Borussia Monchengladbach have not given up hope of holding onto Chelsea youngster Andreas Christensen beyond this season.
Christensen, 20, has excelled in the Bundesliga during a two-year loan spell at Gladbach, winning the club's player of the season award last term. His performances saw him linked with an early return to Stamford Bridge last year, with Barcelona also taking notice of his impressive development.
Gladbach were ready to break their transfer record to sign the Denmark international on a permanent deal, but sporting director Max Eberl appeared to admit defeat in those plans just last month.
"He must go back to Chelsea FC," Eberl said. "Those are the two players [Borussia Dortmund-bound Mahmoud Dahoud and Christensen] that we have to replace in the summer."
However, speaking at the club's annual general meeting, Eberl sang a different tune.
"We are still fighting for Andreas Christensen," Ebrel was quoted as saying by Kicker. "I have not given up hope."
Having rejected offers to cash in on the Dane, Christensen appears to still be thought highly of back at his parent club.
Chelsea's back three of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta have excelled this term with young back-up options Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake – who was recalled from a loan at Bournemouth in January – struggling to break into the first team. Club captain John Terry has also seen his opportunities limited, having made just five league appearances this term.
Christensen could have a battle on his hands to secure a first-team role at Stamford Bridge next season, with his father recently insisting his son won't return to Chelsea to be a mere back-up.
"As it is right now, he's at Chelsea again this summer," his father and adviser Sten Christensen told Danish publication BT. "It is important for Andreas that he plays. He will not return to Chelsea and sit on the bench. It is this transfer window that determines how Andreas's situation becomes in the summer. If Chelsea buy 10 defenders, it may well be that we need to do something else. But let's see."