Chelsea could be set to test Everton’s resolve in the January transfer window with a £20m bid for their prize asset Jack Rodwell.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas is looking to restructure Chelsea’s midfield and sees Rodwell as the perfect addition due to his classy ball-play and youthful athleticism.
With rumours that Frank Lampard is on his way out the door, Rodwell is likely to be seen as a long-term replacement for the Chelsea stalwart.
Since progressing through the Everton youth system, the 20-year-old has been tipped for great things and has come into his own this season.
Rodwell recently broke onto the international stage, impressing for England during games against Spain and Sweden.
But since then he suffered a hamstring injury which means he is likely to miss Everton’s upcoming fixtures against Swansea and Sunderland.
This is unlikely to deter the Chelsea manager, who has the financial backing of owner Roman Abramovich to make major changes this January.
Any significant funds made available to Villas-Boas would show his Russian employer backs him after a shakey start to his Premier League management.
Recently Lampard has become sidelined and is unhappy at his growing marginalisation at a team in which he has been a lynchpin for so long.
Raul Meireles, Oriol Romeu and Ramires have also formed a decent unit over the last few games as John Obi Mikel has not lived up to the fuss surrounding his bizarre move from Manchester United to Chelsea.
The future of Michel Essien at the club is also in doubt, especially as the Ghana international has a recurring knee injury that seems to be getting more and more serious and at 30 could be a career threatening one.
If Rodwell did move south to Stanford Bridge it is likely he would be used as a box-to-box player, so would not be a direct replacement for Lampard but he would certainly be used in an attacking role.
Everton manager, David Moyes, will be keen to keep Rodwell at least until the summer, but no offer has officially been lodged yet.