Chelsea have been offered the chance to enter the race for Atletico Madrid winger Thomas Lemar.
The Blues are finalising their January plans with head coach Frank Lampard keen to bolster his attacking options.
Lampard distanced the club from a move for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha with Chelsea thought to be baulking at the Eagles’ £80million price tag but they are keen to sign a wide player, especially with Willian’s future uncertain and Pedro likely to depart either this month or in the summer.
Lemar is a cheaper alternative to Zaha and his availability on loan has been circulated with intermediaries suggesting the 24-year-old would be keen on a move to Stamford Bridge.
It is believed that Lemar would command a £5m loan fee with Atletico ready to do business at around £50m for a permanent deal.
That figure is considerably lower than the offer Arsenal made – exceeding £90m including add-ons – when trying to sign the winger from Monaco in 2017.
Lemar’s career has stalled somewhat since with Atletico boss Diego Simeone admitting he has failed to “live up to expectations”.
Tottenham are also monitoring the situation but it is thought Arsenal are not planning to revive their interest given they have since invested £72m on Nicolas Pepe and have prioritised other areas to improve the team.
A loan move might tempt them but Lemar would prefer a move to a club offering Champions League football – as was the case when he rejected Arsenal in 2017 – putting Chelsea and Spurs in a better position, along with several other interested European clubs.
The Blues are thought to be keen on bringing in a forward to help ease the goalscoring burden on Tammy Abraham with Lyon’s Moussa Dembele their preferred option.
Olivier Giroud will be allowed to leave if a replacement can be found but Palace are not thought to be among his potential suitors with Roy Hodgson preferring a more mobile option to lead the line.