Chelsea have emerged as favourites to land highly-rated Lille's Eden Hazard, after reports in France revealed the Blues are preparing a €30m for the playmaker this January.
Hazard, 21, has been monitored by a number of top Premier League sides - including Arsenal and Liverpool - in the last 12 months, but L'Equipe reports that Chelsea are now expected to beat their rivals to the player's signature with a bid in the current transfer window.
However, Chelsea are likely to face stiff competition for the Belgium international, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger a long-term admirer of the player and Italian sides AC Milan and Inter Milan also interested.
Arsenal tried to sign Hazard as deadline day approached last August but got nowhere and with the Ligue 1 side adamant they will not be forced to sell the midfielder for anything less than €40m, Chelsea have emerged as one of the few sides who can realistically afford him.
Earlier this week Lille reiterated their desire to keep hold of Hazard until at least the end of the season, despite reported interest from Chelsea and Arsenal.
"We have received some very interesting propositions for Hazard, but the player will stay with us until at least the end of the season," academy director Jean-Michel Vandamme told Calciomercato.com.
"He certainly won't leave until then. Then, if we can find someone willing to make an appropriate offer, we will look to reach an agreement.
"There are clubs in all of the major European leagues that want him. His price? I think a player like Hazard is worth at least €40million (£33m)."
Hazard's representative, Marc Fourmeux, revealed in December that says he expects Manchester City to make the first move ahead of Chelsea and Inter Milan, with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United likely to be priced out of any move for the player.
"There is much talk of an offer of €30m (£25m) from Manchester City, which will see him remain at Lille for the next six months," the agent told AS.
"His future is in any case destined for a big European club like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, AC Milan, Inter or Juventus."