Chelsea hopeful Josh McEachran has been linked with a surprise loan move to La Liga outfit Real Sociedad.
The Blues' manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that the 20-year-old will be sent out on loan for this season along with his England Under-21 team-mate Nathaniel Chalobah, in addition to Brazilian duo Lucas Piazon and Wallace.
McEachran, touted as one of the most promising players to emerge from the club's youth ranks when he made his first team debut for the club at just 17 in 2010, spent last season on with Middlesbrough, a spell which preceded a stint with Swansea City during the second half of the 2011/12 season.
Another spell at a Championship club had been expected, but Basque newspaper Noticias de Gipuzkoa report that Real Sociedad are keen to take on the Oxford-born youngster for a season and are confident of securing a deal should they miss out on other targets.
The Basque club defied expectation last season by finishing fourth in La Liga, earning themselves qualification for this season's Champions League, but having lost influential midfielder Asier Illarramendi to Real Madrid they are eager to add to their midfield numbers.
The club have been exploring the possibility of signing Barcelona midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, but the arrival of Tata Marinto at the Nou Camp has complicated a deal that was seemingly on the verge of completion.
As Manchester United found out during the Argentine coach's first press conference as the new manager of the Catalan giants, Martino is keen to retain as many members of his squad as possible ahead of the new season, including Dos Santos, who was singled out by the new Barca boss as someone he wants around this season.
Real Sociedad have now turned their attention to the promising Chelsea midfielder, with Noticias de Gipuzkoa suggesting the club are confident of securing a deal before the start of the new season.
A loan spell at a club competing in Europe's elite tournament - providing Sociedad progress past a playoff round ahead of the group stage draw - would certainly present a compelling proposition for McEachran who has indicated he is willing to leave the club on a temporary basis should Mourinho ask him to.
"I'm a Chelsea player and my dream as a kid was to play for Chelsea, so I want to play for them this season," McEachran told Sky Sports News earlier this month.
"But if the boss wants me to go out on loan I'll have to listen to him and go out. It's down to him.
"He said he would speak to me while we were in Asia so I'll wait for then. Hopefully it would be to a Premier League team, but I wouldn't mind going to a Championship team either."