Having lost out on Javier Pastore to Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea are now rumoured to be considering a fresh bid for Tottenham's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.
The Blues were involved in a two-horse with Paris Saint Germain for the signing of Pastore, but the 22-year-old Argentine chose the French club, leaving Chelsea to look elsewhere to fill their need for a creative midfielder.
Modric is their top target, but it'll take an extraordinary bid to prise him away from Spurs' as the North London club has refused to sell their star. Spurs scorned at two previous bids from Chelsea - of £22 million and £27 million - which fell way below their valuation of the 25-year-old.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas had stated before Chelsea's pre-season tour of the Far East that he would use the two-weeks to analyse his squad and determine what areas need to be strengthened. The club impressed in the tour, which culminated with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the final of the Barclays Asia Cup.
The Guardian has reported that Villas-Boas will now hold talks with the club's chief executive Ron Gourlay on the club's transfer policy, with the Modric's issue sure to be discussed. The report quoted Gourlay as saying, "That's something we'll look at during the week and we'll take it from there. We really need to sit down with André and talk this through."
The Sun has reported that Chelsea will increase their bid for Modric to £30 million this week. However, even the increased offer falls far below Spurs' valuation of the player. Chelsea experimented with Yossi Benayoun as the creative force in midfield, and the Israeli impressed in the role.
The Blues have already secured the Thibault Courtois from Genk - the Belgian goalkeeper, who has been loaned to Atlético Madrid - and are on the verge of signing highly-rated Barcelona B midfielder Oriol Romeu, 19, who is expected to replace the injured Michael Essien. Talks with Anderlecht continue on the possible transfer of Romelu Lukaku.
Interestingly, Chelsea could also bid for former World player of the year Kaka who is reportedly set to be placed on the market by Real Madrid after his previous season was blemished by injuries. The 29-year-old could be available for around the region of £25 million and could be the perfect player to fill the creative slot. However, whether he is willing to test himself in the Premier League remains to be seen.
Daniel Sturridge, who impressed last season on loan at Bolton, is set to remain at Chelsea and fight for his place amongst Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Nicholas Anelka. He may be reduced to a bit-part player, but Villas-Boas' methods have already impressed the youngster as well as the rest of the squad. Chelsea looked quite fluid in pre-season and Sturridge suggested that it was the freedom of expression the Portuguese manager gave his players that has impressed the squad.
Daniel Sturridge was quoted in the Guardian saying, ''The manager has given me licence to express myself. I've never had that before with any manager. He's let me off the leash, if you like, and not just me: everyone feels like that.''
Midfielder Frank Lampard added, ''You all want to impress. He has been assessing the players, and, personally, I want to impress him now at the age of 33, just the same as I did with a new manager when I was 22. Simple as that.
''We are here to impress as individuals, and we want to make the group successful. There is a nice freshness about the team and the squad, and the players who maybe were not sure they were going to stay, or players that were on loan, or young players that have come through, are getting a sniff now.
''We all want to do well here - I think we have got a strong squad, and if the manager adds to it and that makes us stronger then we will all be happy. It remains to be seen in the time to the end of the window. That's the manager's decision.''