Chelsea are reportedly considering an approach to land Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao on loan in January.
Coentrao played under Blues boss Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and, according to the Daily Mail, the Portuguese tactician is now weighing up a short-term move for his compatriot, in order to sort out the west London outfit's problems at left-back.
First team regular Ashley Cole's place in the Chelsea starting XI is in doubt now as the England international has been struggling with a rib injury for the past two months, which has affected both his fitness and performance. Mourinho has deployed Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta on the left of the Blues defence of late, with the manager not convinced by academy graduate Ryan Bertrand.
Coentrao offers a good short-term solution for Mourinho, and the 25-year-old could also be open to a move away from Real, after falling down the pecking order at the Bernabeu under Carlo Ancelotti this season, managing just five appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos so far.
The Portugal international almost joined Manchester United on deadline day of the summer transfer window, though the transfer collapsed late on, with reports suggesting Real pulled the plug on the move after failing to recruit cover.
However, the Spanish giants are understood to be open to farming out Coentrao in January. Chelsea have emerged as the frontunners for his signature but United boss David Moyes has also been linked with a return for the left-back, though former charge and Everton star Leighton Baines is known to be the Scot's preferred choice.
Mourinho holds the edge in the chase in any case, with the Chelsea manager and Coentrao having the same agent in Jorge Mendes.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have been linked with a January move for the out-of-favour Bertrand as Brendan Rodgers continues his search for a back-up left-back, after Jose Enrique was sidelined with a knee injury.