Chelsea will reportedly allow Josh McEachran to join Bolton Wanderers on loan next month in order to push through a deal for Gary Cahill and pip their Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham in the race for the coveted England international.
The west London Premier League club, who qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League last night courtesy of a Didier Drogba brace, have been strongly linked with Cahill amid Chelsea's at times underwhelming defensive displays. Liverpool and Tottenham have also been credited with an interest in the centre-half who is out of contract in the summer and therefore likely to command a fee inferior to Cahill's previously lofty valuation.
Chelsea youngster David Luiz is yet to settle in the rigours and permissive referee of the Premier League, and Cahill appears likely to leave Bolton next month in order to further his international career, having expressed a desire to play in the Champions League. Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has publicly stated his liking of the defender, while Liverpool are also believed to be in the running, but unlike Chelsea, neither side can currently offer the lure of top European football.
Chelsea's Premier League rivals Tottenham and Liverpool could yet rival Andre Villas-Boas, but according to The Sun, the Blues have offered their prodigiously talented young midfielder Josh McEachran as a makeweight in a rumoured £8 million deal.
Bolton are still hopeful of engineering a bidding war involving Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool for a player that has gradually established himself in Fabio Capello's England squad, but the aforementioned source intimates the Blues may have stolen a march by using their 18-year-old midfielder as bargaining tool.
McEachran is very highly rated by the Chelsea hierarchy yet he has played an increasingly peripheral role at Stamford Bridge under Villas-Boas. A loan deal to Bolton, where English youngsters like Daniel Sturridge and Jack Wilshere have thrived previously, may suit all parties, particularly if it allows Chelsea to beat Liverpool and Spurs in the hunt for Cahill.
At the beginning of the week Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp suggested he, like Chelsea and Liverpool, and in some sources Inter Milan, is interested in the Bolton star.
"We were dead keen in the last window but couldn't quite get there," Redknapp told the Daily Express.
"But he's out of contract in the summer and I'm sure plenty of people will want him again.
"I think he'll be a great signing for anyone. He's young, a good sort with a good character and that is so important."