Chelsea could turn their search for a new striker towards Ajax’s David Neres with Luka Jovic poised to sign for Real Madrid.
The Blues had been closely tailing Eintracht Frankfurt hitman Jovic, but the 21-year-old Serbia striker should shortly finalise his Madrid move.
Chelsea remain hopeful of having their two-window FIFA transfer ban frozen while appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), so are pushing ahead with tentative recruitment plans.
And Stamford Bridge bosses are understood to favour a move for Brazil star Neres now that Jovic appears out of reach.
Paris St Germain, Liverpool and Arsenal are all also eyeing a move for £40million-rated Neres, who has impressed amid Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals and the Eredivisie title.
The 22-year-old hit 10 goals in 42 matches in Ajax’s fine campaign, catching the attention of a clutch of top clubs when scoring in the 4-1 Champions League win at Real Madrid in March.
Chelsea enjoy a positive relationship with Neres’ agents Giuliano Bertolucci and Kia Joorabchian, with the pair representing Blues defender David Luiz.
Gonzalo Higuain would likely return to parent club Juventus should Chelsea recruit a new forward, with the Blues then not extending the ex-Argentina striker’s time at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are still expected to trigger the one-year extension in Olivier Giroud’s contract to keep him in west London next season.
Winger Christian Pulisic will join the Blues this summer, with the USA star’s arrival to some extent offsetting Eden Hazard’s expected departure to Real Madrid.
Striker Tammy Abraham, midfielder Mason Mount and right-back Reece James head the queue of Chelsea stars returning from loans pushing for first-team chances next term.
One Blues forward not keen to return is Atletico Madrid loan man Alvaro Morata.
“What is clear is what I want, I want to be here,” Morata told Marca.
“I’m going to do all I can to keep playing here, I did all I could to come and I will do all I can to stay.
“I’m not thinking about going back anywhere, only being here.
“I’m happy here and I want to be here for the years I have left at the top level.”
Morata also backed Hazard to shine anywhere in the world, as the Belgium talisman closes in on a move to Real.
“He’s one of the best players in the world and could fit in well in any team,” said Morata.
“He’s a top player and top person, he’d fit in at any team.”