Chelsea moved one step closer to signing Fredy Guarin from Inter Milan after the midfielder was given permission to talk to the English Premier League club.
Guarin has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window, with Jose Mourinho keen to bring in the player he coached during his stint with the Italian club.
The move looks inevitable now with Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio confirming interest from Chelsea, and revealing the London club had permission to hold talks with the player's agent over personal terms.
"With Chelsea there was contact, and it is a source of pride because Guarin is an important player," Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia. "They have the OK to talk with the agent of the player as it stands now, but if the player were to decide to stay we would still be very happy.
"We have no desire to sell [Guarin], who is an important player and keeps showing it. We want a certain level of continuity. We are happy to keep him, and there is no desire to sell."
Inter are expecting a bid of over £15 million for Guarin, and it would seem the ball is firmly in Chelsea's court.
Meanwhile, a player tipped to leave in the January transfer window -- Juan Mata - is set to hold talks with Chelsea over his future this week.
Mata's father and agent, Mata Sr., is set to fly into London to hold talks with Mourinho and the Chelsea board, according to the Daily Mirror.
The Spanish playmaker has been very much in the periphery under Jose Mourinho, despite being named the club's player of the year in the last two seasons.
With the 2014 World Cup not too far away, Mata is keen to get more playing time and is reportedly considering his options.
Mourinho insisted he wants to keep the Spain international at the club, but would not stand in his way if an enticing offer was put on the table.
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked with the 25-year-old former Valencia midfielder, with Manchester United and Arsenal also reportedly keeping tabs.
However, it is unlikely Chelsea will sell to a direct rival in the English Premier League, making the likes of Atletico and PSG favourites for Mata's signature.
Atletico are looking for an initial loan deal, in view to a permanent transfer, while PSG, who reportedly had a bid for Mata rejected in the summer, is keen on a permanent deal.