With the season-ending knee injury suffered by Oriol Romeu against Sunderland last weekend, signing a central midfielder in January would appear to be a priority for Chelsea in January’s transfer window.
The Blues were already short in that area of the pitch, having allowed Michael Essien to move on a season-long loan to Real Madrid and new boss Rafael Benitez is now likely to push for reinforcements.
Against Monterrey in the semifinals if the FIFA Club World Cup on Thursday, David Luiz was pushed forward into a midfield role but, although the Brazilian acquitted himself well, it remains to be seen whether he can be considered a long-term option in that position.
According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea could well get an up-close look at one of their leading targets in the Final of the competition in Japan, when they take on Corinthians and midfielder Paulinho.
The Brazil international has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge for some time and could well be seen as the kind of box-to-box midfielder to replace Frank Lampard.
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The 24-year-old recently suggested that he was happy to remain at the Copa Libertadores winners, although that may change should a significant bid arrive for his services next month. Paulinho is also likely to be favorable toward a move to Chelsea by the Brazilian contingent already in place at Stamford Bridge in international teammates Luiz, Ramires and Oscar.
Lampard, who has been linked to the L.A. Galaxy, is widely expected to leave when his contract expires in the summer. Chelsea may also need to replace Ashley Cole, who has been linked with a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Daily Star has listed Marcelo as a potential replacement for Cole, with Real Madrid said to have let Chelsea know that the 24-year-old would be available for £25 million.
The Brazil international, lauded for his attacking abilities, moved to the Bernabeu in 2007, but has had to vie for the left-back slot with Fabio Coentrao in recent times. Marcelo is currently sidelined until next month with a broken metatarsal.
Chelsea are also said to be looking to Spain for Malaga attacking midfielder Isco. Spanish publication AS claims that Chelsea, along with Manchester United and Manchester City, are all eagerly pursuing the 20-year-old starlet who has earned rave reviews, particularly for his performances in the Champions League this season.
Isco currently has a release clause of just €21 million (£17 million), meaning he could well be ripe for the picking in January. With that in mind, Malaga are eager to offer the Spain Under-21 international a new contract with a higher buyout clause of €40 million (£32.5 million), according to AS.
Given that Chelsea already have a trio of attacking midfielders whom appear to prefer a central position in Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard, a move for Isco would seem to make little sense at this point.