Gary Cahill

Chelsea are looking more and more likely to sign Gary Cahill, with Andre Villas-Boas admitting the club are planning on buying a centre-back in the January transfer window to cover for the loss of Alex.

Alex handed in a transfer request with Nicolas Anelka to Stamford Bridge at the beginning of the month, and with Branislav Ivanovic also picking up an injury against Tottenham, Villas-Boas is looking to fill the gap left in the squad next month.

Chelsea have publicly earmarked Gary Cahill as a possible target, with Villas-Boas labelling the England international an 'interesting player'. And while Tottenham have long maintained their interest in the star, the Blues manager looks very willing to enter a bidding war to get Cahill on board.

"We could have David Luiz available to return on Boxing Day," Villas-Boas said, as reported by Sky Sports. "But we are in the market for another centre-half and we have to respond quickly when the transfer window opens."

Cahill was a top target in the summer for Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger claimed that Bolton's asking price of £17 million was 'greedy', particularly considering the fact that the 26 year old's contract with the club runs out next summer.

But now, despite that fact that Tottenham have identified Cahill as a top target, Chelsea will be willing to pay a big fee for Cahill, which would price Spurs out of the market.

Owen Coyle also confirmed today that Cahill is of interest to Chelsea, admitting that talks have taken place between Bolton and the club over a sale.

"Regarding Gary Cahill, there has been dialogue between ourselves and Chelsea. He is a top player and is fully focused on Bolton," Coyle said.

The deal would be a major coup for Chelsea, who are below Tottenham on the table, and drew with their London rivals 1-1 last night.

Tottenham have been one of the surprise successes of the season, currently boasting the best chance at challenging the United clubs for the title and cementing their spot in the top four with a game in hand.

But the side can't offer players the wages that Chelsea can, and as was the case in the Luka Modric situation, Cahill may favour a move to a club that can offer immediate Champions League football and a higher pay packet each week.