Benifca midfielder Nemanja Matic is drawing closer to returning to Chelsea three years after leaving the club as he agent prepares to fly into London for talks, reports suggest.
The Serbian international managed just two appearances in two seasons for the Blues following his arrival at the club in 2009 before he left for Portugal in January 2011, used as a make weight in the deal that saw David Luiz brought to Stamford Bridge.
Since then, Matic has developed into one of the finest midfielder's in the Portuguese league having played an instrumental role in Benfica's march to the Europa League final last season.
The 25-year-old has maintained those performances this season leading to a number of clubs including Manchester United, Liverpool and the Blues identifying Matic as the man capable of strengthening their respective midfields.
However the Daily Mail report that Jose Mourinho's side have taken an early advantage ahead of their rivals as they are set to hold talks with the Serbian's agent over the weekend ahead of a possible January move.
Despite his wretched first spell at the club, Matic has expressed no ill-feeling towards the Blues. In fact the former MFK Kosice youngster has indicated that he would relish the opportunity to play under Jose Mourinho and address his unfinished business in the Premier League.
"Of course I am struck by the fact that someone like Jose Mourinho wants me back in London, and there is a motive to prove I can still play in the Premier League," Matic told Serbian told sportske.net during the summer.
While Chelsea would appear to have a slight advantage in the race to sign Matic, United's desperation for midfield recruits is likely to force their hand, should David Moyes see him as the man needed to address their shortcomings.
Brendan Rodgers is also reportedly keen on adding the Serbian to his midfield options, a notion reinforced by the spate of injuries that currently leaves him with just two fit central midfielders.
However, all three Premier League sides could be inevitably trumped by Paris Saint-Germain, after Laurent Blanc confirmed he wants to sign the Benfica star.