, on the other hand, have no such issues and are willing to take the situation as an advantage in their efforts to beat the Gunners in landing the Swiss international.
Chelsea have long been interested in signing the Wolfsburg star as they were looking at the option of securing his signature last summer. However, the deal did not take shape and they ended up signing Alonso, who has been impressive for the Blues.
It should be seen whether Wenger will be willing to take the risk of offloading Gibbs and then beat Chelsea in signing Rodriguez. With the Premier League leaders' latest interest, Arsenal will have to move quickly if they wish to beat their rivals for the defender's signature.