Attempts to bring Declan Rice back to Stamford Bridge could be about to end, with Chelsea reported to have turned to Bayern Munich midfielder David Alaba instead.
Chelsea were repeatedly linked with moves to prise the England international away from West Ham over the summer, with reports also suggesting the Blues would launch another bid in the January transfer window.
Rice, 21, is good friends with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount, and his age and enormous potential make him an enticing prospect as Frank Lampard looks to add more young talent to his new-look squad.
But the £80m price tag put on by the Hammers has so far stalled any talks, and the Star report that Chelsea will instead move for out-of-contract Austria international Alaba.
Alaba’s current contract with the Bundesliga giants expires next summer, and the German champions have previously withdrawn an offer to extend his contract after failing to meet his salary demands.
Chelsea are said to have offered a three-year deal to Alaba, 28, who can start negotiating a free move abroad in January.
The versatile left-back, who has made 400 appearances for Bayern, can also play Rice’s defensive midfield and centre-half roles.
Lampard is believed to be keen to strengthen in both positions despite his side’s hugely impressive start to the season.