Real Betis sports vice-chairman Lorenzo Serra Ferrer has confirmed that the La Liga side are interested in signing Chelsea midfielder Mario Pasalic ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
The confirmation from the Betis chief comes after reports in Spain claimed that the Andalucía side are in advanced negotiations with the Blues over a loan deal that includes an option worth around a €10m (£8.9m, $11.5m) for a permanent transfer next summer.
Pasalic, 22, joined Chelsea from Hajduk Split in 2014 but is yet to play a game for the Blues, having instead spent the last three campaigns on loan at Elche, Monaco and AC Milan.
Leeds United, Valencia, Spartak Moscow and specially Lazio had also been linked with the Croatian international but Estadio Deportivo then reported that Betis were in the pole position to secure his signature, with the Serie A side having ended their interest in the player following the signing of Lucas Leiva from Liverpool.
Serra Ferrer has refused to provide any update about the state of the negotiation with Chelsea, but did confirm that Pasalic is one of the players being targetted by Betis' to bolster their midfield.
"He is one of the candidates. I can't deny what is obvious. Then, I can't go further on this, sorry," the Betis chief said in a press conference when asked about the Chelsea midfielder.
"We want to bring more players in the midfield. You will understand that I cannot give more details about negotiations. Some are going on, close to an end, and some others are in standby. There will be more soon."
Estadio Deportivo adds that there have been no progress between Chelsea and Betis in recent days, but that the La Liga side remain confident on securing his services as they have a "verbal agreement" with the player.
Meanwhile, Betis have already made seven additions during the current transfer window, including Cristian Tello from Barcelona, Jordi Amat from Swansea City and Antonio Barragan from Middlesbrough. Furthermore, the Sevilla-based side are also trying to convince Boro to part ways with Gaston Ramirez.