Chelsea are looking to steal a march on Arsenal after entering into negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain to acquire the services of Ezequiel Lavezzi during the summer transfer window, according to the Metro.
The Gunners were reportedly ready to launch a £15m bid to sign the Argentine international as their manager Arsene Wenger wanted to add quality attackers to his squad. However, the Blues look to have wrested the upper-hand after formally approaching the reigning Ligue 1 champions to discuss a move for Lavezzi.
The report suggests that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had been monitoring the 29-year-old forward since last summer and will now be poised to secure his long-term target by shelling out £18m to the Parisian club. Both the clubs are said to have developed good relations in the aftermath of David Luiz's transfer for a reported £50m fee.
Lavezzi still has two years left on his contract with Laurent Blanc's side and is believed to be keeping his options open about leaving Parc des Princes this summer. The west London club are aiming to convince him to make the switch to Stamford Bridge by pitching him a lucrative offer.
The versatile forward, who is currently on World Cup duty in Brazil, was highly instrumental in securing his nation's progression from the group stages.
He set up Barcelona star Lionel Messi to score the injury time winner as Alejandro Sabella's side managed a narrow 1-0 victory over a resilient Iran in their second Group F clash on Saturday.
Mourinho's strike-force of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba failed to perform their goal-scoring duties. Belgium winger Eden Hazard ended up as their top scorer with 17 goals in all competitions while Brazilian midfielder Oscar was second with 13 strikes to his name.
The Portuguese tactician has already signed Cesc Fabregas from the Catalan giants and Diego Costa is poised to join from Atletico Madrid in the coming weeks. The former Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss does not want to endure another trophy-less season and is looking to build a strong squad to challenge on all fronts in the upcoming campaign.