Chelsea are being linked with Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni – prompting speculation that Declan Rice could end up at Manchester United.
West Ham star Rice has been linked with both Chelsea and United during successive transfer windows, but no bid has come in from either club.
There continues to be speculation over the England international’s future, with Chelsea regularly touted as favourites to eventually prise him away from the Hammers.
But The Athletic have reported that the Blues are now showing a strong interest in youngster Tchouameni, who at 21 is already approaching 100 appearances in the French top flight.
Chelsea scouts are said to have been impressed by him and regard him as a potential transfer target for next summer.
That has prompted the Mirror to declare that United “could find themselves with a clear run” when it comes to Rice as
Chelsea “consider transfer alternatives”.
West Ham have made it clear they want to keep Rice, who was on Chelsea’s books before joining the east London club as a teenager.
He has three years remaining on his contract, although reports claim he has rejected offers of an extension and is keen to leave the door open to a move.