Chelsea have reportedly moved ahead of AC Milan in the £45m race to sign Barcelona outcast Denis Suarez next month.
The Rossoneri are believed to have been in contact with Barca regarding an initial loan move for the 24-year-old, who has been restricted to appearances in cup competitions this term.
According to The Express, however, the Spanish champions would prefer a cash deal in January, giving Chelsea a clear advantage.
Maurizio Sarri is said to have been backed with funds ahead of the winter window and is prioritising an attacking midfielder in the mould of the Spain international.
Suarez, who has also been linked with a move to to Arsenal in the past, rejoined Barcelona from Villarreal in 2016 but has seen his path to the first team blocked.