Chelsea are preparing a shock summer approach to sign Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, according to the Telegraph.
The French international has been strongly linked with a move away from St Mary's Stadium in the summer, with long-term admirers Arsenal being the next possible destination. However, the Blues have now entered the race with the Gunners to sign him.
Jose Mourinho had sent Chelsea's scouts to watch Schneiderlin in action during his side's 1-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park. The Portuguese tactician is keen on strengthening his side's midfield for the next season and has already identified his targets.
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is on top of the wish list. However, he has been a transfer target for several clubs across Europe as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are all in the hunt for the Serie A star.
Chelsea were also interested in signing Atletico Madrid's Koke. Any move for him from the west London club will be difficult as he is not looking for a move away from the Spanish capital club.
With Pogba and Koke being hard for Chelsea to sign, the former Real Madrid manager has turned his attention to Southampton midfielder. The South Coast club are willing to part ways with their player if the interested clubs are willing to meet their £25m ($37.2m) payment.
Schneiderlin has already expressed his desire to play in the Champions League and it is difficult for Southampton to keep hold of their star midfielder beyond the summer transfer window.
"In August, I wanted to take a step up, but the club had let too many players leave to accept to sell me. Since, I have talked to the board, and I want to play at a higher level - it's important, at 25, to finally discover the Champions League," Schneiderlin explained.
"At the end of the season, Southampton could qualify for the Champions League and I could also stay. Who knows? But I no longer want to be in front of my TV on Tuesdays and Wednesdays."
With Chelsea now joining the race for Schneiderlin, it should be seen whether they can beat Arsenal in securing the Frenchman's signature.