Chelsea are interested in a move for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Oscar de Marcos, and have already contacted the Spanish club about a potential deal, according to media outlet El Desmarque.
The 27-year-old can also operate as a full-back, which may be why Blues boss Antonio Conte is eyeing up a move for the Spaniard, given that Branislav Ivanovic has struggled in the early parts of the season.
De Marcos has been at Bilbao since 2009, and has made 197 league appearances in that time, scoring 18 goals.
He was also called up to the Spain squad last year for their friendly matches against England and Belgium, the latter of which was cancelled due to the capital city Brussels being in lockdown.
Making a move for de Marcos in the January transfer window could signal the end of Ivanovic’s Chelsea career, given that his contract expires at the end of the current season, and the Serb will know that he has to significantly improve if he is to give himself a chance of a renewal come May.
Ivanovic has been part of a Chelsea defence that has struggled in the early stages of the season under new boss Conte; they’ve already conceded nine goals in the league.
47-year-old Conte, despite signing David Luiz and Marcos Alonso late on in the summer transfer window, is clearly on the look-out for reinforcements at the back, and has seemingly been given the go-ahead to try and sign Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci.
Signing de Marcos would also bolster Conte’s options in defence, although he is likely to cost at least £30 million.